The Portland Trail Blazers didn’t get Aaron Gordon. They didn’t get Lauri Markannen. The Blazers did sneak in a trade shortly before the deadline, sending Gary Trent Jr and Rodney Hood to the Raptors for Norman Powell. It may be one of the best trades of the deadline. The Blazers definitely got the best shooter traded Thursday.
It’s bitter sweet. Gary Trent Jr became a fan favorite much like his father who was also traded to Toronto back in 1998, in the deal that netted the Blazers Damon Stoudamire. Trent Jr has been an exciting player to watch as he has developed. He has been having his best season, averaging 15 pts, 2.2 rebounds, and 1.4 assists on 39% shooting from deep.
Two problems inconsistenty and a big paycheck awaiting Gary at the end of the season. Trent Jr has gone between losing and finding his shot this season. His hasn’t been able to consistently be a force for Portland. Though the glimpses of what he is too become have been none the less exciting to witness. Trent Jr turned down a more than fair extension offered by the Blazers this season. The Blazers realized, despite being a RFA, Gary was going to get offers they couldn’t match. It was time to move him.
Rodney Hood certainly played a part in the Blazers getting to the WCF a few seasons back, but since returning from a torn Achilles, he has not been the same, not that he was expected to be. He hasn’t been able to find the speed, the lift, or the shooting to get back anywhere near where Portland needs him. He was averaging 4.7 points, 1.9 rebounds, and 1.2 assists in 19 mins per game on 29% shooting from three and 36% from the field.
Norman Powell has been having the best season of his career averaging nearly 20 points, 3 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game on 43% shooting from deep. He helps Portland in another category too: defense. Powell is a lock down defender and can be the true three and D guy Portland needs. He will solidify the Blazers backcourt alongside Lillard and McCollum.
With Rodney Hood gone Nassir Little will see more minutes also naturally improving the Blazers defense.