3 teams that could steal Gary Trent Jr. away from the Toronto Raptors

GTJ is due for a new deal this offseason, and the Raptors may not be the only ones trying to secure his services.
Philadelphia 76ers v Toronto Raptors
Philadelphia 76ers v Toronto Raptors / Mark Blinch/GettyImages
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2. Los Angeles Lakers

It’s always funny talking about the Lakers, because they always have the chance to snag just about anybody. One, it’s the bright lights of Hollywood and superstar central. Two, you have one of the arguable GOATs in LeBron James still at the helm of the franchise at 39 years old, along with a still solid defensive force in Anthony Davis.

But, those two alone have proved to not be enough to push a group of rather mediocre players to a title. When the Lakers won the championship in 2020, the bunch was rounded out by quality role players including Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Rajon Rondo and Alex Caruso, among others. But when those guys were shipped off or left entirely, the Lakers have become somewhat lost trying to fill their void. 

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Alex Caruso, Kyle Kuzma, Dwight Howard
Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Lakers / Jayne Kamin-Oncea/GettyImages

Failed experiments with Russell Westbrook and Dennis Schroder come to mind, with the Westbrook saga proving very dramatic and tense. The Lakers have had a bit of resurgence since calling it on their Westbrook era, with new faces popping up like Austin Reaves, D’Angelo Russell, and Rui Hachimura. LA has some pretty solid pieces to work with, but they can use all the offensive help, and Gary Trent Jr. brings just that. He isn’t going to be a 20+ point per game scorer, especially alongside LeBron and AD, but look at Malik Monk and Lonnie Walker IV’s time on the Lakers for example. 

Those guys proved to be quality scorers who could either start or come off the bench when LeBron and AD were resting or having an off night, and Gary Trent Jr. suits that role to an absolute tee. The Lakers can take a swing once again on a similar player in GTJ, and give him the opportunity to prove himself as a starter or utilize his skill set as a spark plug off the bench. It’s a similar trajectory to Trent Jr.’s last few seasons in Toronto, where he’s gone from a solidified starter to being experimented as the sixth man. 

Now, the scary thing for Trent Jr. in LA is his room for error becomes a lot more narrow than it is on the Raptors. Gary has seen his fair share of stinkers in recent years, with none being more striking than his 1-for-7 field goal performance/0-for-5 three-point shooting in the 2023 Chicago Bulls Play-In matchup.

The bright lights of Los Angeles are not the place to have those types of performances. It’s not a knock on Gary’s game by any stretch, but the Lakers have always been a franchise that labels one unfortunate soul as a scapegoat. Just look at Russell Westbrook, or D’Angelo Russell this past year. So for Gary, you go to this legendary franchise with that possibility in mind. It’s more or less like a double-edged sword, you can either flourish in Hollywood or see your star severely diminish. But it’s all about taking a chance, and that’s exactly what Gary Trent Jr. to the Lakers looks like.