Grade the Trade: Lakers make disastrous move to add Raptors wing in rumored deal

The Los Angeles Lakers are rumored to be interested in one of the Toronto Raptors free agents. This mock deal illustrated how disastrous the cost would be.
Rob Pelinka, Los Angeles Lakers
Rob Pelinka, Los Angeles Lakers / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages
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Grade the Trade for the Raptors and Lakers

There is very little opportunity cost here for the Toronto Raptors. They aren't anywhere near the first luxury tax apron, so they can sign Trent Jr. to this deal and send him to the Lakers. They aren't taking back salary either, so really this is about the difference in value between the two picks. They are receiving the Lakers' 2029 first-round pick (Top-1 protected in this exercise) and sending the Indiana Pacers' 2026 Top-4 protected first to the Pistons.

The Lakers pick certainly has more upside and more value overall; it's further into the future, but that allows the Raptors to gain the upside of a post-LeBron Lakers team, and potentially even a post-Anthony Davis team. That's well worth being the facilitator in this deal for a player they aren't planning to bring back.

Grade: A

The Los Angeles Lakers would be giving up a lot in this deal. It's not simply that they would be sending out their 2029 first-round pick for Gary Trent Jr. but they would also be losing D'Angelo Russell, a projected starter and a player who can shoot, score and pass at a high level. That's an extremely lofty cost.

If the Lakers had moved more quickly they could have executed this kind of deal for a player more worth it than Trent, a true 3-and-D forward like Naji Marshall or Derrick Jones Jr. If LeBron James had truly taken more money it seems likely they could have added someone like DeMar DeRozan.

Trent is a solid player, a career 38.6 percent 3-point shooter, a solid defender and is still just 25 years old. At the same time, he had remarkably little impact on the Raptors' winning last season, and he is a poor scorer inside the arc. Is that the player the Lakers want to make such an investment in? He might be a better fit on the roster next year than Russell, but that potential difference is certainly not worth a future first, especially not one as lucrative as their own 2029.

The Lakers' interest in Trent may just be theoretical if his market dries up so much he is available on the minimum. If it's interest to sign him for a larger contract, the cost to free up the space would be exorbitant, and it would be a disaster for the Lakers to make this trade.

Grade: F

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