MassLive’s Brian Robb does not see Norm Powell being an option for the Boston Celtics in 2021 free agency this summer, but as Robb sees it, there’s a chance that whatever figure he and the Portland Trail Blazers (or a team that outbids them) agree to could have trickle-down effects on the C’s own free-agent case with Evan Fournier.
Powell opted out of his contract yesterday, deciding that he could more than recoup the $11.6 million player option on the open market. He was a trade deadline pickup from the Toronto Raptors that played a role on the 2018-19 NBA Championship team whose numbers took a slight dip when he made his way west to Portland.
New Boston Celtics President of Basketball Operations Brad Stevens only has the taxpayer’s mid-level exception in free agency as it stands, meaning Powell is a mere free agency pipe dream for the Cs. But whatever salary number he lands on will affect the Celtics’ own pursuit of Fournier.
As Robb relays, teams could end up using their funds on Powell, leaving little room for a pursuit of Fournier:
"Powell’s leverage with the Blazers may have a trickle-down impact on Boston’s situation though since whatever deal he agrees to could help set the market for other free agent wings. Powell is expected to have a number of suitors in free agency beyond Portland so his availability could eliminate a team from going after Boston’s Evan Fournier if they use their cap room on Powell instead."
The two free agents have remarkably similar skillsets and stat-lines, both averaging around 17 points per game the last two seasons. They are also both 28 years old. To say the pair offers similar value is not a stretch in the slightest.
Stevens is likely hoping teams will line up to land Powell in free agency while waiting it out on Fournier. In that case, he could end up negotiating a deal with Fournier below what could end up being market value for a versatile shoot-first wing.
As Robb concludes, the more wings that hit the market, the better it its for Boston. A more crowded free agent wing class means less money to go around for everyone.
Time will tell if Powell’s free agency ends up benefitting the Cs, but it’s certainly a possibility at this point.