Making the Case: Do you trade Gary Trent Jr.?

To trade or not to trade? That is the question.

We've seen 3 Raptors entrenched in rumours this season: Gary Trent Jr., O.G. Anunoby, and Fred VanVleet. With the trade deadline coming up, I'll assess the pros and the cons of trading them and keeping them. We obviously can't say exactly what comes back in a trade, but I hope that everyone is okay with my forecasting/reading of the room on value. There are some factors I simply can't control for.

First up: Gary Trent Jr., and let's make the case for why he should stay first.

We'll be clear, though. Anyone who is plugged in, has been suggesting that Trent Jr. is by far the most likely to be moved. Now, there's a very big question that I have no hard intel on: Does the man want to stay in Toronto for a second contract? I have no clue.

He's, reportedly, looking to turn down his player option of 18.5M this offseason. He plans to test the open market where he can again, reportedly, expect to field offers in the realm of 25M a year and up. Both of these things pass the sniff test. He has some backcourt contemporaries -- RJ Barrett, Tyler Herro, Jordan Poole -- who signed massive extensions (all larger than 4 years and 120 Million), all of whom playmake much better, and score slightly better than Trent Jr. He is, however, a better defender than both Poole and Herro. Poll fans, poll executives, and you'll find that Trent Jr. is valued the least of these four.

He'll make a good deal less, though.

The main reason to keep Trent Jr. is if you believe in the hottest version of his jumper. Relative to his role, usage-percentage, and contract his heat checks know no equal. The combination of his ability to hit heavily contested shots, the combos he breaks off to create the jumpers, and the green light when he has it all going? They are all qualities of a star. Against tight contests, he's shooting 51.4-percent on two-point shots, and 34-percent on his threes. Both really great numbers. He shot 34-percent on his pull-up 3's last season, he's a smidge under 32-percent this season, and both of those numbers are good enough to strike fear into the hearts of opponents - hitting over 30-percent on pull-up threes will make every defense in the league care about your dribble above the break. Since the Christmas break (15 games)? He's averaging over 22 points per game, and shooting 42-percent on his pull-up 3's. He's a serious heat pump.

That's most of the sell, honestly. You have to believe that you're signing one of the best shooters in the NBA. His high points are very convincing. You don't let those guys walk.

Now, how do you avoid the disaster scenario? You made the bet on his shooting and he's not quite in that upper echelon. Could Trent Jr. become that DeMarre Carroll type deal that you eventually have to attach picks too, to move off of? I don't think so. I don't see much of a scenario where he isn't at least some sort of asset.

Trent Jr. has made real strides. We're talking about a player whose drives used to never materialize into anything inside the free throw line, who has started to take the extra dribble, shoot 53-percent in that accessible 4-14 foot range, and he's drawing way more fouls. It might not be rapid, but he finds a way to bob and weave downhill to his spots and make teams pay. They always over-pursue his movement beyond the three point line, so the lanes will always be there.

He took a smaller role to start the season. He graciously came off the bench when asked to. He exists in the role that is asked of him, whenever it's asked of him. And still, he's the Raptors second leading scorer because he's fine tuned a lot of his off-ball scoring and gravity. The counting stats haven't jumped much at all, but his offensive improvements are extremely meaningful and impressive.

He's a good player. He has his warts defensively, but he can playmake on that end. HIs position and role rarely couples good offense and defense across the league anyway. If he wants to stay, you keep him.

Okay, now let's make the case for why he should be traded.