Three initial thoughts on the Trail Blazers' trade for Jerami Grant
The time has finally come for Jerami Grant to put on the red, white and black as a Portland Trail Blazer.
Grant, who was born in Portland while his dad, Harvey Grant, played for the Blazers, has been sought after by fans and the team for quite some time, and the deal was reportedly made Wednesday afternoon.
Portland is sending over four picks, including the 2025 first-round pick from Milwaukee and this year's No. 36 pick. The other two picks are a 2025 second-round pick (that Detroit originally sent to Portland) and a 2026 second-round pick.
Portland also gets the No. 46 pick from Detroit, so nothing is lost in this draft except 10 spots in the second round.
Here's some initial thoughts on what the Grant trade brings to Portland:
Finally, a two-way forward
For Grant's first six years in the league, he was viewed as a defensive player in Philadelphia, Oklahoma City and Denver. A guy with a long wingspan that can help guard at any position.
Grant helped elevate the Nuggets defense in the 2019-20 season, and ultimately helped Denver reach the Western Conference Finals inside the bubble.
Following that season, Grant bet on himself and went to Detroit on the same contract Denver had offered him.
While it didn't lead to improved results for Detroit, Grant has been able to find his scoring ability, posting 22.3 and 19.2 points per game in his two seasons to lead the Pistons.
Now coming to Portland, he won't have to be the team's main scorer with Damian Lillard back and Anfernee Simons set to continue his upward trajectory.
Grant isn't the best 3-point shooter, shooting 34.9% for his career, but with Lillard and Simons drawing in the defense on 3s or driving and kicking, the lanes are sure to be more open than ever for Grant to go to work.
Defensively, Lillard and Simons aren't the strongest, but Grant will be right behind to help and has also proven to be a capable shot blocker on even the tallest of centers.
Grant won't be an all star or reach Lillard status, but he's a high-quality forward that Portland hasn't seen for a long time.
Domino of depth
There were two main goals going into the offseason for the Blazers: Find some starting forwards and bring in more depth.
Trading for Grant helps out in a major way on both fronts. Grant becomes a starting forward, which guarantees that Josh Hart should be coming off the bench next season for Portland after talk he could start at the 3 if the Blazers weren't able to find some forwards.
With Hart off the bench, that also means either Justise Winslow or Nassir Little are on the bench (and maybe both if Portland can trade for another forward) behind Grant.
Having two or even all three of those players off the bench provides a stronger second unit punch. It's not a filled out roster by any means, but now all that could be needed is a backup center and another guard.
The best teams have depth. It's needed during the regular season to grind through games where your stars are hurting or taking the night off. Depth is why Memphis went to the No. 2 seed and only lost two games that Ja Morant sat out.
Depth can also make a difference in the playoffs where a team needs to win every minute it can. Having these borderline starters backing up Lillard, Simons and Grant is a needed step toward having that depth that can win minutes against other teams when their stars are down for a breather.
Along with depth, having a defensive player in the building can change the whole attitude. Defense is all about effort, and seeing Grant grind on that end daily could motivate the rest of the squad, along with head coach Chauncey Billups, to raise the bar the Blazers so desperately need on defense.
Just the beginning?
The Grant trade seems to be setting up for more drama to come on draft night.
This offseason, Portland has been connected to trade talks on OG Anunoby in Toronto and John Collins of Atlanta.
Both young forwards would be expected to fill out the starting lineup along with Lillard, Simons, Grant and Jusuf Nurkic. And getting Grant without trading the No. 7 pick in Thursday's draft seemingly allows space for a deal to get done with either team.
And not only does the Grant trade keep enough capital for Portland to make the move, it could show Anunoby and Collins what the Blazers have building and entice them to push the needle a little on their GM to make the move.
Collins has reportedly been unhappy in Atlanta, while rumors are mixed on Anunoby's comfort level.
Either way, getting Grant before the draft was a big move to show the direction Portland is moving, and it's not a rebuild. Rather, it's a retool around Lillard so the Blazers can make a serious title push while arguably the best player in franchise history is still in his prime.
Even if Portland can't deal for another veteran forward, they have the No. 7 pick, which should land them a top recruit no matter who the Blazers go with.
Dyson Daniels and Shaedon Sharpe are the two names most connected with Portland at 7. Both technically are guards, but have plenty of length to play the 3 and let Grant go to the 4. It might not be the most ideal situation, but having some developing youth is never a bad thing, just ask Memphis.
The path is there for Portland, and getting Grant was the first, major stepping stone. Now we'll see if the next step or two can be made on draft night.
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