The Toronto Raptors once again seemed to come out on the winning end of a trade after acquiring Gary Trent Jr. from the Portland Trail Blazers. While Norman Powell was traded to the Clippers after just one season, Trent has become one of the Raptors’ most integral pieces.
Trent averaged 18.3 points per game while serving as a knockdown shooter and a promising defender that took a huge step forward in his age-23 season. Trent’s agents must have been betting heavily on a breakout within the first two years of his contract given how it was structured.
While Trent could pick up a player option that is just under $19 million for the 2023-24 season, he could easily decide to turn that down and get a contract that helps him earn a nine-figure deal. If he declines that option, half of the league might try to get in an offer for Trent’s services.
These three teams should be viewed by Masai Ujiri and the Raptors as legitimate threats in the quest to sign Trent. The Raptors should still be the favorites for Trent, but a more lucrative offer could easily help sway him over to another contender.
Toronto Raptors: 3 teams who could lure Gary Trent Jr. away.
3. Cleveland Cavaliers
While Cleveland appears to be moving forward with Darius Garland and Collin Sexton as the long-term backcourt, the contract impasse that Sexton finds himself in could prompt the Cavs to look elsewhere for help. They shouldn’t have too much of an issue affording Trent.
Even if Sexton is retained, the impending free agency of Kevin Love and Caris LeVert after this year could prompt a Trent signing. Imagine a three-guard lineup with Garland, Sexton, and Trent on the perimeter next to Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen. That should worry the Raptors.
Will the Raptors keep Gary Trent Jr. away from Cleveland?
The big issue with this landing spot is that Trent’s volume of shots likely would not increase. Giving up attempts to Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam might be frustrating, but playing third banana behind Mobley and Garland might not be that much of an improvement.
If Trent is going to leave Toronto, which is unlikely considering how dependent the Raptors are on his skills, he’ll need to find somewhere that will both back up the Brinks truck to pay him and give him an increased offensive role. Cleveland, with some retooling, could provide him that.