Duke basketball star opts in to major payday, avoids free agency

Duke basketball guard Gary Trent Jr. (Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball guard Gary Trent Jr. (Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports) /

Duke basketball standout Gary Trent Jr. opted in for a major payday. 

Most common folks do not have to make the decision whether or not to accept $18.5 million for their job but Duke basketball standout Gary Trent Jr. has finally come to his decision regarding his future.

The former Blue Devil has opted in to his player option for the 2023-24 season and will remain with the Toronto Raptors.

Trent Jr. made the decision on Tuesday, which was his deadline to submit his choice.

The former second round pick will become an unrestricted free agent following next season.

Gary Trent Jr. began his career with the Portland Trail Blazers but was shipped out of the Pacific Northwest after two and a half years when he started to carve out a role for himself on the then contender in the Western Conference.

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However, the play of the 24-year old has only improved since he joined the Raptors.

Trent Jr. posted 16.2 points per game in just 17 games with the organization following the trade in the 2020-21 season and in his first full season with Toronto he averaged a career-high 18.3 points  per contest.

Despite the Raptors’ struggles this season, the shooting guard still managed to play in 66 games, starting 44, and averaged 17.4 points, 2.6 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 1.6 steals per game on 43.3-percent shooting yet shooting just 36.9-percent from 3-point range.

Duke basketball hoping to remain fixture in Toronto

Gary Trent Jr. signed a three-year, $52 million contract with the Raptors ahead of the 2021-22 season and has seen guards like Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet, who just opted out of his contract, leave the franchise.

Trent Jr. was just 1-for-7 with two points off the bench in Toronto’s loss in the NBA Play-In Tournament this season to the Chicago Bulls.

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“I don’t wanna be nowhere else,” Trent Jr. said following a 42-point performance against the Houston Rockets in February 2022.

Now, he gets to spend at least one more season in Canada while enjoying a very nice payday.

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