Gary Trent Jr. turned Raptors’ Greivis Vazquez trade into all-time heist

Nov 24, 2021; Memphis, Tennessee, USA; Toronto Raptors guard-forward Gary Trent Jr. (33) Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 24, 2021; Memphis, Tennessee, USA; Toronto Raptors guard-forward Gary Trent Jr. (33) Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports /

The Toronto Raptors expected Gary Trent Jr. to take a step forward in 2021, and he has rewarded their trust in him by putting together what has been the finest season of his career to this point. Trent has evolved from an offensive-minded guard with a sweet shooting stroke into a complete two-way presence.

As good as Norman Powell was during his days with the Raptors, Masai Ujiri was not willing to spend nearly $100 million over five years to secure his services. The Portland Trail Blazers made a win-now move by trading Trent to Toronto in exchange for Powell and signing him to a long-term contract.

Powell ended up in Toronto as a result of one of the most lopsided trades in recent NBA history. The Bucks decided to bring Greivis Vasquez to Milwaukee while parting ways with Powell and the pick that later became OG Anunoby. Toronto had been declared the winners of this deal long ago, but Trent is making this look even worse for Milwaukee.

Not only did the Raptors add one of the best two-way players in the game and an elite microwave scorer in Anunoby and Powell, but they were able to move off of Powell and land a potential star in the making in Trent. Anytime someone questions Masai Ujiri, just remind them how he swindled the Bucks in this deal.

The Toronto Raptors trading for Gary Trent Jr. was a great move.

Trent is averaging 17.5 points per game while making 41% of his shots and 36% of his 3-point attempts. The Raptors knew they didn’t have a ton of shooting talent on this roster when the season kicked off, so they needed a player like Trent to pick up the slack. Safe to say, he’s been exactly what Toronto thought he would be on offense.

Trent was an objectively bad defender before this season, but he’s developed a habit for causing turnovers on that end due to his active hands. Powell likely priced himself out of another contract with Toronto, so the fact they were able to snag a perfect tertiary scorer like Trent at a more efficient salary is once again a testament to Ujiri’s acumen.

Vasquez had his moments with the Raptors, but his career cratered as soon as he left. Vasquez would play just 26 NBA games after the trade, while Toronto landed one of their franchise cornerstones in Anunoby and a perfect complementary player in Trent.

Milwaukee may have their title, but they suffered through some tough playoff losses Anunoby and Powell may have helped prevent.

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