The Detroit Pistons season is coming to a close. As they head into the offseason, one question looms larger than any other: the future of Jerami Grant. At the NBA trade deadline, it was a near certainty that the 28-year-old forward was going to be on the move. But when the deadline passed, Grant was still a Piston.
GM Troy Weaver put off making a decision on Grant’s future until the offseason. Grant had suitors, but none were willing to reach Weaver’s asking price.
The Pistons are playing some of the best basketball they have seen in years. The trio of Cade Cunningham, Saddiq Bey and Grant has started to click. Since the All-Star break, Grant is scoring 20.9 points per game. He has been efficient shooting 44.6 percent from the floor and 39 percent from beyond the arc during that span. He even has a 40 point game under his belt this season after Saturday’s loss to the Cavaliers.
Grant is eligible for a four-year $112 million extension this offseason. The 28-year-old is likely to be offered that extension if Weaver decides to retain his services. However, Detroit could easily move on from Grant. The 2022 NBA Draft is headlined by big man talent like Duke’s Paolo Banchero and Auburn’s Jabari Smith. If Detroit ends up with a top-three pick after the lottery, Grant becomes much more expendable.
Trail Blazers set to pursue Grant
A report by The Athletic‘s Shams Charania has linked the Portland Trailblazers as heavy suitors for Grant this upcoming offseason.
“Armed with the Pelicans’ 2022 first-round draft selection, the Trail Blazers will explore offering the pick should it fall between Nos. 5 and 14 in the June draft.”
After moving on from CJ McCollum this season, Portland needs to find another star to play with Damian Lillard. Grant has shown he can play near an All-Star level and be a volume scorer. He is not the ideal number two option on a team, but it is something.
Portland has a $20 million trade exception from the McCollum trade which matches Grant’s salary. A 2022 lottery pick would be the baseline for a Grant trade. It is unlikely Anfernee Simons would be included in any package for Grant. Portland could look to trade a player like Jusuf Nurkic or Josh Hart along with a collection of second-rounders to garner another first-rounder to send to Detroit.
An extra 2022 lottery pick would allow Detroit to fill two holes early in the draft. With a potential top-three pick, the team can land a top-end big man in Banchero, Smith or Chet Holmgren. With the pick from Portland, the Pistons could take a player like Bennedict Mathurin to pair with Cunningham in the backcourt. Both draft picks could immediately end up Detroit’s starting lineup as they try to turn the corner in 2022-23.
Detroit will have other suitors
Portland is not the only team that will be calling about Grant this offseason. The 28-year-old garnered a lot of interest at the NBA trade deadline and will do so again this summer. A team like the Chicago Bulls, who were not willing to reach Weaver’s asking price, could be convinced Grant is the missing piece for completing a championship-level roster. A premature exit in the postseason could open up Patrick Williams‘ availability via trade in the offseason as Chicago pursues another star, like Grant.
The New York Knicks and Washington Wizards have the draft capital and young prospects available to put together a bountiful trade package for Grant. The Lakers do not have much, but they are likely to make a play at the 28-year-old as well.
At the deadline, Weaver’s asking price for Grant was two first-rounders or a first and a young prospect. Portland has the latter. But with Simons unlikely to be available, they will have to make some moves to position themselves to offer the former. Portland ultimately may fall short of acquiring Grant this offseason. Other teams with interest have more to offer, but they are affirming Weaver’s asking price.
Detroit may elect to keep Grant and extend him, but if they decide to move on, they are sure to get high-value compensation in return.
(Featured Image Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports)