Report: Knicks Have 'Much More' Trade Interest in Norman Powell Than Kyle Lowry

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMarch 24, 2021

Toronto Raptors guard Norman Powell looks towards the scoreboard during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons, Wednesday, March 17, 2021, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

The New York Knicks reportedly have eyes for Toronto Raptors guard Norman Powell.

According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, "While the Raptors are shopping point guard Kyle Lowry, the Knicks have much more interest in Powell, who is expected to opt out to become an unrestricted free agent following the season."

Berman continued: "In the same vein as Houston's Victor Oladipo, the Knicks don't wish to give up first-round picks for the 27-year-old Powell as a rental and would prefer assurances he would re-sign if they make a move. However, league sources contend the Pacers are willing to overpay Powell in free agency and perhaps outbid the field."

Powell is having a career year for the Raptors, averaging 19.5 points, 3.0 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.1 steals per game while shooting 49.5 percent from the field and 43.4 percent from three. That has made him one of the intriguing potential trade targets ahead of Thursday's deadline, with the 17-26 Raptors—losers of nine straight—perhaps set to be sellers. 

Chris Mannix @SIChrisMannix

Powell is starting to enter expected to be dealt territory, per several execs who have spoken with the Raptors. Will be an interesting couple of days in Toronto. https://t.co/AVvuLromLE

Dan Devine @YourManDevine

@rodimusprime Timing, mostly, I think. They re-upped Siakam, VanVleet, and Anunoby all in the last year and a half, and those guys will make $70M+/year by themselves for the next few years. If Powell costs ~$20M, you're kind of locked into "pretty good" without many ways to get much better.

"He's got upside to his game," an NBA scout told Berman. "Plus he has that chip on his shoulder. He plays better than his minutes show. He's shown the ability to be a full-time starter."

It would make sense for Toronto to move on from impending free agents like Lowry and Powell as it looks to build around a young core of Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby. 

The Knicks' biggest need, meanwhile, is arguably an upgrade at point guard who is as adept at spreading the floor as he is at facilitating. But adding a perimeter scorer and shooter like Powell would make sense as well to complement power forward Julius Randle. 

Still, a player like Lonzo Ball may be a more logical target. But the New Orleans Pelicans point guard will be a restricted free agent this summer, and if the Knicks believe they can sign Ball without the Pels matching, they may prefer waiting until the offseason rather than giving up assets to bring him aboard now. 

Likewise, giving up assets for a potential half-season rental in Powell—when players like RJ Barrett, Reggie Bullock and Alec Burks are capable of handling minutes at the 2—may not be deemed an ideal allocation of resources, either. 

Ian Begley @IanBegley

Relevant info for Knicks fans - and all NBA fans - ahead of the trade deadline from @McDNBA and @aniljamesgogna: https://t.co/0vdwtCceU3

At 22-22, the Knicks are gunning for a playoff berth. But their best move may be to avoid getting an itchy trigger finger and instead wait until after the season to make major adjustments to the roster.