Gary Trent Jr. is officially a member of the Toronto Raptors.
The third-year guard was part of a trade on Thursday that sent he and veteran Rodney Hood to Toronto in exchange for Norman Powell, who was shipped back to Portland.
It came as a surprise to Trent Jr. who was in his hotel room, taking a pre-game nap, when he got a call from his agent Rich Paul saying he had been traded.
“You can say it was sad,” Trent Jr. said on Friday before making his Raptors debut. “After you went to war and you fought with guys, you’ve been unsuccessful, you’ve been successful, you had ups, you had downs, you had good moments, you had bad moments, you just look back on it all and appreciate it...
Trent Jr. has called Portland his NBA home since the Trail Blazers drafted him in the second round of the 2018 NBA Draft. He became the breakout star of the NBA Bubble last August and emerged as a shooting threat and defensive x-factor next to his mentors Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum.
His relationships with the backcourt duo, along with veteran forward Carmelo Anthony, make parting ways with Portland especially difficult. The 22-year-old looks to bring many of the lessons he’s learned from the Trail Blazers’ stars with him to Toronto (or Tampa for now).
“Just everything I’ve seen from Dame whether it was the work ethic or being one of the first ones to the gym, seeing how they carried themselves, seeing how they held themselves in conversations, how they talked to the media, everything,” Trent Jr. said.
After a wild 24 hours, Trent Jr. made his debut in the Raptors 104-100 loss to the Phoenix Suns. As a starter, Trent Jr. played 31 minutes and scored eight points. As Raptors coach Nick Nurse noted pre-game, he’s still “coming into his own.”
But Trent Jr. won't have to feel sad for long as he'll soon see some familiar faces on the other side of the court. The Trail Blazers are headed to Tampa on Sunday, where they’ll take on both Trent Jr. and Hood. Coverage begins at 4:00 p.m. PT on NBC Sports Northwest.