Trades can be the source of some of the biggest controversy and vitriol in the NBA. When a fan favourite is traded, it’s difficult to part ways. The players in the trade are critically analyzed in comparison to each other, pundits attempting to declare a winner and a loser in the trade.
Two fanbases feeling nothing but happiness for all involved, wishing those departing to succeed in their new environments, and showing pure excitement for the incoming players? Something like that is about as rare as seeing a unicorn; it practically never happens.
And yet, that is exactly what has transpired in the past nine days since the Toronto Raptors exchanged Norman Powell for Rodney Hood and Gary Trent Jr. with the Portland Trail Blazers.
By all accounts, it is a win-win trade. The Raptors picked up a blue-chip prospect in Trent and an asset in Rodney Hood’s contract. The Blazers, meanwhile, get a fantastic starter to complement Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, who can slash and does well in catch-and-shoot situations.
It might be, however, the most wholesome transaction in the history of the National Basketball League. Never has there been so much positivity on both sides surrounding a trade, with fans giving nothing but praise to the players involved and wishing them the best. There has simply been lots of good energy surrounding this transaction, and it’s a welcome sight considering how divisive some trades can be.
Fans have been rather endearing to both players, given that Trent Jr. and Powell were fan favourites in Portland and Toronto respectively.
The hashtag #ThanksNormPowell was the second-highest trending topic on Twitter last Sunday, when the Raptors took on the Blazers in what was each’s first game against former teams. Plenty of positive exchanges have taken place between both sides of fans, each telling the other they will love the incoming players:
Tell me it doesn’t warm your heart to see such wholesomeness between two fanbases! Has this ever happened in the history of the NBA? Raptors fans and Blazers fans are getting along even more than Simon and Garfunkel.
That great energy hasn’t just stayed with the fans, either. Both players have acclimated to their new environments quite well, and appear to be fitting in seamlessly right off the bat. Trent Jr. is already showcasing the potential the Raptors were banking on, highlighted by a career-best 31 point performance against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night.
His former teammate, Jusuf Nurkic, got in on the action to congratulate him on the stellar performance:
Trent has spoken to the media on a couple of occasions, and one of the notes that stuck out from his reporter scrums is that he mentioned he has already struck a friendship with OG Anunoby:
The Blazers, meanwhile, are 3-1 with Powell in their lineup.
A few days after the trade, Powell penned a parting letter to the city of Toronto and its fans on The Players’ Tribune, with some endearing words:
Additionally factoring in that Trent was traded at the exact same point in his career as his father, from the Blazers to the Raptors, everything about this deal simply feels like it was meant to be. It certainly looks that way so far, as the deal seems to be working out exactly how both sides want it to. Win-win trades are rare in the NBA, but it appears Bobby Webster and Neil Olshey have struck one.