The 2023-24 Raptors squad will likely look much different than the team that saw the court this season. Not only is the team getting a new head coach, but players like O.G. Anunoby, Fred VanVleet, and Pascal Siakiam have also all been hot names in recent trade rumors.
You can now add Gary Trent Jr. to the list, as he is reportedly not expected to return to Toronto next season.
From the trade that made him a Raptor to exciting three-point shots and everything in between, here’s a look back at Gary Trent Jr.’s time as a Toronto Raptor and what the team could do moving forward.
Toronto acquired Trent from the Portland Trailblazers at the NBA’s trade deadline in 2021. Forward Rodney Hood also became a Raptor in exchange for Norman Powell.
Trent averaged 16.2 points through 17 games to finish the season. His 2.6 made three-pointers per game were the fourth-best on the team.
The following offseason, the Raptors re-signed him to a three-year $51.84 million contract, with a player option in 2023-24. Trent Jr. would carry a cap hit of over $18 million next season and can become an unrestricted free agent in 2024.
Trent Jr. played a career-high 70 games during the 2021-22 NBA season. He also recorded career-best numbers in minutes (35.0), free throw percentage (85.3%), assists (2.0), steals (1.7), and points (18.3).
The Raptors finished the regular season with a 48-34 record, finishing fifth in the Eastern Conference. Trent averaged 15.3 points per game in the playoffs and 33.2 minutes played in six games. Toronto lost to the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round.
This season was a difficult one for Raptors fans. Whenever it seemed the team was taking a step forward, something would go sideways. Their inconsistent play led to a mediocre 41-41 record and a disappointing play-in tournament loss to the Chicago Bulls.
Despite several injuries throughout the season, Gary Trent Jr. scored third in scoring and steals. His 2.5 three-pointers per game were the Raptors’ second-best behind only Fred VanVleet.
Other than Gary Trent Jr., seven Raptors could become free agents this offseason, including Fred VanVleet and Jakob Poeltl. If Toronto can’t keep one of those three guys, it will seriously affect their chances of being contenders in 2023.
We must wait and see if the Raptors move on from Gary Trent Jr. this offseason. One question would be: who replaces him? Utah’s Jordan Clarkson and New York’s Josh Hart are only two of the names who could be available in free agency. However, both have player options in their current contracts.
Clarkson is six years older than Gary Trent Jr. He has averaged 15.9 points and 2.7 assists over his ten-year NBA career. The Raptors would have to offer a contract worth more than the $14.26 million he could make with Utah next season.
Hart was selected 30th overall in the 2017 NBA Draft. He’s made stops in Los Angeles with the Lakers, New Orleans, Portland, and New York. The 28-year-old has averaged 9.8 points, 2.4 assists, and one steal in his 372 career games.
Another possible angle for Toronto is trying to find a trade to get some assets in return for Gary Trent Jr. Some potential trade partners could be the Miami Heat, Washington Wizards, or Dallas Mavericks, all of which were previously rumored to have interest in a trade for the former second-round draft pick.
While moving on from Trent seems to generate mixed reactions among Raptors fans, there is no doubt we’ll see more change in the coming month. With a new head coach and possibly a new group of players, Toronto is turning the page to a new era of Raptors basketball.