Norman Powell to refuse player option and enter free agency

Norman Powell chose to hit the open market. What this means for his future with the Trail Blazers remains to be seen.

Powell said Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports Tuesday that he declines the $ 11.6 million option in the final year of his contract, making him one of the best guards available when free agency begins on August 2.

Portland Trail Blazers goaltender Norman Powell told Yahoo Sports he will decline his option to play for the 2021-22 season and become an unrestricted free agent on August 1.

Haynes also notes that Powell’s re-signing is a “top priority” for Portland in free agency.

It was inevitable that Powell would turn down his option to play when the Blazers acquired him on the trade deadline in exchange for Gary Trent Jr. Although trading a future restricted free agent for an unrestricted free agent comes with inherent risk, Neil Olshey is betting that Powell’s longer length and more versatile attacking play would make him a better fit next to Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum than Trent – an expectation born in the final six weeks of the season. regular.

It doesn’t matter if Portland’s three guard roster can lead the team to a championship, however, Powell’s re-signing via Bird Rights is an absolute. must for cash strapped Blazers.

The only way Portland has to keep his salary is to offer Powell the likely $ 16-20 million annual contract he will seek in free agency. If he walks, the Blazers have a much more difficult time fulfill Lillard’s mandate to put a supporting cast worthy of the title around him.

The New York Knicks have been rumored as a potential contender for Powell. Teams like the San Antonio Spurs and Chicago Bulls could also call.

Almost whatever the height of the bidding, Portland must be prepared to raise the highest. Paying slightly too much for Powell isn’t ideal, but it’s far better than the alternate realities of losing him, especially since the Blazers would have had the corresponding rights to Trent in restricted free agency.

[Chris Haynes, Yahoo Sports]