The Toronto Raptors need to shed some salary off the books ahead of an uncertain offseason.
Toronto already has $126 million devoted to 11 players with the luxury tax set at $123 million for the upcoming 2018-19 season, and so it's no surprise that the front office has quietly gauged trade interest in swingman Norman Powell, according to TSN's Josh Lewenberg.
Powell was poised for a breakout season after being signed to a four-year, $42-million extension last summer, but he was bumped from the starting lineup by OG Anunoby following an ankle injury early in the season, then struggled to find his place within the second unit, and eventually fell out of the rotation entirely.
As such, Lewenberg reports that the Raptors would receive minimal return at this time. The purpose of trading Powell would be to free-up cap flexibility which will then be used to re-sign restricted guard Fred VanVleet.
Powell is tied to an inexpensive $1.5-million salary until his extension starts on July 1, so a trade in the next few days would be most feasible. Otherwise, he will count for $9.4 million next season, which would make it more difficult to consummate a trade.
There's plenty of untapped potential within the 25-year-old Powell, who showed previously that he could be a useful two-way wing. He averaged 15.6 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 1.8 assists across 18 starts in 2016-17 while shooting 49.8 percent from the field and 39.7 percent from three.