The LA Clippers acquired Portland Trail Blazers veterans Norman Powell and Robert Covington in a trade that sent Eric Bledsoe, Justise Winslow, Keon Johnson and a 2025 second-round draft pick to Portland, the teams announced Friday.
The deal sets up both teams for additional moves as they reshape rosters ahead of next Thursday's trade deadline and beyond.
For the Clippers, the acquisition of Powell delivers them a high-level scoring guard and defender to partner with All-Stars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George for the next several years. LA is determined to surround those two stars -- both currently sidelined with injuries -- with shooters and versatile defenders.
The Blazers clear Powell's five-year, $90 million contract as they prepare to commit to a long-term extension this summer with 21-year-old Anfernee Simons, who has been a revelation for the franchise this season. Both Bledsoe and Winslow are under contract through next season and are capable rotation players.
The deal moves Portland under the luxury tax threshold and expands LA's payroll from $93.9 million to $112.9 million. The Clippers and Blazers are both expected to continue to make deals over the next week. The Blazers' plan is to continue to reshape the roster around All-NBA guard Damian Lillard.
Blazers coach Chauncey Billups spoke about the team wanting more cap flexibility for the future.
"[Interim Blazers general manager] Joe [Cronin] and I have so many talks and conversations about what NBA championship contending team roster looks like, and trying to find a way to get our roster to that point,'' Billups said. "Today we lost some good players obviously that were really loved around here. But this is all a part of it. This is kind of the business of it, that we took some necessary steps to have the flexibility we're going to need.''
He was asked how the Blazers, in 10th place in the Western Conference and in danger of missing the playoffs, will approach the rest of the season.
"Obviously everybody knows where our record's at, where we stand. No secret,'' said Billups, in his first year as a head coach. "I just try to win every single game and try to keep getting better as a coach, no matter what is kind of thrown at me, what we have or what we don't have. I can't control those things.''
Portland was short-handed for Friday's 96-93 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder following the trade, as Bledsoe, Winslow and Johnson had not yet arrived and Larry Nance Jr. was not available to play because of right knee inflammation. The Blazers also continue to miss Lillard, who is out indefinitely after a procedure to treat an abdominal issue.
Simons admitted the Blazers have a tougher task moving forward.
"We're all competitive guys, no matter who is out there. We're all trying to win,'' Simons said. "So a lot of young guys are going to be able to play and get an opportunity, learn and grow together, build an identity for ourselves as the roster fills out."
Johnson was the 21st pick in the 2021 draft out of Tennessee. The 19-year-old is considered to have significant potential.
Powell, 28, started 39 games for the Blazers this season, averaging 18.7 points on 40.6% 3-point shooting this season. He arrived in a deadline trade with the Toronto Raptors a year ago and signed an extension with Portland over the summer.
Covington averaged 7.6 points with 5.7 rebounds.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.