The Clippers made a big trade a couple days ago, obtaining Norm Powell and Robert Covington in exchange for Justise Winslow, Keon Johnson, Eric Bledsoe, and a second-round pick (all going to the Blazers) . Here are the 213 Hoops staffers’ grades and thoughts on the Norm Powell trade.
Ralston Dacanay: A
I think the Clippers struck gold with this one. The boost in talent that both Powell and Covington add to this roster was not only a godsend now, but is also great since they would likely fit in whenever George and/or Leonard are able to get back as well. At the very least, if the fit is just not that great, this move suddenly gives the Clips a surplus of easily moveable guys. You also somehow didn’t have to give up much in draft capital or Brandon Boston. Outside of his ability to flat-out score, I’m also just excited to see Powell get acclimated with this roster as a SoCal guy and friend of Kawhi. To me, the trade also takes a bit of pressure off of the 213 duo returning this year because I’m much more confident that the group out there will be able to at least make the play-in, as well as believe that LAC is primed to be absolutely loaded in 2023.
Ultimately, I think this is a special deal by the Clippers’ front office as they were in the right place at the right time with the necessary assets, and the right owner (!), to take advantage of the Trail Blazers’ interim GM suddenly looking to sell. Admittedly, it does feel a bit sad to see Bledsoe, Winslow, and Johnson go as they all seemed like genuinely cool dudes who played super hard, but there’s no question you take this deal if you’re LAC.
Shapan Debnath: A
I still can’t believe it happened. Maybe you think that the long term Norm money is a lot to take on, but it’s kind of a general deal for guys entering their prime to be leaving their deal on the way out of it. Norm is the kind of pressure valve I’ve wanted for Kawhi/PG, he’s the best player on the Clippers right now, and he was attained for trade chips and long haul prospect in Keon. An incredible coup.
Lucas Hann: A
I don’t think this is perfect–Norm is good, but not as good as most championship teams’ third-best player (and he’s the third-best player on this roster after PG and Kawhi), and he’s really not a distributor at all, which could cause some friction sharing the lineup with those two stars. Overall, though, the Clippers just got an absolutely massive value win on this deal. Powell will help in a big way immediately, give the team much more respectable postseason lineups this year if they have to play without one or both of their stars, and is reasonably paid to be a quality starter going forward. To get him without giving up an existing core player or the team’s only available future first round pick (in 2028) is a huge win.
On the whole, it’s the type of trade where I just kept reading the tweet trying to figure out what I was missing, because the Clippers just got a really good deal. The addition of Robert Covington sneakily gives LAC another small ball option and battle-tested forward who could open the door for more trades, either with for him or for another wing/forward player made more expendable because Covington is now able to fill their role.
Erik Olsgaard: A
Although Eric Beldsoe and Justise Winslow had recently begun to really shine with the Clippers, solidifying a bench unit that helped the Clippers float around .500 in spite of all the injuries, the long-term fit was never really there. Of course, we already knew that these were value, not fit moves, when they were acquired last summer. And, as in previous years, the Clippers’ front office made the fit adjustments at the trade deadline. But unlike last year’s Rondo adjustment, this one actually makes sense. Norman Powell is a tremendous shooter, a solid defender, and has no problem getting to the paint. Robert Covington is a more average shooter having a down year, but as a very good switchy defender who fits nicely as a small-ball 5, he should be a good fit.
While the great vibes and general likeability of Bledsoe and Winslow will be missed, one can’t help but get excited about the idea of Powell and Covington being added to what is essentially last year’s Clippers squad. And this move fits the Clippers’ plans too: If Kawhi or PG come back this year, the moves work immediately; and if they don’t come back this year, Powell is signed long-term and Covington can be re-signed if the Clippers like him. There’s just no downside here. Great work Clippers.
Cole Huff: A+
give up little to gain a lot. They get off of Bled’s expensive contract, ship
out a wing that likely wouldn’t ever see the court once Kawhi and PG made their
way back, and deal a rookie who won’t help for years.
In return, they get a player in Powell who is an efficient scorer that will not only inject life into this team’s current offense but will be a big part of the 2022-23 Clippers. He has proven over the years to be a productive player on contending teams and around star talent, which should be the case going forward. And the Clippers get RoCo, who I’m probably a lot higher on than most. He’s not who he once was, but being surrounded by talented defenders and a potent (when healthy) offense should only maximize his value as a 3&D wing and small-ball 5. Again, A+.
Robert Flom: A
Let’s get my trademark Eeyore nitpicks out of the way first. Norm Powell is somewhat overrated, as I think on a truly great team he’s more of a 5th starter or even 6th man than he is a third option, as he will be on the Clippers – he can’t playmake for others much at all, and his defense is more “not bad” than it is “good”. His five-year, $90M dal isn’t insanely expensive, but it is no underpay either, and could look rough in the last year or two.
That said, this trade was a heist. Powell is still a good player on a reasonable deal, and Covington is a solid rotation piece who can be let go or re-signed with Bird Rights this summer if he plays well. Most importantly, both fit well next to Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. To get them, the Clippers had to give up just a mediocre backup point guard (Bledsoe), a semi-useful depth piece on an above-minimum deal (Winslow), a decent but not blue-chip prospect in Keon Johnson who is a long-term development guy, and a second round pick. Moreover, neither Winslow nor Bledsoe seemed like good fits with George or Leonard, limiting their utility. The Clippers didn’t give up nothing, but the only potential piece of any real long-term future was Johnson, and he’s not close to a sure bet. For guys who can at least be rotation pieces on the 2023 Clippers, and who free up other Clips (Kennard and Morris mainly) for trade for other assets, the Clippers will take that 101 times out of 100.