Detroit Pistons’ GM Troy Weaver has no shortage of decisions to make this offseason. With Blake Griffin‘s contract finally off the books, Detroit has some of the most cap space in the league. The Pistons could spend that money in free agency, or hold off till next year.
In the draft, Weaver has to find the best prospect who also fits alongside Cade Cunningham and Saddiq Bey. This decision became harder after the Pistons fell to the fifth pick in the draft lottery.
One of Weaver’s most important decisions this offseason is determining the future of Jerami Grant.
Grant was Weaver’s first major free-agent signing. The 28-year-old enjoyed a breakout year in his first season with the Pistons in 2020-21. Injuries and a drop in production led to a disappointing 2021-22 season for him. In 47 games, Grant averaged 19.2 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game, all worse than the previous season.
The emergence of Cunningham and Bey has made Grant expendable. His role in Detroit’s offense was reduced as the young prospects’ roles increased. The Pistons’ front office could cash out on Grant while his trade value is still high. On the other hand, Grant still provides value to this roster, even in a lesser role. The Pistons have options regarding Grant’s future, and there is value in both decisions.
Extending Jerami Grant
Jerami Grant is entering the final year of his contract and is eligible for an extension this offseason. The 28-year-old is sure to ask for a four-year $112 million max extension. However, it is unlikely Weaver and the front office makes an offer that lucrative.
The Pistons are not desperate to retain Grant. The team is still in the midst of its restoration, and overpaying for the veteran forward is not a contract they want to be tied to.
If Weaver and the front office do decide to retain Grant through next season, it is a near certainty that some extension will get done. Having Grant enter unrestricted free agency next offseason would risk losing him for nothing in return.
A contract similar to the $20 million per year he is currently on is unlikely to get the job done. The front office could offer more money but on a descending contract. This way Grant still gets paid, but the Pistons would have more cap space in the future. It is just an idea.
If Grant is retained, he is going to have to take on a different role in the coming years. Cunningham, Bey and possibly whoever the team drafts with the fifth pick will likely be the top three scorers once the Pistons are ready to turn a corner. Grant will have to settle for a role as a fourth option, a third option at best, moving forward. If the veteran can accept that role along with the right contract, he could be a key contributor to the Pistons’ future.
In the trade market, there will be suitors for Grant’s services. At this past season’s trade deadline, it appeared almost certain that the veteran forward was going to be moved, but no deal materialized. This summer, those same teams are likely to make another push to acquire Grant.
The Portland Trail Blazers have been reported to have a heavy interest in the 28-year-old. Portland’s championship window with Damian Lillard will not stay open much longer. The superstar point guard will be 32 years old next season. Acquiring talent to compete now is the top priority for the Trail Blazers.
Any trade between Portland and Detroit will revolve around the Trail Blazers’ first-round pick. Portland holds the seventh pick in the NBA Draft. To make the money match, the Pistons would likely have to take on Eric Bledsoe‘s expiring contract for next season as well. What the final trade package consists of depends entirely on how desperate Portland is to acquire Grant.
I discussed Portland’s interest in Grant during my conversation with James Edwards III, the Pistons beat writer for The Athletic. Edwards III said if Portland’s interest is serious, he thinks a deal gets done.
“How far are they willing to go is the question. If they are willing to give up their lottery pick this year, I think it gets done. If not, I think Jerami stays,” Edwards III said.
Assuming a deal is made, the Pistons would have the fifth and seventh picks in this year’s draft. Depending on how the board falls, the Pistons could wind up with a draft haul potentially pairing Keegan Murray and Bennedict Mathurin or Jaden Ivey and AJ Griffin.
There are other suitors
Other teams will also make offers for the veteran forward. The Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks and Washington Wizards are just a few of the teams who could convince themselves they are a player of Grant’s caliber away from taking their team to another level. All three have trade capital in draft picks and young prospects that could be used in a potential Grant trade.
When asked about whether the Pistons would trade Jerami Grant this offseason, Weaver said it was “not a tough decision” to make. Only time will tell what Weaver actually meant in that statement.
(Featured Image Credit:
Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports)
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