On March 25th, 2021 the Portland Trail Blazers traded Gary Trent, Jr. to the Toronto Raptors as part of a package for veteran shooting guard Norman Powell. Since the exchange, both teams have expressed satisfaction with the deal. This week, Trent, Jr. did too.
Appearing on the Open Gym video series, Trent, Jr. talked about his first impressions of Toronto in glowing terms. His statements included the sentence, “For the first time in my career, in the last three years, I feel like I’m wanted.”
You can see the short clip right here:
“For the first time in my career, in the last three years, I feel like I’m wanted” pic.twitter.com/V3LJzWE1z7— kyle lowry supremacy (@416KLOW) April 9, 2021
And the entire Trent, Jr. show here:
The 6’5 shooting guard spent the first two and a half years of his career with the Trail Blazers, of course. Putting two and two together, it seems Trent, Jr. did not feel the same degree of welcome from the Blazers organization that he has from the Raptors.
To be fair, the 22-year-old has not been a prime candidate for interviews, and there’s a possibility that the comment came out sounding more pointed than he meant. It could be interpreted as, “For the first time in my young career, I’m getting a chance to do what I want to do on the court.” This is underlined by the fact that Trent, Jr. came off the bench behind CJ McCollum and other veteran shooting guards for his entire Portland tenure, save this season when McCollum went down to an extended injury. Trent, Jr. was returned to the bench as soon as McCollum returned. Under those circumstances, it’s not surprising to hear him express a preference for starting, and playing more than 33 minutes per game, with the Raptors.
Still, Trent, Jr. remembers that this did not happen in Portland. We’ll see how the deal, and his career, work out long term.
Trent, Jr. averaged 10.2 points on 42% shooting, 40% from the three-point arc during his Portland tenure. His high point came this season, where he averaged 15.0 points in 41 appearances with the Blazers.
In 8 games with the Raptors he’s averaging 14.6 points on 39% shooting from the field, 36% from the arc.