The Lakers search throughout the league for potential trade candidates, a number of expected names have come up including Jerami Grant and Myles Turner. However, another name that might be less expected has also recently come up in the form of Toronto Raptors guard Gary Trent Jr.
Despite having a plethora of guards, the Lakers’ search for consistent shooting has led them to one of the better young shooters in the league in Trent. After a rough start to his career his rookie season, Trent has blossomed into a knockdown shooter, first with the Blazers and now with the Raptors.
According to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, that level of production has drawn some level of interest from the Lakers this season.
The Los Angeles Lakers have been doing their due diligence around the league, and expressed interest in Raptors guard Gary Trent Jr., according to league sources. One of several players they’ve checked in on. However, I don’t see a deal happening between those teams at this time since it would likely have to involve Talen Horton-Tucker and Kendrick Nunn from a salaries perspective.
From a financial perspective, as Scotto notes, the deal would be tricky to pull off. Trent Jr. is due $16 million this season, meaning the only way the Lakers can get in the conversation for a trade is to include both Talen Horton-Tucker and Kendrick Nunn. From there, the Lakers would have to assess whether sending out two pieces of their rotation for Trent would make sense.
Statistically, though, Trent Jr. is the type of player that could have success alongside LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook. After that rookie season in which he shot just 23.8% from beyond the arc, Trent Jr. is shooting 39% from the 3-point line on five attempts per game. In Toronto this season, Trent Jr. ranks in the 87th percentile on unguarded catch and shoot opportunities, per Synergy.
Trent is also under contract moving forward as he’s set to make $17.2 million next season and has a player option for 2023-24 in which he would make $18.5 million. Even if he accepts his player option, he would be just 25 when he entered free agency again. In that sense, the Lakers wouldn’t be getting older by trading away Horton-Tucker.
However, what they may lose is the potential of Horton-Tucker for the immediate impact of Trent Jr. While he’s had a rough season, Horton-Tucker still possesses the load of potential that led to the team being so high on him. Trent Jr., though, would be able to step in and be productive right away in a way that Horton-Tucker can not be for this current version of the Lakers.
Ultimately, though, it’s unlikely the team targets Trent Jr. with a package of Nunn and Horton-Tucker, instead more likely to go after a Turner, Grant or perhaps someone else that might be able to have even more impact on the Lakers title chances. But it’s still an intriguing name to keep in mind for the Lakers as they continue to scour the market.