Norman Powell admitted he was in a bit of a shock after learning that he was traded from the Toronto Raptors to the Portland Trail Blazers. The Raptors, who drafted Powell in the second round of the 2015 NBA draft, decided to move on from their draft pick from 2015 at the trade deadline.
"That afternoon of the trade deadline, around 12:45, I got a text from Fred, asking if I’d heard anything. I was like, “Nah. Nothing”. I think I took a phone call or two after that … asked around some.
But mostly it was quiet. It had been a lot of just that type of back and forth,'' Powell said in his contribution post for The Players' Tribune. "And then my phone started blowing up. “'Portland!' "As soon as I saw the first text, I knew instantly.
"I wouldn’t say I had NO idea a trade might be on the table. I understand the way things work — and I knew my situation, as well as the team’s. I’m coming up on free agency. We were 11th in the East.
I’m in a position where I can help a contender (and I’ll do that). They’re in a position where maybe they want to get younger (and they did that). "But even with all of that said, it still caught me off-guard.
Not just because of the way I’ve been playing this season, but also the bigger picture — I always thought of myself as part of the core that was being built around. Me, Freddy, Pascal, we all kind of came up together.
We’re all about the same age. We’re thick as thieves, man. And I really felt like our group, plus OG, we were destined to be the next great Raptors team. "So I’d say for me that was probably the most bittersweet aspect of it.
"Just thinking about what could have been.' '
Powell played the Raptors in the next game
In his first game as a Trail Blazer, Powell played against the Raptors. "One of the strange things about this trade was that I’ve been in Tampa for the regular season as a Raptor — and then I got traded right as the Blazers were about to play in Tampa against the Raptors,'' Powell added.
"So, like, I still had my place. Still drove my normal route to the hotel where we’d get tested. But now instead of going to the left, where the Raptors test, I had to go to the right, where the road team tests. And instead of heading to Level 3, I had my team meeting on Level 2.
Just little stuff like that. It was a weird feeling, man. "Actually, here’s how weird it was: I purposely came in a little late — just out of the hope that I could avoid having to run into people and go through more emotions.
"But of course that move never works. "A few minutes after I got there, a bunch of the Raptors started showing up. "And I think that’s about when it really started to hit me — like, Oh, man. This is real. "This is really goodbye.' '