The Toronto Raptors have traded shooting guard Norman Powell to the Portland Trail Blazers for Gary Trent Jr. and Rodney Hood, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Trent Jr. was one of the breakout performers in the bubble last year and was able to carry his development over into this season, where he is averaging 15 points per game while shooting 40 percent on over seven three-point attempts per game. Trent Jr. is also an energetic and effective defender who often takes on the toughest perimeter assignment. Compared to Powell, the Raptors are getting a similar shooter in terms of efficiency, less off-the-dribble bounce and a better defender in Trent Jr.
Hood figures to be a toss-in to match salaries. The 2014 No. 23 pick showed promise at times with Utah, but has mostly battled injuries over the past few seasons and his contract is coming off the books at the end of this season.
Powell is having a career year, averaging close to 20 points per game while being one of the most efficient shooters in the league. However, with Powell slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer and in line to earn double his current salary of $11 million, the Raptors must have seen more value in swapping him out for a younger and cheaper shooting guard.
Having said that, Trent Jr. is also a free agent this summer, although he will be restricted so the Raptors can match any offers. There is also a difference in cap numbers, as Trent Jr. would only factor in at $2 million as a cap hold compared to $17 million for Powell. That small detail could be important if the Raptors have plans to use their cap space this summer.
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