The Toronto Raptors have to be generally dissatisfied with the performance of Gary Trent Jr. so far this season, as he is less efficient as a shooter and not as active a defender. With the ability to opt out of his contract in the offseason, Toronto needs to keep their trade antennas up.
One surprise team that could make sense as a partner is the Washington Wizards, who have been much better than expected after signing franchise icon Bradley Beal to a supermax contract. Role players like former Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma have helped Washington be such a consistent winner in the early stages.
Despite this success, rumors are emerging that claim Washington is looking to move away from Kuzma. If the Wizards decide that paying a forward who will turn 28 in the offseason (somehow) does not fit with their current timeline, they might get Toronto on the phone.
With the Raptors looking to offload Trent for a solid haul that won’t be as financially cumbersome and Washington motivated to find a new home for Kuzma if the right deal emerges, the two warring Eastern Conference sides could strike a deal.
This Raptors-Wizards trade sends Gary Trent Jr. to Washington.
Like Trent, Kuzma can opt out of his contract after this season. However, considering his age and position, signing him to a short (albeit very well-compensated) deal in free agency might be less of a financial burden on this roster than giving Trent a contract that may approach nine figures.
Kuzma is averaging over 20 points per game while showing that he can consistently average over eight rebounds per game. If O.G. Anunoby playing the 2-guard role becomes a permanent fix thanks to his defense, why not take a chance on Kuzma?
A team that was starting Juancho Hernangomez at small forward likely won’t have any issues putting Kuzma out there. Both Chris Boucher and Thad Young are on the wrong side of 30, so Kuzma gives Toronto more sustainably excellent offensive performance from their forward spots.
Washington, meanwhile, appears to be all-in on the Kristaps Porzingis bandwagon. If their supermax guard in Beal continues to serve as a primary ball-handler, why can’t they pay Trent to be the long-term shooting guard and go all-in on this 3-point barrage?
There are less bombastic trade options out there, but what amounts to essentially a 1-for-1 swap could help both teams beef up their areas of strength. Think of this as another version of the Powell-Trent trade, as the Raptors are getting another solid starter that won’t require such a huge payday in the next few months.