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NBA Free Agency: Raptors, Star Guard Headed for Split?


One of the most intriguing free agents still left on the open market appears to be heading for a divorce from his most recent team this summer.

Sharpshooting reserve swingman Gary Trent Jr. appears poised to seek greener pastures after failing to reach a happy medium contract rate with the Toronto Raptors, according to Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca.

A source informs Lewenberg that, when talks began after the NBA Finals concluded last month, Toronto was hoping to pay Trent something in the terrain of $15 million annually. Trent’s team was hoping he could actually increase his most recent deal, which compensated him to the tune of $18.5 million in 2023-24. Lewenberg reports that Trent had been seeking a deal that would pay him in the neighborhood of $25 million per year.

Gary Trent Jr. #33, RJ Barrett #9 and Immanuel Quickley #5 of the Toronto Raptors celebrate against the Washington Wizards during the first half of their basketball game at the Scotiabank Arena on April 7,…


Mark Blinch/Getty Images

The son of nine-year big man Gary Trent was initially selected with the No. 37 overall pick in the second round of the 2018 NBA Draft.

The 6-foot-5 shooting guard/small forward spent his first two full pro seasons with the Portland Trail Blazers. Halfway through the 2020-21 NBA season, where he had been making a Most Improved Player case for himself, the younger Trent was flipped to the Raptors.

The next season, his first full year with the Raptors, Trent averaged 18.3 points while slashing .414/.383/.853, 2.7 rebounds, 2.0 assists, and 1.7 steals a night, while starting in 69 of his 70 available games for the team. Toronto posted a 48-34 record and earned the Eastern Conference’s No. 5 seed, returning to the playoffs after a one-year gap.

That’s where the Raptors’ luck ran out.

Toronto has since fallen into two straight seasons of draft lottery-bound futility. Last year, splitting his time between the starting five and Toronto’s bench (he started 41 of 71 contests), Trent averaged 13.7 points on .426/.393/.771 shooting splits, 2.6 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 1.1 swipes per game. His contributions were pretty much wasted on a 25-57 Raptors club.

Though Trent is still fairly young, it appears team president Masai Ujiri is prioritizing a full youth movement, as he fully hands the keys of his offense to young All-Star forward Scottie Barnes. During 2023-24, Ujiri also offloaded a pair of critical 2019 NBA title contributors in power forward Pascal Siakam (who promptly helped the Indiana Pacers reach the Eastern Conference finals) and small forward OG Anunoby (a key part of the New York Knicks’ run to the East semifinals).

There should still be a market for Trent’s services, but if he wants to earn that hefty sticker tag this offseason, he and his representatives may need to explore sign-and-trade options, as most NBA teams are close to capped-out at this point of the summer.