The oh-so efficient Norman Powell joins Rip City in a Wednesday trade sending fan favorites Gary Trent Jr. and Rodney Hood to Toronto.
Portland fans, help is on the way.
Whether you believe today’s trade deadline move sending Gary Trent Jr. and Rodney Hood to Toronto for Norman Powell is a good thing or not doesn’t really matter to me. I get it … Trail Blazers fans are dedicated and nothing I say is gonna change your mind. But I will say, for the short-term (which is the most important), bringing Powell to Rip City is a good move for a team struggling to find some consistency.
On the way out are Hood and GTJ, a couple of fan favorites (Portland fans have a tendency to embrace personalities over production) but underperforming pieces of the roster.
Hood’s Achilles injury and recovery have changed his game … and not for the better. I’ve been hoping and praying for Hood to be shipped out all season, largely in part of his contract (2 years, $10M) versus production. He’s just not the guy he used to be.
The kind of injury he suffered changes most players and most never get back to their former selves. Hood fits that description perfectly. His production (or lack thereof) doesn’t come close to justifying the money he’s pulling in. Time to go.
As for Trent, I love the guy, but not enough to cough up the small fortune he’ll demand in the offseason. And let’s not forget GTJ turned down the opportunity to negotiate an extension in order to become a restricted free agent. By passing up his eligibility for a 4-year, $50M extension, it’s clear his plan all along was to explore options outside of Portland.
Let’s talk about Powell …
Deadly from the corners, aggressive and gets to the line (where he shoots almost 90 percent) not a huge defensive upgrade but the Blazers’ defensive woes won’t be solved with roster moves … that’s gonna require a change in coaching philosophy.
Powell provides consistent scoring, a championship pedigree, and a work ethic that’s second to none. That mindset should fit in nicely with Damian Lillard and Co. He has a player option of $11.6M this offseason, so he’ll have time to see how he fits in with the team before making a decision.
One more thing (and it’s a big thing) … this trade is good for the development of Portland’s current roster. With Trent and Hood gone, the minutes they were getting each game (or stealing, in Hood’s case) can go to young players like Nassir Little and Anfernee Simons so their development can increase. I’d also like to see Harry Giles III get more time on the floor.
In a perfect world, I think it would make sense to put Powell in the starting lineup with Dame, CJ McCollum, Robert Covington and Jusuf Nurkic (who returns in a few days).
Let’s face it, the Blazers aren’t winning a title this year. So there’s no negative takeaway from this trade in my opinion. Might as well enjoy the youth development and a more consistent addition like Powell. It’s certainly more appealing than the headaches I get from watching Hood look confused and Trent brick shots on a regular basis.
Cliff Gibson is a 20-year journalism professional and Navy veteran living in Pierce County, Washington. Follow him on Twitter @cliffcgibson.