Writer suggests Lakers go after Raptors free agent 3-and-D wing

The Los Angeles Lakers appear ready and prepared to head into free agency and trade season looking to secure an upgrade in the backcourt who can score, facilitate and perhaps also create pace. Doing so would help reduce LeBron James’ workload moving forward and allow him to continue to age gracefully.

But the Lakers also have at least one other need if they are to become championship contenders again. One of them is a legitimate 3-and-D wing.

The Toronto Raptors appear to be in full rebuild mode, and Gary Trent Jr. is about to become a free agent, which means there is always the chance they let him go.

If they do, Maxwell Ogden of Lake Show Life feels Trent would be a nice target for Los Angeles.

Via Lake Show Life:

“When a team is limited in its resources, one of the most essential aspects of a general manager’s job is the ability to think outside the box,” Ogden wrote. “For Los Angeles Lakers front office leader Rob Pelinka, that will mean finding players who could be better in the purple and gold than they were at previous stops.

“One of the players who Pelinka should be evaluating in that respect is Toronto Raptors swingman and pending unrestricted free agent Gary Trent Jr.”

For most of his six-year NBA career, Trent has maintained a reputation as a reliable 3-point shooter. He has a career mark of 38.6% from that distance, and this season, he was at 39.3%, which was his highest accuracy since the 2019-20 campaign.

Trent saw his scoring average decrease by nearly four points a game this year. However, Ogden explained why his numbers dipped a bit.

“Trent’s 2023-24 campaign was, unfortunately, impacted by a number of nagging injuries. Despite this, he was on the court for 71 of a possible 82 games this season, with the majority of the time he missed coming near the end of a lost Raptors season.

“Furthermore, Trent’s role was inevitably impacted when the Raptors traded OG Anunoby and Pascal Siakam in exchange for three different players who occupy a similar position to Trent’s: RJ Barrett, Bruce Brown, and Immanuel Quickly.

“Learning how to play with three new players on the fly, let alone when they have a similar role to your own, is a tough task for anyone in the NBA—let alone a relatively young player.

“… It’s also worth noting that Trent took the influx of perimeter players in stride last season. Despite the decrease in his shot attempts, he increased his defensive intensity and shot the lights out at a mark of 43.1 percent on catch and shoot three-point field goals.

“In other words: Trent is a 3-and-D wing with an unselfish mentality, thus making him the perfect complement to Anthony Davis and LeBron James.”

While Trent is a relatively modest 6-foot-5, he does have a decent 6-foot-9 wingspan. Plugging him into a Lakers team with Davis manning the middle and other capable perimeter defenders, such as Jarred Vanderbilt and Gabe Vincent, could unlock his full defensive ability.

While Los Angeles finished the regular season eighth in 3-point accuracy, it was only 28th in 3-point attempts. It needs role players and complementary players who are not only accurate from downtown but are also volume 3-point shooters.

Trent seems to fit that profile. He attempted 6.4 treys a game this season, which would’ve ranked second on the Lakers. Over the last four seasons, he has logged 7.1 such attempts a game while hitting 38.3% of them.

The Lakers have shown interest in Trent not too long ago. Could they find a way to snag him this summer?

Story originally appeared on LeBron Wire