Grading the Jerami Grant Trade, and Looking at Portland Free Agent Options


Jerami Grant has been traded to the Portland Trail Blazers in the second impactful trade of the 2022 offseason.

Portland Receives:Detroit Receives:
Jerami Grant2022 second-round pick swap (No. 36)
2022 second-round pick swap (No. 46)2025 first-round pick (via Milwaukee)
 2025 second-round pick

Adrian Wojnarowski, who broke the news for this trade, said the Blazers will also send “the most favorable 2026 second-round pick between Portland and New Orleans” to Detroit.

Analysis:

This is an amazing move for the Blazers that shows the front office does have a plan for this summer. Grant, a versatile 6’8″ forward, can provide scoring and much needed defense, as he averaged 22.3 points per game in 2021 and 19.2 in 2022. Grant has never been an All-Star, but like CJ McCollum, he’s on the borderline of that threshold. He’s also 28, meaning he’s in his prime, and at the best point in his career to team up with a superstar. Grant only has one year left on his contract ($21 million), but Portland should be able to handle the extension later on in the 2022-23 season. I’m giving the Blazers an A for this trade.

Credit to Raj Mehta of USA Today Sports for Picture

From the Pistons side of things, it doesn’t necessarily look clear as to why they did this trade. However, here are a few things to note:

  1. Grant had one year left on his deal, and if they didn’t trade him before the 2022-23 season, he would’ve walked next year in free agency, with the Pistons getting nothing in return. Clearly, the offers for Grant would’ve been worse as they got closer and closer to the 2023 trade deadline, but I still think they waited too long.
  2. The Pistons now have $43 million in cap space, which could go to signing guys like Miles Bridges and Jalen Brunson. This was the major incentive in making this deal.
  3. The Pistons got a first-round pick from this deal, which is always useful. However, this pick is from the Milwaukee Bucks, and unless Giannis Antetokounmpo gets injured or Khris Middleton loses an arm in a motorcycle accident, then they’re not going to miss the playoffs. Even with the crazy chance that something like this did happen, the pick is top four protected. This means the best case scenario for Detroit would be to have the Greek Freak, Middleton, and Jrue Holiday lose their basketball skills like Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing, Charles Barkley, Shawn Bradley, and Muggsy Bogues did in Space Jam, and end up with the fifth pick. Not likely.
  4. Trading up ten spots in this year’s draft doesn’t matter a whole lot; unless the Pistons have their eyes on someone they know could be a huge steal, it’s unlikely they end up with the next Nikola Jokic with the 36th pick in the draft.

I can see why Detroit did this trade, but I think they could have gotten a better offer for Grant elsewhere. Detroit gets a C- for this trade.

Credit to NBA.com for Picture

One other thing to think about for this trade is what this move means for the Blazers going forward. Damian Lillard now has two solid teammates, in Grant and Anfernee Simons. However, just these two won’t get the Blazers into the play-in, or playoffs. However, Phoenix center Deandre Ayton has been linked to the Trail Blazers, and could join the team in free agency. If that was the case, Lillard would have the best big man he’s played with in his entire career and a near All-Star forward in Grant.

Let’s also not forget that Portland also has the seventh overall pick in this year’s draft. The lottery is loaded with talent, and with a decent spot in the lottery, Portland can either draft a player who has extremely high upside and can contribute immediately, or they could trade that pick for an accomplished shooting guard or forward. Either way, Portland has options, and all of them are very good. The front office that looked like it was trading away it’s best players for nothing now has a plan, and it appears to be a solid one.

Credit to Abbie Parr of Getty Images for Picture

Players I think the Blazers could use/should target with trades and free agency:

Guards:

  1. Marcus Smart-Could pair well next to Dame, provides defense which Portland needs
  2. Tyus Jones-Good backup point guard to Dame, leads NBA in highest assist-to-turnover ratio
  3. Collin Sexton-Could be a good two-guard next to Dame that scores very well as long as he’s on a not-too-large contract
  4. Gary Harris-Another SG that could fit well next to Dame, good defender

Forwards:

  1. Otto Porter, Jr-May be pricy, but is a great 3-and-D guy who comes fresh off a championship
  2. OG Anunoby-24-year old small forward who’s gotten better in every year of his career so far; has high upside and can perform at a high level now.
  3. T.J. Warren-All around good scorer, showed flashes of greatness during the bubble. Could fit well with the Blazers.
  4. Kyle Anderson-He may have the slowest release in the entire NBA, but he’s another defensive minded player that’s fresh off a somewhat deep playoff run.
  5. Joe Ingles-6’8″ forward that’s a great shooter; had a bit of a down year during the 2021-22 season so the Blazers could sign him to a one or two-year contract so he can prove he should get one more payday.
  6. Miles Bridges-Unlikely, but dream big; the forward is a near All-Star and would be one of the most athletic teammates Dame has ever played with. Side note — he just averaged 20 and 7 per game last year.

Centers:

  1. Mo Bamba-He’s young, has very high upside, and just put up career highs in almost every stat. If the Magic take Chet Holmgren with the first overall pick tonight, there’s no way they’re resigning Bamba, and Portland should definitely try to grab him.
  2. Bobby Portis-An older veteran who’s been around the league, seen it all, and was a part of the Bucks’ championship run; he can help mentor some of the younger guys Portland hopefully brings in, and play a solid 25-30 minutes per game.
  3. Andre Drummond-Free agent who’s terrible on offense, but can grab defensive rebounds. Coming off a $2 million per year contract, and the Blazers wouldn’t have to pay him a ton, which is good considering their salary cap situation.
  4. Bol Bol-I don’t know if this even makes sense for the Blazers, but it’s a fun idea. Store the 7’2″ guy away and develop him until he becomes one of the best shot blockers in the NBA, along with Robert Williams, Mark Williams (hopefully), and Rudy Gobert.

 

Don’t forget to watch the 2022 NBA Draft and follow the NBA Blog, and as always, have an awesome day!

 

 

 

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