The Portland Trail Blazers took the first step in launching their one-year tank and retool process when Damian Lillard went under the knife to correct his abdominal tendinopathy. Now, it’s on Interim General Manager Joe Cronin to turn their surplus of useful veteran role players and expiring contracts like Robert Covington and Jusuf Nurkic into future assets in preparation for Dame’s return. Although Norman Powell had been dubbed Lillard’s backcourt partner for the future, his name might be added to the trading block soon, as well.
It’s no secret that it took some convincing to persuade Norman Powell to re-sign in Rip City. He must have believed that with his services for a full season along with the schematic changes that rookie Head Coach Chauncey Billups would implement, the Trail Blazers would be legitimate title contenders. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.
Instead, Portland is likely headed to the lottery and Powell may have already suited up alongside Dame for the last time. While it’s no guarantee that Norm will be traded — as his team-friendly contract and fit next to Lillard build a compelling case for retaining him — the state of the Trail Blazers has to have Cronin at least considering the prospect.
3 trades the Portland Trail Blazers can pull to send Norman Powell to a playoff contender
While Portland has plenty of veterans that can be meaningful contributors to a contending team, none of them carry as much value and interest as Powell — perhaps not even CJ McCollum.
Powell’s ability to play off of the ball and create offense for himself makes him a plug-and-play weapon in any offensive system. His high-end point-of-attack defense makes him a valuable addition on that end of the floor for any backcourt. After holding his own as a small forward for over a season, the defensive versatility that he’s proven to have will be a highly sought-after commodity, as well.
All of those reasons can also be arguments to keep Powell paired with Dame for the long run, but they also make him quite the asset to be used in trades.
As the teams most likely to be interested in Norm are squads that are on the cusp of true contention, the least the Trail Blazers could do for him is send him to a new situation where he can help lead a playoff push.