Portland Trail Blazers guard Gary Trent Jr. broke out in the NBA Bubble. With just one year left on his rookie deal, how will his next contract look?
Portland Trail Blazers guard Gary Trent Jr. had the best stretch of his young career in the NBA Bubble. Some massive defense followed an incredible run of three-point shooting in both the regular season and playoffs. This put his name on the radar nationally too.
Trent’s play in the seeding games was a significant factor in the Blazers making the postseason in the first place. At just 21-years-old, he filled the gap perfectly with Trevor Ariza unavailable.
Averaging 16.9 points a game on 50 percent shooting from three, Trent showed that he could be a longterm starter on this Blazer team.
As a second-round pick in 2018, he only has a minimum deal that expires after the 2020/21 season.
As he will likely be the team’s premier sixth man next year, and as the only real ‘ three and d ‘ player on the roster outside of Trevor Ariza, Trent is likely to command a nice payday after the 2020/21 season.
Outside of CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard, Trent is the only perimeter player who is clearly a long term piece for this Blazers team. He started the 2019/20 season behind Anfernee Simons. But even though Simons was drafted in the first round the same year Trent was picked in the second, it only took a year for Trent to pass him in the rotation.
Because of his superior size and strength to Dame and CJ, Trent is actually a perfect foil to those two. He is mainly an off-ball player, and he can guard the team’s best wing. He even took on the assignment of LeBron James in the playoffs, performing credibly considering the four inches and 50 pounds he gave away.
If Trent is around 15 points a game shooting 40 percent from three and playing tough defense, then he is likely to command between $10 and $14 million a year. That is around the going rate for that combination of skills. With his steep development curve from year one to year two, if he improved any further he could be looking at negotiating around $15 million a year.
We won’t get too far ahead of ourselves though, as his shooting is still a relatively small sample. It’s likely he is a 40 percent three-point shooter, but we will need a second season to evaluate. It would also be great to see if he can continue to attack off the dribble. Whether this is getting to the cup or pulling up off the bounce, this is a crucial component to the development of his game.
If he can attack closeouts, then this rounds his game out and makes his shooting more of a threat. I would like to see him improve his passing reads too. He could increase his value more by graduating from basic reads and moving onto making passes on the bounce or handle in the pick and roll.
Any deal around $12 million a year will be of great value for the Blazers. If he continues to improve, then anywhere up to $15 million is still of great value.