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Could the Sacramento Kings Mess with the Blazers’ Summer Plans?

Dan Favale of Bleacher Report says the Kings might try to steal a Portland star.

Portland Trail Blazers v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

The Portland Trail Blazers are expected to face a summer of upheaval. 33 wins, an aging superstar, and plenty of volatility on the roster all but mandate a shake-up of some sort. As trade rumors and suggestions have swirled around the club, one thing has remained fairly constant. The Blazers will want to re-sign power forward Jerami Grant, acquired at the end of last season for a first-round pick. Scoring 20.5 points per game over 63 appearances, Grant more than fulfilled his promise in Portland. His contract is up and the Blazers are expected to be first in line to secure his services.

According to Dan Favale of Bleacher Report, the Blazers may not be the only team in that line, though. In an article detailing free agent moves people don’t think are possible, Favale points out that the Sacramento Kings have the ability to clear enough cap space to make a run at Grant.

The Sacramento Kings can eke out just over $20 million in cap room if they renounce the rights to Harrison Barnes. That’s not insubstantial. It’s also not enough to steal one of the most prized names set to hit the open market.

Everything changes if the Kings can compensate a fellow cap-space squad to take on the final two years and $24.9 million left on Richaun Holmes’ deal. The cost of that dump is a discussion for another day, but it would open more than $30 million in spending power if Sacramento doesn’t take back any money.

That much coin should get the Kings a spot at the table of the free agent who, frankly, is the best fit for them: Jerami Grant.

Though he already turned down a max extension from the Portland Trail Blazers, he’s not necessarily window shopping. He can sign a deal worth more than $112 millionish total upon entering free agency. The Blazers may be willing to go above that initial number, but, you know, what if they’re not?

Better yet: What if Grant doesn’t trust the direction of a team caught between middle and the absolute bottom and prefers to take similar or identical money from a franchise that just finished third in the West, pushed the Warriors to seven games and can pretty comfortably allocate a third option’s worth of touches his way?

The Blazers are able to offer Grant an extra year on his contract, which should be an enticement for him to stay. If he did depart, however, it’d be a disaster for Portland. They’d not accrue any cap space, as they’re already within shouting distance of the cap line no matter what they do. They’d lose a starter now, a potential future trade chip later, for nothing.

This is the exact reason why announcing Grant’s return is expected to be the first order of business in Portland’s off-season, pretty much no matter what the cost. Losing him to the Kings would be like lighting the beam directly into Portland’s cornea.