Gary Trent Jr. is creating the very monetary crunch that the Toronto Raptors administration seemingly have been attempting to keep away from by buying and selling for him and Rodney Hood. Since he’s joined the Raptors, Trent has been good. Superb.
He’s capturing 39 p.c on the three-ball and is averaging 17.9 factors per recreation since becoming a member of Toronto. Saturday night time vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers, Trent led Toronto to a dominant win 135-115 in one of the environment friendly 40 level video games in NBA historical past.
He dropped 44 factors effortlessly and within the recreation’s pure move on 17-19 capturing, and he was 7-9 on three-pointers. His capturing proportion for the night time was 89.4. Usually, gamers who rating upwards of 40 factors are additionally quantity shooters.
His efficiency in opposition to the Cavaliers was the Raptors’ second high-efficiency capturing recreation by a Raptor this season, as Fred VanVleet shot 17-23 whereas going 11-14 on 3-pointers for 54 factors on February 2.
Each Trent and VanVleet’s greatest sharpshooting moments of this season have been additionally their career-best level tallies in a single recreation. In 9 video games as a Raptor, Trent has three plus 20 level video games now, together with a 31 level efficiency in opposition to the Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder on March thirty first.
He has additionally been a stable defender who was a + 54 in a 53 level victory over the Golden State Warriors lately and was a +31 Saturday night time.
Why the Toronto Raptors obtained Gary Trent Jr.
The administration of the Raptors has been clear about one factor this season. By their actions, Masai Ujiri and Bobby Webster seem devoted to saving wage cap house for the summer season of 2021. There are solely six gamers with assured contracts past this season, not together with the group possibility on Aron Baynes. Kyle Lowry can also be off the books this summer season as nicely.
The deal, buying Hood (non-guaranteed deal for subsequent season) and a restricted free agent this summer season in Trent for Norman Powell, appeared like an apparent approach to keep away from Powell opting out of his contract and triggering a bidding struggle for his providers that the Raptors would possible need to enter at across the $20 million vary to retain him.
Subsequently, the restricted free agent standing of Trent and his potential have been an enough substitute for Powell each on the courtroom and financially. Trent is supposed to interchange Powell, however he could also be exceeding expectations too quickly.
Why was Gary Trent even accessible?
Seeing is believing, and it’s clear Trent is proficient. The principle purpose the Portland Path Blazers could not have supplied an extension is their depth chart. With Damian Lillard as a premier perimeter participant/guard, it was laborious to search out Trent minutes.
Additional, sitting sixth within the West Powell offers Portland with one other dominant scorer who’s a former champion and battle-tested NBA Playoffs performer for a group that was a Western Convention Finalist simply two seasons in the past.
In that collection vs. the Golden State Warriors, Portland held second-half double-digit leads in a number of video games, which they subsequently blew, shedding the matchup.
Powell, of their eyes, is the lacking piece that will get them over the hump, whereas Trent, who lastly feels “needed” in Toronto, needed to be jettisoned.
The implications of Trent’s continued nice play for Toronto
It will need to have felt like a intestine punch for the Raptors’ fanbase when information got here on the commerce deadline that fan-favorite Norman Powell was dealt to Portland, particularly since Powell was having an impressive season.
With Powell’s stellar play, he wasn’t the problem this 12 months, and the returns of Hood and Trent didn’t deal with the apparent frontcourt wants the group has. Nonetheless, to safe cap house for a possible flurry of low season participant transactions to remake the roster, Powell’s opt-out clause was a sore level.
So a restricted free agent with a ceiling probably increased than Powell’s like Trent who’s wage is just $1.6 million now, may moderately be raised to barely greater than the four-year $42 million deal Powell signed again in 2017.
Trent could also be value considerably greater than that and will entice bidders this low season regardless of the restricted free agent standing. It’s not unparalleled for an opposing normal supervisor to dam a divisional or convention rival from maximizing their cap house by forcing them to blow it on one participant.
Toronto’s former normal supervisor Bryan Colangelo as soon as supplied a deal to RFA Landry Fields in a failed effort to drive the Knicks into matching and never having the ability to compete for Steve Nash. Toronto could also be compelled to pay Trent greater than they should.
In Trent’s case, he’s clearly a expertise value securing. A latest instance of the place Trent could match on the wage scale is to look at the debacle that occurred this previous November within the Bogdan Bogdanovic signing.
After Sacramento and Milwaukee butchered his signal and commerce by asserting it earlier than free company started, he signed with the Atlanta Hawks for 4 years and $72 million. He’s averaging 12.6 factors per recreation and capturing 39.2 p.c on three-pointers.
Three and D gamers are expensive and in demand in right this moment’s NBA, and the Raptors should have an undesirable bidding struggle on their arms although they will match any supply introduced to Trent.
The difficulty will are available in justifying Powell’s commerce for a veteran guard in Hood whose wage just isn’t prone to be assured subsequent season and an RFA in Trent that Raptors administration could not have the ability to hold.