NBA Rumour Roundup: Pair of Raptors at forefront of trade buzz

Michael Grange joins Jesse Fuchs on Sportsnet Central to discuss the Toronto Raptors losing streak and if their performance could affect their trade deadline strategy.

The NBA's March 25 trade deadline is exactly one week away and the buzz is starting to reach new heights as teams get a clearer picture of where they stand.

P.J. Tucker's deal from the Houston Rockets to the Milwaukee Bucks marked the first true big move of the season and more should follow in the coming days.

Here's a look at the latest trade chatter making the rounds across the league, with a pair of Toronto Raptors right at the forefront.

Powell in high demand

Norman Powell has put it all together for the Raptors this year, culminating with his career-best 43-point effort Wednesday against the Detroit Pistons. The 27-year-old is averaging 19.7 points per game on better than 44 per cent shooting from three-point range. With numbers like that, it's no surprise rival teams are ringing up Toronto's front office to ask about his availability.

"It might take me more hands than I have to count how many teams have inquired about Norm Powell with them," ESPN's Zach Lowe said on a recent podcast episode.

Powell is likely to be a rental player for an acquiring team, as he will almost certainly decline his $11.6-million player option for next season to explore a more lucrative deal in free agency. His modest salary for the remainder of the year makes him an attainable option for contenders looking for a scoring wing player, so it makes sense that he's in high demand. The question is whether the Raptors, losers of six straight, are willing to move key pieces from their roster or stand pat and make another playoff push.

We know where coach Nick Nurse stands on that front, but will Masai Ujiri and Bobby Webster agree?

Heat not giving up on Lowry deal?

One week ago, Sportsnet's Michael Grange reported the Raptors would not be moving franchise icon Kyle Lowry at the deadline. Whether that still holds true with the Raptors tumbling down the Eastern Conference standings remains to be seen, but it hasn't stopped teams from making calls about him.

The Miami Heat have shown interest in the soon-to-be 35-year-old point guard, reportedly including Goran Dragic, Kelly Olynyk and Kendrick Nunn in those talks, per Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. Unlike Powell, any trade involving Lowry will naturally require more moving parts because of the six-time all-star's $30-million cap hit.

Miami's rumoured package could be of interest to the Raptors, who would receive two veterans in Dragic ($19.4-million team option next season) and Olynyk (expiring contract) plus a promising younger piece in Nunn (eligible for restricted free agency this summer).

Even if Lowry is moved this week, there's no doubt about where he will end his career.

Oladipo on the move again?

A two-way player of Victor Oladipo's calibre isn't available in trade too often — unless you're Victor Oladipo, apparently.

The Houston Rockets acquired Oladipo in the four-team blockbuster that sent James Harden to Brooklyn and it marked the third time he'd been dealt in his career. A fourth move seems to be on the horizon, with the Heat, New York Knicks and Denver Nuggets reportedly among the interested parties. The Golden State Warriors have "sniffed around" but the asking price is currently too steep for their taste, according to Drew Shiller of NBC Bay Area.

Oladipo would instantly boost an acquiring franchise's title hopes as he's a true difference maker on both sides of the ball. That said, he's a free agent at the end of the year, so teams may be hesitant to give up a big package for a rental, especially with Miami often rumoured as his preferred destination once he hits the open market.

Turner drawing plenty of chatter

Three-point shooting and rim protection are always going to be coveted assets at this time of the year, and it's not often you can find both of those characteristics in one player. That's why Indiana Pacers big man Myles Turner has at least five suitors right now: the New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Charlotte Hornets and New Orleans Pelicans, according to J. Michael of the Indianapolis Star.

Turner, still just 24 years old, currently leads the NBA with 3.4 blocks per game. His three-point stroke hasn't been as consistent in 2020-21, converting on 31 per cent of his attempts, but his career mark from long range is a more respectable 35 per cent. The Texas native has two more years left on his deal, so the Pacers would have to make a judgment call on if Turner is still part of their long-term plan, or whether it's time to move on.

At least six teams in on Gordon

Speaking of young big men in high demand, Aaron Gordon of the Orlando Magic has been linked to at least six teams and would welcome a change of scenery, per Bleacher Report's Jake Fischer. Gordon doesn't hit free agency until the summer of 2022, which has opened the door for non-contenders like Minnesota and New Orleans to also enter conversations.

Along with Gordon, the Magic have plenty of other high-profile trade pieces to dangle ahead of the deadline including Nikola Vucevic, Evan Fournier and Terrence Ross. Fischer's sources believe Orlando can "set the tone for this year's trade market," so keep an eye on central Florida this week.

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