Toronto Raptors trade Norm Powell to Portland, keep Kyle Lowry

The Toronto Raptors traded one of their longest serving players on Thursday while electing to keep another.


The Toronto Raptors traded one of their longest serving players on Thursday while electing to keep another.

Despite swirling rumours in the run-up to the 3 p.m. ET NBA trade deadline, the Raptors elected not to trade point guard Kyle Lowry.

In the days and weeks leading up to Thursday’s deadline, there was plenty of speculation regarding whether the Raptors would trade away the franchise cornerstone and what that deal might look like. While reports had the Miami Heat and Philadelphia 76ers as the front-runners vying for his services, the Raptors were clearly in no rush to move Lowry – their place in the standings shows a team that’s one short win streak away from being back in the mix for a playoff spot – and their high asking price simply wasn’t met.

Wednesday night’s victory against the Denver Nuggets saw the struggling Raptors cap their losing streak at nine, with many Raptors fans preparing possible goodbyes to No. 7. It was made clear that Lowry did not at any point request a trade out of Toronto, but reports indicated his desire to compete for a championship again.

Now, the relationship between the 35-year-old and the Canadian club will unfold organically, with Toronto playing out the season and perhaps attempting to re-sign the veteran leader in free agency.

The decision capped a busy trade deadline for Toronto, which dealt Norman Powell, Matt Thomas and Terence Davis.

Powell, who is likely to hit free agency at the end of this season, was sent to the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for Gary Trent and Rodney Hood.

Powell is enjoying a career season, averaging 19.6 points over 42 games (31 starts). That production, along with his 44 per cent mark from three-point range, enticed a large portion of the league, with upwards of a dozen teams reportedly interested in trading for him.

The 27-year-old has spent his entire career with the Raptors after being acquired from the Milwaukee Bucks on draft daft in 2015. Since then, he’s developed into a legitimate wing scoring threat that can be utilized in the starting lineup or as a spark plug off the bench.

Powell has an $11.6-million player option for 2021-22 but is expected to decline that in search of a more lucrative offer on the open market.

“Norman accomplished so much with the Raptors. He committed to the process, he worked on his game, he grew as a person, and he thrived as a player,” Raptors President Masai Ujiri said in a statement. “Norman gave us great performances to remember. Norman is an NBA Champion, and he has earned his place as one of the great success stories in franchise history. We are grateful for everything he did for our team and our city.”

In Trent, the Raptors add a young wing player with a similar skill set to Powell. The 22-year-old has appeared in 41 games (23 starts) for the Blazers this season, averaging 15 points. He is scheduled to hit restricted free agency this summer.

Hood, 28, is a veteran piece who provides solid three-point shooting. He has struggled in 2020-21, averaging just 4.7 points per game — well below his career mark of 11.7.

The Raptors then sent guard Matt Thomas to the Utah Jazz for a future second-round pick and guard Terrence Davis to Sacramento for a future second round pick.

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