Trail Blazers

How Trail Blazers made immediate overtures to free-agent-to-be Norman Powell

Trail Blazers

The Portland Trail Blazers made a critical move to bolster their team ahead of the 2021 NBA trade deadline when they swapped Gary Trent Jr. and Rodney Hood for Toronto Raptors wing Norman Powell.

Powell, 27, had been averaging 19.6 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game with the Raptors when the move was made. The Blazers obviously thought highly of him since they were willing to give up the 22-year-old Trent in the move, so clearly, they'd like to bring the free-agent-to-be Powell back beyond this season.

That may explain why the team went out of their way to make him feel welcomed right away in Portland.

As detailed in a recent story by Jason Quick of The Athletic, the Blazers set Powell up with a home nearby Portland right away. They rented Kent Bazemore's old house and filled it with Powell's favorite snacks and everything he needed to feel comfortable in his new home.

Needless to say, Powell appreciated the gesture.

It was amazing. And I mean, AMAZING. They went all out. They did everything you can think of to make sure that I’m comfortable.

Norman Powell, per Jason Quick

This certainly was quite a cool move by the Blazers. At the same time, it was obviously part of the Blazers' plan to woo Powell and make him consider staying in Portland long-term, as president of basketball operations Neil Olshey explained in Quick's story.

We have a very brief time to make a strong and lasting impression on Norman. That doesn’t just mean on the basketball court, but also for life off the court for himself and his family.

Neil Olshey, per Jason Quick

Even if the Blazers do have an ulterior motive here, the lengths to which they went to ensure Powell would be comfortable in his new home are both impressive and kind-hearted. They should score points around the league for their treatment of Powell, whether or not he returns to the team.


And perhaps being so comfortable at home has allowed Powell to make a smooth transition to the Blazers. In 13 games with the team, he has averaged 17.6 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game. His shooting numbers have come down a bit, but there's no doubt that he has been a big-time contributor as the third scorer alongside Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum in Portland's lineup.