Gary Trent Jr. is Coming Back to Toronto

Surprise, surprise! Gary Trent Jr. to opt-in to his $18.5 million contract for the 2023/24 season.

Well, well, well.

Shows you all what we know. Gary Trent Jr., considered gone by most, will remain a Toronto Raptor…for now.

According to Chris Haynes of TNT and Bleacher Report, Gary Trent Jr. is opting IN to his $18.5 million player option for next season.

Haynes also stated that both Gary and the Raptors are looking to ink a longer term deal. Stay Tuned.

To me, this is somewhat surprising.

The Free Agency class this summer is, generally, weak. Particularly, at guard. Only Kyrie, Freddy, and James Harden can be considered better additions than Gary. It seemed a prime opportunity for Gary to get the bag.

After a solid year in Toronto – 17 points | 1.6 steals | 37% three-point shooting | 15 PER (career high) – the 24 year-old’s trajectory was trending upward. His youth, theoretical potential, and certain shooting seemed to make 4 years/$90 million a worthwhile bargain to find out if he’s got more room to grow. Perhaps, Gary thought he was worth more; maybe, teams thought much less.

It’s always interesting to see how Playoff trends affect Free Agency and the Draft. We saw multiple examples of Gary’s archetype – solid shooter, decent shot creator, mediocre-at-best defender – fail in the playoffs (Miami had no need for Tyler Herro; Jordan Poole stunk; D’Angelo Russell was unplayable, etc.). So, it may be that the market never existed for Gary or it cooled as the post-season paced onward.

That’s the cynic in me. The optimist – squeaky wheel that it is – is this is either a #betonyourself moment for Gary or he and Toronto adore each other and are committed to working something out in the long-term.

Regardless, the implications for Toronto will surprise most. Gary was thought to be the least likely to remain a Raptor among the three “Free Agents”: Freddy, Gary, and Jakob Poetl. With Gary opting in, Toronto will have to fudge the numbers some to also keep Freddy and Poetl and avoid the Luxury Tax. Dumping Otto Porter Jr.; trading Chris Boucher; waiving Thaddeus Young are all potential options. Orrrr…the opting in also makes Gary immediately trade eligible…👀.

One small domino to fall…let the NBA offseason anticipation continue!