Lakers Trade Rumors: Raptors' Gary Trent Jr. of Interest to LA Ahead of Deadline

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 12, 2022

TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 7: Gary Trent Jr. #33 of the Toronto Raptors looks on against the Utah Jazz during the second half of their basketball game at the Scotiabank Arena on January 7, 2022 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images)
Mark Blinch/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers have shown interest in Toronto Raptors wing Gary Trent Jr. ahead of the NBA's Feb. 10 trade deadline, according to HoopsHype's Michael Scotto.

Trent is averaging 16.4 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.9 steals through 33 games this season. The 22-year-old is also shooting 42.1 percent from the floor and 36.8 percent from three-point territory.

At 21-20, the Lakers are seventh in the Western Conference. Even if they manage to qualify for the playoffs and avoid the play-in tournament, their need to improve the roster and add some depth is clear.

The Raptors are still on pace to make the play-in tournament (20-18, eighth in the East), but they might be motivated to sell.

They're stuck in a difficult middle ground between rebuilding and contending for a championship. Given his age, Trent fits into whatever long-term plans Toronto might have. Trading him could also further those plans if he yields multiple valuable assets.

As with any hypothetical trade in front of Los Angeles, working out a deal won't be easy.

Trent is in the first year of his three-year, $51.8 million contract and counts for $16 million against the salary cap this season.

In order to match the money, the Lakers would almost certainly have to send Talen Horton-Tucker ($9.5 million) and Kendrick Nunn ($5 million) to Toronto.

The Athletic's Jovan Buha and Bill Oram reported last March that negotiations over a Kyle Lowry trade between the Lakers and Raptors broke down because L.A. wouldn't part ways with Horton-Tucker.

While Toronto may have been interested in Horton-Tucker at the time, the 21-year-old has seen his value dip this season. He's shooting 24.4 percent from beyond the arc, and the Lakers have a minus-2.4 net rating with him on the court, per NBA.com.

Nunn, meanwhile, hasn't made his Lakers debut yet because of a bone bruise in his knee.

A Horton-Tucker/Nunn package—even with a little more added in—may not be all that attractive for Toronto. The former isn't a major upgrade over Trent, and the latter is eligible for free agency this summer so he could be gone in the offseason.