Knicks watch Norman Powell ahead of NBA trade deadline


Add Raptors guard Norman Powell to the Knicks’ People of Interest list before Thursday’s trade deadline.

While the Raptors are buying point guard Kyle Lowry, the Knicks have much more interest in Powell, who is expected to choose to become an unrestricted free agent after the season.

Along the same lines as Houston’s Victor Oladipo, the Knicks don’t want to give up first-round picks to the 27-year-old Powell for rent and would prefer assurances that he would re-sign if they make a move.

However, league sources say the Pacers are willing to overpay Powell in free agency and perhaps outbid.

A long-unrecognized role player, Powell has built a solid sixth season playing in the darkness of Tampa, the pandemic home of the Raptors.

Powell has spent his entire career in Toronto, a franchise that rarely appears on national television. Powell has recently emerged as a scoring stallion.

He has started 30 of Toronto’s 41 games, averaging a career-high 19.5 points per game, shooting 49.5 percent, including 43.4 percent from 3. ESPN reported that as many as 12 teams are interested. At Powell.

“He has an advantage in his game,” said an NBA scout. “Plus, he has that chip on his shoulder. It plays better than your minute program. He has shown the ability to be a full-time starter ”.

Knicks NBA trade deadline Norman Powell Raptors
The Knicks are eyeing Raptors guard Norman Powell ahead of Thursday’s NBA trade deadline.
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Another NBA executive said teams are apprehensive about what the asking price will be.

“You will have to pay him next year,” said the executive. “He has really improved his shooting and [is] good in the half court. He’s not a playmaker, but he’s a good defender and a great person. “

Sounds like a Tom Thibodeau dream. But with the emergence of RJ Barrett and the solid extended play of Alec Burks, who has shown he can play both guard spots, the Knicks aren’t as desperate to rent a backcourt.

The Knicks are approaching the Thursday 22-22 trade deadline. The organizing belief is that the Knicks have vastly exceeded expectations and have enough to finish in the top 10 in the East to qualify for the play-in tournament, if not in the top six to secure a playoff spot.

Knicks president Leon Rose knows this is not the season to fight for the title. So the franchise isn’t that keen on giving up important draft picks for rentals, unless there’s a long-term impact. Also, he likes the chemistry created now.

“I think they are going to do their great things in the summer,” said an NBA source.

Pelicans point guard Lonzo Ball is on the Knicks’ radar as a restricted free agent. New Orleans general manager David Griffin is weighing whether to trade him now or risk losing him for nothing in free agency.

The Knicks feel like they would be on the hunt to sign Ball. In 2011, the Knicks’ top brass came under fire at the trade deadline for giving up a number of assets in a signature-and-extension trade for Carmelo Anthony rather than waiting for his free agency.

Ironically, Rose, then Anthony’s agent, helped design that deal.

Meanwhile, a source said the Pacers have not put point guard Malcolm Brodgon or big man Myles Turner on the market and are not options.

However, Orlando’s Evan Fournier, a Scott Perry draft pick, and Sacramento’s Nemanja Bjelica, a 38.8 percent career 3-point shooter, are also on the block and of interest.

“It’s important for us to go one step at a time and not skip things,” Thibodeau said over the weekend in the first sign that the Knicks can hold their ground. “The overall goal this year is to build a foundation and the right kind of habits.”

Knicks bosses already gave winner Thibodeau a Super Bowl Sunday gift by trading Dennis Smith Jr. for veteran Derrick Rose.

Rose is about to return as the Knicks are rebounding. Point guard Elfrid Payton’s back from a hamstring strain and center Mitchell Robinson made a big impact in his second game Tuesday.

However, the Knicks are not salespeople as expected and want to improve their talent or at least make better use of the roster position held by Austin Rivers, who has fallen out of favor with Thibodeau and has been out of the club since All. -Star break.

If Rivers’ stake is bought, the Knicks will be active in the buyout market to fill the void. Veteran sniper JJ Redick, who has had a bad year with the Pelicans, is a target as a shooter from the bench as he yearns to be back in the New York area.

However, the Nets may also have an interest. Redick, who has been out since March 4 with a hamstring injury, lives in Brooklyn with his family and was seen in SoHo this week while rehabbing.

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