Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports
The Portland Trail Blazers offered Gary Trent Jr. a contract extension earlier this season which he had declined. The Blazers then traded him and Rodney Hood for Norman Powell.
Now, that Trent has established himself and settled in with the Toronto (Florida) Raptors, he has everything he wants. In the past couple weeks, he has become one of the brightest young stars in the league. With the Raptors, he has the full-time starting nod, and is taking full advantage of it averaging 14.6 points a night.
When Trent, had burst onto the scene for Portland in the bubble last season, he had instantly become a fan favorite in Portland. “Bang Bang.” The Blazers had hoped that the success would continue and it did, Trent looked like a sixth man of the year candidate for Rip City off the bench. They say “Like Father, like son.” I’m sure you’ve already read somewhere about the similarities in careers between Gary Trent Sr. and Jr., but if you hadn’t both were traded to the Raptors 41 games into their 3rd NBA seasons. With Jr. being traded 23 years later. He is wearing the number 33, the same number that his father wore.
“”Man, this opportunity is second to none. It’s a blessing. The last few years, my situation, you know I’m playing with amazing players, future Hall of Fame players in Carmelo Anthony, Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, so my time and what I could do and what I could showcase was very limited, due to just the circumstances.”
Trent was stuck in the lineup behind CJ McCollum and often found himself losing shots to Carmelo Anthony when the second unit was on the floor. Like he said, he was a victim of circumstance but it wasn’t going to stop him from striving for greatness.
“I sat back, and I worked, I stayed in my role, I played hard and I’m fortunate and blessed to have an opportunity, like you said, I can spread my wings a little bit. I can showcase that I can dribble of the ball and score off the raw, and showcase, I can pass, and find guys. So, just being able to play, it’s completely different. It’s a 360. I’m in a completely different mind space, and having the ability to just play, you know, man it’s a great feeling, I can’t even explain it.””
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With the Raptors, Trent has a future. He has the starting role that he wanted, he feels like the team wants him to be a part of the the team. With the Raptors, he has broken his career high, not once but twice.
As unfortunate as it is, that Toronto loved Powell and Portland loved Trent, the trade has worked out for both teams. The Blazers have a piece that has been able to help them on defense, and that is able to help them win now. Whereas, the Raptors have found a future star player that they can add to their developing young core.
Keep being you Gary, the city of Portland is proud of you.
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