Report: Norman Powell declining $11,615,328 player option with Trail Blazers

Trail Blazers wing Norman Powell
Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images
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Norman Powell signed the largest-allowable contract extension in 2018 then had the worst season of his career.

But he has gradually restored his value with the Raptors then Trail Blazers.

Now, he’s declining his $11,615,328 player option for next season.

Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports:

Portland Trail Blazers guard Norman Powell told Yahoo Sports he will decline his player option for the 2021-22 season and become an unrestricted free agent Aug. 1.

Portland traded for Powell at the deadline expecting him to decline this option. Anything can happen in unrestricted free agency, but the Trail Blazers have a plan for re-signing him.

They’d be limited to the mid-level exception to replace Powell, and that’s unlikely to yield a player as good. Especially with Portland trying to impress Damian Lillard, Powell has plenty of leverage.

Powell, 28, had a standout year, averaging 19 points per game on 41% 3-point shooting. He should get both a higher salary next season and additional years of security.

By not extending a qualifying offer to Zach Collins, the Trail Blazers gained flexibility below the luxury-tax line. Some of that will likely go toward re-signing Powell.