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Why Did Joe Cronin Trade Norman Powell & Robert Covington?

The Blazers GM sounds off.

Utah Jazz v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Soobum Im/Getty Images

Many Portland Trail Blazers fans are scratching their heads after the team traded Norman Powell and Robert Covington to the Los Angeles Clippers for Eric Bledsoe, Justise Winslow, rookie Keon Johnson and a 2025 second-round pick.

Interim general manager Joe Cronin spoke with Washington Post reporter Ben Golliver to explain his reasons in making the deal.

In a simple answer, Cronin responded with “cap flexibility” as his primary reason to making the trade. By dealing Norman Powell, the team clears up $18 million on average over the next four seasons. The team is also able to get assets for upcoming free agent Robert Covington, who would likely have left in free agency.

The freeing of several million dollars also allows the team space to sign restricted free agent and “core piece” Anfernee Simons this summer.

“We wanted to create a runway here for him,” Cronin said.

While this future relief comes at a hefty price in trading Powell, who cost the team a promising young player in Gary Trent Jr. just a year ago, it gives the roster some balance it was once lacking.

“He’ll be missed,” Cronin said. “It’s just having to move that money to other positions, that’s what the motivation was. Roster balance.”

With six days before the Trade Deadline, the Blazers made their mission to focus on the future and there’s a decent chance that this might not be the last move the team makes.