3 reasons Raptors should trade Fred VanVleet, keep Gary Trent Jr.

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - NOVEMBER 07: Gary Trent Jr. #33 and Fred VanVleet #23 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - NOVEMBER 07: Gary Trent Jr. #33 and Fred VanVleet #23 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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While the Toronto Raptors could take calls on most of their roster now that trade season has been kicked into high gear, the two players who make the most sense as trade chips are Gary Trent Jr. and Fred VanVleet. Toronto can net multiple premium picks in exchange for them.

While VanVleet is an All-Star point guard, even his biggest supporters will find it very hard to deny that he is regressing this season. Trent is a fantastic player, but rumors about the contract he is going to demand might force Masai Ujiri to consider moving away from him.

Trading both of them might be too steep of a challenge for this Raptors team, but fans should brace for at least one of them to be wearing a different jersey in the relatively near future. Fans might be on board with trading VanVleet, but Trent might be the more likely move of the two.

However, if Ujiri wants to keep this team as competitive as possible for 2023 and beyond, the front office needs to be more aggressive in pursuing a VanVleet trade than dealing Trent. These three justifications prove that a VanVleet deal should be put on the front burner.

3 reasons the Toronto Raptors should trade Fred VanVleet.

3. Financial implications

The Raptors will have to give these guys a ton of money in the offseason, as they have both vastly outperformed their current contracts. Trent averaging over 18 points per game with solid 3-point shooting and 1.8 steals per contest will be what pushed him closer to a nine-figure contract worth $25 million per season.

While VanVleet was quick to shoot down rumors that he didn’t accept Toronto’s initial multi-year contract offer, it’s not unreasonable to assume that VanVleet (who just fired his agent) is seeking a deal similar to the $130 million payday Tyler Herro got in Miami. MLSE will love saving $30 million by paying a younger player.

Gary Trent Jr. will cost the Toronto Raptors less than Fred VanVleet.

With Pascal Siakam potentially in supermax contract territory due to his All-NBA performance this season, every dollar Toronto can save and used to build their depth will be appreciated. If they can also use the remaining money to hold on to a tremendous perimeter scorer that keeps getting better, that makes this decision even sweeter.

VanVleet already cashed in with the Raptors, signing the biggest contract for an undrafted player in NBA history. His next contract, however, might be too expensive for a Raptors team that can’t afford to commit so much money to just a handful of players.