The first big trade of the 2023-24 season happened on Saturday as it was shockingly reported that the New York Knicks were acquiring OG Anunoby, Malachi Flynn and Precious Achiuwa from the Toronto Raptors for RJ Barrett, Immanuel Quickley and a future second-round pick. The first domino has fallen and it could have a direct impact on the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Lakers have struggled since the In-Season Tournament and LeBron James has been vocal about the status of the team. At this point, it would be surprising if the Lakers didn't make some kind of trade this season to improve the rotation.
With Toronto trading one of its best players to the Knicks, a fire sale might be happening up north. If that is truly the case, then the Lakers might be able to capitalize by trading for a sharpshooter at a low cost to improve the rotation this season.
Gary Trent Jr. could be a home run trade target for the Lakers
Gary Trent Jr. is on an expiring contract with Toronto and if the team is not going to re-sign him (Toronto now has to pay RJ Barrett and likely re-sign Immanuel Quickley) then it makes sense for the Raptors to get something out of him.
Trent, who has consistently been one of the better three-point shooters in the league in recent years, struggled to start the season. Because of those struggles, and the fact that he is on an expiring deal, the Lakers might be able to get him at a good price. The trade could look as follows:
It has become abundantly clear with how he has been handled by the team that D'Angelo Russell does not have a long-term future on the Lakers. At this rate, it would be shocking if he was not traded before the deadline.
In this deal, the main prize for the Raptors would be Jalen Hood-Schifino and the two second-round picks. Russell is thrown into the deal to make the money work and he may not even last past this season as he has a player option for the 2024-25 season. Even if he opts into his deal, he would be future trade fodder for Toronto as an expiring contract next season.
Russell doesn't really have a place on this Raptors team with Quickley, Scottie Barnes and Dennis Schroder on the roster, so it would not even be surprising if he waived his player option early to work out a buyout. Regardless, the only reason he is in the deal is to make the money work.
The Lakers would likely be fine without him. The team isn't starting a point guard anyway and once Gabe Vincent eventually returns they will have a guard to play the point. Trent would come in and give the Lakers a much-needed shooting presence on the perimeter who has shown that he can be a serviceable defender.
What makes this situation even more intriguing is the fact that Trent is a Klutch Sports client. It has become abundantly clear since LeBron came to LA that Klutch has an influence on what the Lakers do. This improves Trent's chances of being a Lakers trade target.