Gary Trent Jr. showed he has plenty of upside after being given a heavier offensive load and demonstrated a defensive punch on the perimeter Toronto was lacking. But considering the Raptors' vision and depth of emerging talent, the 23-year-old could end up being trade bait. Listen to the full episode on the 'Raptors Over Everything' podcast feed or watch on our YouTube.
AMIT MANN: I think with him, because of their lack of roster flexibility, and because of the nature of their team-- like OG needs shots. Fred needs shots. Scottie, obviously, needs more touches next season. Pascal, he is your true number one option, at this moment. And he kind of showed that he, towards the end, that he showed that he deserves that. He deserves to get those opportunities because he's a great passer now. And he's going to be able to use double teams to create offense for his teammates.
But then you got Gary. And I'm like, what do you do with Gary now? You know? I don't know.
OREN WEISFELD: Yeah, Gary, definitely, is the odd man out in a lot of ways. And it's not necessarily an age thing because I don't mind having variety with age. But I think it's moreso like a fit thing where he doesn't, necessarily, fit the vision. And he's just not as good as those players to where-- but he's still young.
So it's definitely a situation where I think when the Raptors are ready to make that move, where they're saying, OK, we're going all in for Fred and Pascal's prime. Gary is going to be the trade piece that they dangle, I would assume. They believe in OG a lot more, it seems like, just based on everything that's been said and all the playing time.
AMIT MANN: Sure.
OREN WEISFELD: And I think there's going to be a lot of interest in a guy like Gary if you shop him around. But I'm not sure that happens this offseason. Right? Like I could totally see it happening at the trade deadline. I could see them re-upping him in the offseason and then it happening on that next contract.
Because I'm not sure the group around him, when you look at Precious, when you look at Scottie, I'm not sure those guys are ready to compete for a title right now. And trading Gary for a more established piece, a better fit, maybe would be saying that, OK, the rest of this group is ready to compete.
AMIT MANN: Yeah.
OREN WEISFELD: Just like they traded DeMar. I'm not sure that we have the same-- we're just so young. So I'm not sure if it's a this offseason thing. But I think, eventually, yeah, you're right. Gary, I would not be surprised if Gary is out here in the next few years.
AMIT MANN: And they're depending so much on development to figure out what their next steps are. Because you look at it this past season, and Gary Trent Jr., he provided something that they did not have when it comes to just his ability to get buckets, and to bail them out at the end of shot clocks, and to be able to create offense out of nothing.
And OG has some ability to do that. Fred is a little bit limited because of his stature. And Pascal is, obviously, is an A-1 guy. And Scottie Barnes needs more touches, essentially, to be able to show that. I mean, think of the game against the Brooklyn Nets where he was like, he hit one shot. And all of a sudden, it was just like a barrage just came in. And he was hitting step backs and fade aways. You're just like, what the hell is this?
But imagine you're getting that on a more stable basis. It seems like it's there, just like Kendrick Perkins said the other day, I don't if you saw it. But he was asked, or there was a HoopsHype question or something like that. He's like, who's a person that's going to be-- you got to watch out for next season, and he said Scottie Barnes because there is so much to like about Scottie.
And yeah, the Gary Trent thing, if the Raptors are able to figure out the 3-point shooting or everyone kind of gets better from the 3-point line during the offseason, and I'm talking about even Fred to some degree, but OG, Pascal, and Precious, now, the need from Gary is kind of negated.
And then you get into, OK, you bring him off the bench. But then, great, you have a bench piece that's going to be able to score pretty quickly. He's going to be able to run some offense. He got better in the pick-and-roll this year. He's got some passing ability. Although, he doesn't like to show it very much. So you have this piece coming off the bench. That is something that they really needed.
But that's a very expensive piece to be coming off the bench. And when you have players like maybe-- who knows, Jalen Harris, right? Someone like him. Or you maybe you find someone cheaper during free agency that's going to be able to do something very similar. Yeah, there's a lot of different kind of players that do the thing that Gary Trent does. So I feel like he could be on his way out, unfortunately, because I really do like him. I like his mentality. He's a fit in that way.
OREN WEISFELD: Yeah. And before Gary Trent Jr.'s fans come at me, I think there's a path where that's not the case because he surprises me a lot this year, defensively, and with some of his shot-making. And I think if he continues to develop at this pace, then that's a different conversation. And the Raptors probably don't want to let go of a guy like that.