It seems increasingly unlikely the Toronto Raptors will keep both Gary Trent Jr. and Bruce Brown past the NBA trade deadline. With Brown's team option for next season and reported high asking price, Trent seemed like the likelier of the duo to be flipped elsewhere.
That doesn't mean a deal is signed, sealed, and delivered. Trent's camp was reportedly trying to hammer out a contract extension in the offseason, and trading a 24-year-old with tremendous shooting skill seems counterintuitive against Toronto's goal of building an exciting young team.
The fact that Trent started over Brown despite the fact Toronto only has a few more days to display Brown to potential suitors shows that they value what he brings to the lineup. His 3-point shooting is in short supply on this team, and he could be retained for a reasonable price in the offseason.
If the Raptors end up trading Brown for draft compensation and a young player of some notoriety, the best move in the short-term might be giving Trent the contract he has been seeking. If things go belly-up next season, Toronto can look to move him and get more back for a young player with multiple years left on his contract.
Could the Toronto Raptors keep Gary Trent Jr. for 2024?
The 12.1 points per game average is a bad look for a guy who averaged 17.9 points per game in the last two seasons. However, his 42.4% success rate from 3-point range has been so impressive that it's hard to regard him as anything less than an elite shooter.
Trent ranks third in the NBA in 3-point percentage among players with at least 5.8 attempts per game from deep. Since the beginning of the new year, only Phoenix's Grayson Allen (who is leading the NBA in 3-point percentage overall) has a better clip from downtown. Why would the Raptors part with this?
With Gradey Dick showing little that would cement him as a rotation lock next season and the team's guard depth generally underwhelming right now, Trent gives the Raptors a much better offensive option than Brown at what could be a cheaper price. This will let Toronto focus on defense and potential in their offseason moves rather than finding a Trent replacement.
Trent's bet on himself by picking up his team option may not have been the most prudent move, but he has started to get abck on track lately. If he keeps this up, it's tough to envision a world where the Raptors kick him to the curb.