Lakers Land $18 Million Raptors Sharpshooter in Proposed Trade

Fred VanVleet and Gary Trent Jr.

Getty Fred VanVleet talks with Gary Trent Jr.

The Los Angeles Lakers are exploring all their options to improve this offseason and Toronto Raptors wing Gary Trent Jr. has been floated as a potential target.

Trent averaged 17.4 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game last season and is a career 38.4 percent 3-point shooter. He’d be a welcomed addition to the cast in Los Angeles and would be a solid addition alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

Trent was pitched as a draft-night trade target by Alex Regla of Silver Screen and Roll, with the Lakers giving up Malik Beasley, Shaq Harrison and the No. 17 overall pick for his services.

“With good size at his position, the combo guard/wing has shown he can be feisty on the defense when engaged. On offense, his off-ball scoring ability would be a nice complement to whomever he shares the floor or backcourt with this season,” Regla wrote. “The team has also already been linked to Trent multiple times in the past, and it’s always worth noting that he is represented by Klutch.”

Gary Trent Jr. Has Key Contract Decision to Make

It was also noted that a potential move comes with some hurdles. The optimal route for the Lakers would be Trent opting into his player option, which would allow the trade to go down. A sign-and-trade could work too but it would hard cap the Lakers. Trent has until June 20 to decide whether to opt-in or not.

For what it’s worth, Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report reported that the Raptors are not expected to retain Trent and working on a trade could be best for all sides involved.

“Competing executives around the league don’t expect the Raptors to retain Gary Trent Jr., who may opt out of his $18.8 million contract,” Pincus wrote. “But he’ll need to do his homework to ensure that money is available in free agency (which may not be a lock in this market). Instead, he may opt in and eventually be traded by the Raptors.”

Other potential options pitched included Pacers guard Buddy Hield and Royce O’Neale.

Lakers Eyeing Chris Paul, Discussing Blockbuster Deals

Another player the Lakers have some interest in landing is veteran point guard Chris Paul, who is sorting out his situation with the Phoenix Suns.

“Signing Paul to a veteran’s minimum contract would allow the Lakers to use one of their exceptions on another player to bolster their depth,” Jovan Buha of The Athletic reported on June 16. “Another option the Lakers have discussed is signing Paul and retaining D’Angelo Russell to truly solidify their point guard position, according to those sources.”

The Lakers have also had some discussions about the possibility of trading for Portland Trail Blazers superstar Damian Lillard or Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young. It still appears highly unlikely that it could turn into anything serious.

“Young and Lillard have been discussed internally but appear nothing more than a pipe dream given the current asking prices for stars on the trade market,” Buha said.

With the new CBA in place, the Lakers would likely prefer to add a key rotation player — like Trent — and retain the majority of their role players that helped them make it to the Western Conference Finals last season.

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