The Toronto Raptors might’ve been trying to work out the particulars of their Kyle Lowry sign-and-trade last night, but their other main priority this offseason had to be making sure that Gary Trent Jr. ended up back in Toronto after an encouraging stint with the squad.
Acquired from the Portland Trail Blazers in the same deal that sent Norman Powell to Oregon, Trent could thrive as a tertiary gunner with Toronto, as players like Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Carmelo Anthony, and Jusuf Nurkic taking shots away from him with the Blazers.
Trent, a former second-round pick and son of an NBA power forward who was also traded from Portland to Toronto 41 games into his third season, entered the uncertain world of restricted free agency, but the latest reports appear to signal that Trent is going to return to Canada.
Trent has agreed to a three-year deal worth $54 million, per Adrian Wojnarowski and Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul. Trent’s trade gave him the opportunity to prove he is worth a long-term deal, and he has cemented himself as a core piece moving forward.
Gary Trent Jr. could be a steal at that price for the Toronto Raptors.
Trent’s new deal is almost level with players like Bogdan Bogdanovic, Caris LeVert, and Tim Hardaway Jr., who just re-signed with the Mavericks. Considering that Trent won’t turn 23 until January, he still has plenty of room to grow. Looking at how Powell improved later in his career, Trent could be in for a similar production bump.
While his 39% shooting percentage might make some fans nervous, he struggled with injuries near the end of the season. In the 10 games he played before he got hurt, Trent averaged 18.4 points per game on 46% shooting. At his age, that production justified a contract like this.
Trent recorded the second-highest plus-minus in a regular-season NBA game against Golden State, set a new career-high with 44 points versus Cleveland, and hit a buzzer-beating game-winner to sink Washington. If he keeps performing like that, he’ll do just fine in Toronto.
Trent might look like an overpay due to production that some believe hasn’t necessarily warranted $18 million per season, but his ability to create offense for himself, stroke it from 3-point range, and hold his own in individual matchups on the perimeter.
With Pascal Siakam and Scottie Barnes ready to dominate the game on the interior, look for Trent to be available for kick-outs and wide-open 3-pointers.