The Portland Trail Blazers gave their fans an early NBA Draft present, dealing for Detroit Pistons forward Jerami Grant. In order to secure the former Team USA representative, General Manager Joe Cronin parted with the protected 2025 Milwaukee Bucks pick received in February’s deal with the New Orleans Pelicans.
The Blazers also sent out its 36th pick — for the Pistons’ 46 pick tonight — as well as returning the Pistons’ 2025 second-round pick will the better of Portland or the New Orleans’ 2026 second rounders.
Grant’s $20 milllion contract also fits nicely into the trade exception created in the Pelicans deal, which meant the Blazers were not required to send out any money while opening up cap space for the Pistons.
Sports Illustrated’s Rohan Nadkarni gave the Blazers an A, calling the deal a no-brainer while handing down a C to the Pistons.
He’ll be a very nice complementary piece next to Lillard. Portland has desperately needed long, athletic wings next to Dame who can also shoot and defend, and Grant fits the bill. With Josh Hart also occupying one of the wing spots—and perhaps another veteran who could be acquired in exchange for the No. 7 pick—the Blazers should have some nice floor balance they’ve lacked in recent years. Grant can play either forward position (while mostly playing the four), and perhaps slide to center in rare instances in super-small looks.
Grant should thrive playing off-ball from Lillard. He shot 36.2% on catch-and-shoot threes last season, already enough to keep a defense honest, and Dame should get him some even better looks moving forward. For now, Grant is signed only through 2023 for nearly $21 million, but after last season’s teardown, the Blazers have the flexibility to sign him on a deal that should both go through Grant’s prime and not muck up their cap sheet. Grant may not be as exciting a second star as CJ McCollum. Still, he’s a proven player who already has once succeeded playing off a ball-dominant star. With the Blazers needing some two-way wings and still having space to maneuver for more talent, this deal was a layup.
Benyame Kidane at The Sporting News applauded Cronin for getting Grant for such a relatively smallish return, giving the Blazers an A- and the Pistons a B+.
The Trail Blazers didn’t have to give much up to fill a key role on their roster as they look to re-tool around superstar Damian Lillard. Surprisingly, they were able to complete the deal without parting ways with their No. 7 pick in this year’s draft, allowing them to add another top-end talent to their core of young players. After relying on their undersized backcourt for offense in recent years, Grant immediately gives the Blazers a scoring threat from the wing. It also provides them a versatile defensive player who can cover multiple positions.
Last season, the Blazers were one of the worst defensive teams in the league, ranking 29th in defensive rating. Grant immediately slots in as their best defensive player. Across 47 games last season, Grant averaged 19.2 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.4 assists on 42.6 percent from the field and 35.8 percent from the 3-point line. The move also is a boost for Lillard, who was keen to team up with Grant. The pair won a gold medal together for Team USA at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Portland’s ability to utilize the $21 million trade exception it created as part of dealings with the Clippers and Pelicans last season is a plus.
Conversely, ESPN’s Kevin Pelton gave the Blazers a B+ and the Pistons an A-, giving Detroit the edge for the extra $20 million in cap space it now owns.
It will be interesting to see how Grant fits back in on a contending team. He filled a role for the Denver Nuggets in 2019-20, helping them to the Western Conference finals in the bubble, before signing with the Pistons in order to get more offensive opportunities. Grant’s usage rate jumped from finishing a below-average 18% of Denver’s plays to 28.5% in Detroit. In that context, Grant’s near-average efficiency was impressive, given he’d never before been considered a shot creator.
In Portland, Grant’s role will probably end up somewhere between those two extremes. Lillard and Simons project as the team’s top two scorers, but Grant could be allowed to do more offensively when one of the two guards is on the bench, historically a trouble spot for the Blazers’ offense. When he’s off the ball, Grant is the kind of high-volume but average accuracy 3-point shooter (36% last season on 6.1 attempts per game) Portland has typically featured at forward.
Jack Maloney at CBS Sports awarded the Blazers an A- and the Pistons a B, praising the fact that Portland only had to give up what seem inconsequential draft compensation for Grant.
The first step was to go out and acquire Grant, who Lillard has been advocating for, per Wojnarowski. Grant should be a perfect fit as a versatile forward who will immediately improve their porous defense and can take some of the offensive responsibility off of Lillard’s shoulders. Having a real scoring threat on the wing will be a nice change of pace for the Blazers, who have relied on a small backcourt for so long.
Best of all for the Blazers, they didn’t have to give up much to get a player who will make their team better. A first-round pick three years down the road means much more to a rebuilding Pistons team than it does to a Blazers team trying to win now. The second-round picks and swaps are just sort of whatever.
Last Word on Sports’ Wyatt Carlson marked Portland with an A and the Pistons a B-, highlighting Grant’s defensive prowess.
There were trade talks revolving around Grant being traded for Portland’s 7th overall pick in this year’s draft. Portland was able to bring in a second option to pair alongside Lillard that really plays to his skills without moving on from such high draft capital. In fact, they don’t even give up one of their own picks so they have the ability to rebuild at any point without stressing about giving up a high lottery pick.
In previous years Portland’s second option had been C.J. McCollum who’s another undersized guard that hurt them defensively. Grant is a player that as a 6’8″ wing can use his length to have a high impact on the defensive side of the ball. Portland had been targeting a bigger player to pair alongside Lillard after they moved on from McCollum at the trade deadline. Bringing in a player as good as Grant who averaged 19.2 points and shot 35.8% from three will completely change Portland’s offense. This will be the best wing Lillard has played alongside since playing with LaMarcus Aldridge.
Portland was also able to hold onto Anfernee Simons in this trade as well. This means they will be in the process of competing for the playoffs while still having young players in Simons and the 7th overall pick to help the rebuilding process in the future. Simons was able to average 17.3 points without Lillard last season and may be able to slide over to the shooting guard position to start alongside Lillard.
Zach Harper at The Athletic (subscription required) saw the deal as a B for Portland and C+ for Detroit. also praising the Blazers for the amount they had to give up.
Grant is a really nice pickup for the Blazers. Putting someone with his ability and versatility on both ends of the floor starts bringing back a lot of veteran know-how that we saw missing for most of 2021-22. Chauncey Billups was eventually saddled with playing a lot of guys most NBA fans have never heard of, and the result was setting the record for most 30-point losses in a season (15!). Now, the direction is pretty clear. Get back to the playoffs. Get back to making this look like a competitive team. And get Damian Lillard some much-needed help. Acquiring Grant is the first part of this.
The Blazers have been using the seventh pick in this draft as bait to try to acquire some veterans who can help this team win right away. Some of the rumors have circled around them going after Toronto Raptors forward OG Anunoby, and really, it’s the next move or set of moves that will tell us just how good this deal is for Portland. If this is the main move the Blazers pull off, then it’s going to be a pretty rough season once again.
Grant is good. He’s grown a lot in h
is time in the NBA, and he really took off after getting to Denver. In Detroit, he was asked to be a lead scorer, and he put up 20.9 points per game on 55.6 percent true shooting. Throw in his defensive capabilities, and he can help the Blazers in a lot of areas they were lacking over the last few years. They need switchable wings on both ends of the floor, and Grant gives them one of those. However, he’s only under contract for 2022-23. Portland absolutely makes this trade assuming it can re-sign him, but that’s not a given. The Blazers need more help than Grant, and they’ll need to make sure he’s a long-term solution. The cupboard for this roster is still pretty bare.
Clutch Points’ Karl Rasmussen honored the Blazers with an A and the Pistons with a lowly C, pointing out the possible impact Grant can have playing alongside Damian Lillard.
The Blazers made the decision to retool the roster, rather than rebuild it, and continue to look to build around Damian Lillard. Whether or not that call pays off in the long run remains to be seen, but considering the Blazers are committed to remaining competitive, Grant is an excellent addition to the squad. A 3-and-D specialist, Grant represents exactly what the Blazers have been lacking on the wing over the past few years.
Last year in Detroit, Grant averaged 19.2 points per game, knocking down 1.9 3’s per night at a 35.8% clip. He was a reliable offensive threat on the perimeter and is a talented defender, too. Grant is capable of playing both forward positions, and could slot in at power forward, lining up alongside Lillard, Anfernee Simons, Josh Hart, and Jusuf Nurkic in what would make a formidable starting five.
The Blazers got the prized wing asset they’ve coveted since the trade deadline, and they didn’t even need to give up their first-round pick in the draft to get him. Portland will add Grant to the roster while also being able to grab some young talent with the seventh overall pick. This is an absolute win for the Blazers, who landed a quality piece at a very insignificant cost.
We’ll bring you more reactions as, or if, they come.