The Portland Trail Blazers had key injuries throughout the season that hindered their ability to hit their stride. The Blazers were major players at the NBA trade deadline and had to reshuffle the deck midway through the year.
All of this is true. But, Portland just wasn’t good enough to make the playoffs or play-in tournament, and the addition of Jerami Grant did not yield the results that were hoped for.
Set to be a free agent this summer, Grant’s focus will be on increasing his salary and likely, bettering his chances at winning. Will this force the Blazers or another franchise to overpay for the talented wing? Grant Hughes of Bleacher Report said this on the matter:
“That leaves the Blazers in the difficult position of upping their outlay for a player who couldn’t help them make the playoffs while earning $21 million per year. Either that, or they can let another team pay him somewhere around $30 million per season,” Hughes said.
“With the organization still seemingly committed to surrounding Lillard with the talent necessary to make a playoff run, the odds of Grant being overpaid to stay are high.”
There are 39 players set to make $30 million or more in 2023-24, not to mention a host of emerging stars such as 2023 NBA All-Star Domantas Sabonis slated for major new contracts and extensions.
Assessing whether Grant is an upper echelon player in the league is up for debate, but he possesses qualities that could lift any team to championship contention as a supplementary piece.
He is a bona fide 20 point-per-game scorer, whether as a first, second or third option, and is one of the better perimeter defenders in the league. He is now a legitimate 40 percent shooter from three-point range and has a record of delivering down the stretch of games.
Players with those capabilities at that size and level of athleticism are hard to come by. Add that to the fact that he’s at the peak of his prime at 29 years old and you have a player that has done enough to earn his biggest payday to date.