In a stunner of a move early Wednesday evening, the Detroit
Pistons traded veteran forward Jerami Grant to the Portland Trail
Blazers for a much lighter return than anyone had imagined.
The Pistons received the right to swap with Portland in the
second round (No. 36 pick), a 2025 first-round pick (protected 1-4)
via Milwaukee, an additional 2025 second-rounder that Detroit had
once owed Portland and another 2026 second-rounder (whichever is
more favorable between the Blazers and New Orleans Pelicans).
For months, the reported value around Grant had been at least a
pick in this year’s draft, maybe even Portland’s own lottery
selection at No. 7 overall. Somehow, Portland was able to bring
back a 20-plus point scorer and versatile defender without
releasing any valuable draft capital of their own. Now, the Blazers
are well positioned to take a swing in the draft to form a nice
core alongside Damian Lillard, Anfernee Simons and Grant. (Or, as
Chris Haynes has reported, they could be ready to move that seventh selection for
Toronto Raptors swingman OG Anunoby.)
During Grant’s two-year tenure with the Pistons, he averaged
20.9 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.1 blocks on a 55.6%
True Shooting percentage.
The key reason why Grant went to Detroit in the first place over
contenders such as the Denver Nuggets was due to his offensive
role. Grant may be better suited as a more complementary piece, as
he’s previously shown with the Nuggets and Oklahoma City Thunder,
but he did prove that he was more than previously advertised.
With Portland, Grant gets the best of both worlds being the No.
2 option behind Lillard while also bringing much-needed defensive
integrity. In addition, Grant is now eligible to sign a four-year,
$112 million extension with the Blazers if both sides choose to go
down that path.
For the Blazers, this is a huge win in the short-term that could
easily turn into long-term benefits as well. If Grant proves his
worth as a strong fit next to Lillard and Simons, there’s no reason
why he wouldn't be in Portland for multiple seasons to come.
Portland still has a lot of work to do with its overall roster
construction, but let’s take a quick glance at the team's undecided
rotation following the huge acquisition of Grant.
Starters: Damian Lillard, Anfernee Simons (restricted free
agent), Josh Hart (OG Anunoby?), Jerami Grant, Jusuf Nurkic?
(Portland is reportedly interested in re-signing him)
Second Unit: No. 7 pick?/Josh Hart Keon Johnson, Nassir
Little, Justise Winslow, Trendon Watford, No. 46 overall
All in all, that’s not bad at this stage of the early offseason
period for Portland. And if all goes well in the draft, the Blazers
have the chance to quickly bounce back to relevancy within the
loaded Western Conference playoff race.
Looking at this deal from the Pistons’ perspective, it’s a
little head-scratching at first before you realize it’s all about
offseason optionality. Detroit brought back no additional salaries
this year in return for Grant while opening up over $20 million in
cap space. The Pistons currently have $43 million with the ability
to get upwards of $60 million to spend in free agency.
Detroit continues to be thrown around in discussions as a prime
team preparing to pursue Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton as a
restricted free agent. Now, the Pistons can outright sign Ayton to
a full four-year max-level offer sheet, putting pressure on the
Suns to match. Charlotte Hornets wing Miles Bridges is also another
reported target for the Pistons, and his fit back home in Michigan
makes even more sense with Grant gone.
The Pistons are in a very advantageous spot moving forward. With
the flexibility to be a contender for any top free agent on top of
owning the No. 5 overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft — Purdue's
Jaden Ivey, Iowa's Keegan Murray and Arizona's Bennedict Mathurin
are reportedly considered their top choices; Matt Babcock has them
taking Mathurin in BasketballNews' latest mock draft — the Pistons could create some
fireworks over the next few weeks.
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