The Portland Trail Blazers have a big decision to make this summer on Jerami Grant.
After trading for him last summer, Grant shined for the Blazers in his first season with his hometown team. He averaged 20.5 points per game and proved to be a strong complement to Damian Lillard, but Portland failed to make it to the postseason for a second consecutive year.
Now, with Grant eyeing a long-term contract, the Blazers must decide what he is worth and if they are willing to pay how much he is asking for, but Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley believes there is a medium-to-high flight risk of Grant flocking elsewhere this summer.
A slew of suitors could be in pursuit. He went from being perhaps underused in Denver to being a little overexposed in Detroit, but Portland provided a happy medium. He didn’t have to create offense, but he could when he had it rolling. What resulted was his most efficient season as a volume scorer: 20.5 points per game on 47.5/40.1/81.3 shooting.
He also fits the coveted mold of a big-wing defender at 6’8” and 210 pounds and has a decent amount of flexibility on that end. He doesn’t add much as a rebounder or distributor, but if he did, he might get annual consideration for the All-Star Game.
Players like him don’t come cheap. It’s up to the Trail Blazers to decide whether they’re in position to justify a big contract for him. If they’re trying to build a winner around Damian Lillard, then keeping Grant might be a no-brainer. But if they’ve taken things as far as they can with their long-time franchise face, then any type of future pivot would happen without Grant.
Grant, 29, is in the prime of his career and the Blazers would love to have someone who already has rapport with Lillard apart of the team’s next re-tooling. However, as the Blazers proved this year, the current roster is not up to par and cannot contend. And now, the Blazers must decide if they can re-tool without having to sacrifice Grant in the process.