The Toronto Raptors have several attractive players that many teams across the NBA are keeping an eye on ahead of the February 9th trade deadline. And with the Raps struggling, there is certainly a chance they decide to part ways with one or two key pieces. Among them is sharpshooter Gary Trent Jr, who is playing on an expiring contract and has a player option for 2023-24. That means Masai Ujiri and the front office may look to offload him next month instead of paying him the reported $20+ million Trent Jr will likely demand in free agency.
While we truly don’t know if the Raptors are going to move the ex-Duke standout or not, he could help out a variety of organizations. Here are the 4 best trade destinations for Gary Trent Jr.
Los Angeles Lakers
It’s no secret the Lakers need to make a splash at the deadline. LeBron James basically reiterated just that in an interview last week. He needs reinforcements around him, especially with Anthony Davis still out. The King can’t do it all alone. With LA currently three games below .500, Trent Jr could be a viable piece to add, giving them a scoring punch off the bench. Hell, he could even start at SG instead of Patrick Beverley, who is playing atrocious basketball in 2022-23. Trent Jr is a three-level scorer and has a solid role for Toronto, averaging 18.5 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 1.5 assists while shooting 36% from downtown. As we all know, the Lakers are putrid when it comes to draining triples, sitting 24th in the Association with a 34.1% clip. Playing with Bron and Russell Westbrook, Trent Jr can really benefit from their playmaking and give Darvin Ham another legit weapon who can get buckets on a consistent basis. Los Angeles doesn’t have a ton of draft capital to offer except for some second-round picks but if they want to make a run at a postseason spot, they find a way to get this deal done. It’s a potential game-changer.
After winning 64 games last season, the Suns are in poor shape right now. They’re currently 21-21 while dealing with a plethora of injuries. Devin Booker is still out with a groin problem. Chris Paul, Cam Payne, Cam Johnson, and Deandre Ayton are all dealing with health issues, too. Yes, Phoenix just beat the full-strength Warriors on Tuesday night in the Bay Area, but there’s been little consistency so far. Enter Gary Trent Jr. The biggest reason this is worth it for the Suns is Johnson’s absence. He’s still not back on the court doing full-contact practices. He is one of the team’s best three-point snipers. Trent Jr is a very good shooter, too. Now, this is a role where Trent Jr would surely come off the bench since Book and CP3 occupy the backcourt. However, it means the Raptors guard has the chance to even lead the second unit and take some of the scoring load off Booker in particular. With Jae Crowder still in town, Phoenix can use his remaining $10.1 million contract to make this trade happen, perhaps in a multi-team deal with the veteran going to another team while Trent Jr lands in the desert.
Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers were considered a title contender before the campaign began with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George coming back at full strength. That being said, things haven’t exactly gone to plan for Ty Lue’s squad. Leonard has dealt with health problems after his knee rehab. PG isn’t exactly always available either, suiting up just 30 times. The offense in particular is really looking flat, ranking 28th in PPG and 27th in offensive rating. While the Clippers sit second in the league in bench scoring, they could use another proven player who can score the rock, especially with Leonard and George continuing to deal with injury problems. He’s a guy capable of stepping up and producing. After all, he is averaging nearly 20 points per night.
New York Knicks
Jalen Brunson has made a drastic difference for the Knicks after arriving in the offseason, giving Tom Thibodeau a lethal paint scorer and high-level facilitator. Julius Randle’s resurgent campaign is also playing a key part too as New York currently sits at 22-19. RJ Barrett is still nursing a finger injury and if the Knicks wanted, Gary Trent Jr.is capable of coming in and starting at SG alongside Brunson. Also, the team is reportedly considering Immanuel Quickley and Derrick Rose as possible trade pieces at the deadline. Quickley is a player the Raptors may look to get in a Trent blockbuster. NY is shooting a mere 33.9% from downtown, too. Trent Jr makes them immediately better from beyond the arc, whether he plays in the first or second unit. The Knicks must consider this.