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Portland Trail Blazers 2022 Moves So Far: The Jerami Grant Exchange

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Over the past two weeks, the Portland Trail Blazers have employed a series of trades, signings and draft picks to rebuild their roster in preparation for the 2022-23 NBA season. If you haven’t been paying close attention, you can be forgiven for missing some details. Even if so, it’s time to take a deep breath, recap, and reset.

Over the July 4th holiday weekend, we’ll break down Portland’s moves so far this summer, examine each one in detail, update you, and decipher the significance of each transaction.

We’ll start with Portland’s most flashy move yet, trading Detroit Pistons forward Jerami Grant.

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The transaction: The Blazers acquire 6-foot-8, 210-pound, 28-year-old power forward Jerami Grant from the Detroit Pistons.

What it costs: One trade exception, a 2025 first-round draft pick originally owned by the Milwaukee Bucks, a 2025 second-round pick and two second-round pick trades to Detroit.

NBA reaction: Mostly positive, with ratings ranging from zone B to A.

The stats: 19.2 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 42.6 FG%, 35.8 3PT% at 31.9 mpg in 47 appearances (2021-22)

What Portland Won

The Blazers acquired Grant, a legitimate starter and member of Team USA with Portland guard Damian Lillard, for a bargain price. They will rely on defending him. He has a good engine and can venture out on the perimeter without burning out … a trait missing from several forwards the Blazers have tried to connect with Lillard in the past.

Grant’s emergence as an offensive player over the past two seasons has sparked interest. Before 2021-22, he never averaged more than 13.6 points in a season. In 2021-22, he shot as many as 22.3 points, following him with 19.2 last season.

Combine scoring potential with defensive aptitude, and Grant could easily become the best power forward to play in Portland since LaMarcus Aldridge left in 2015. After years of scheming, the Blazers could have plugged that gap in the rotation by the price of a lower future first. -rounder. That would be quite a hit.

Potential Hazards

Every team Grant has played for has recognized his abilities. However, none of them have kept it. He hasn’t stayed in one place for more than two and a half seasons.

This is important because Grant is also in the final year of his current contract and is paying him $21 million. He will be looking for a longer deal and probably a raise. Portland isn’t just in the driver’s seat to give it to him, it’s almost expected. The only “way out” would be a serious injury or total failure of this rebuilt lineup before the extension expires. The Blazers are about to shell out more money, for a longer period, than anyone has given Grant. They do not have a secondary plan. They have no way to replace it. This has to work.

Grant’s defense will probably hold, at least in the “Better than most power forwards in Portland” category. Whether his offense will live up to the billing remains to be seen. His shooting percentages are not special. He flourished when the Pistons went into freefall and was able to create without much competition or interference on offense. That’s not going to be true in a lineup with Lillard, Anfernee Simons and even Jusuf Nurkic playing alongside him.

Grant’s rebounding, stealing and blocking numbers are also low for a power forward, particularly one prized by defense. He can put additional pressure on Nurkic to sweep the boards. Stress if the Blazers also have to go small at 3. If he can’t stop the shots from going up, the rebound becomes the end point of the defensive phrase. The Blazers won’t thrive on a series of loathsome haters.

Grant’s edges will need to be honed and his game will need to be further developed if he is to fit seamlessly into the space the Blazers have open for him. That is absolutely possible, maybe even likely, but it will take work on all sides and success is not guaranteed.

final verdict

The Blazers got better with this move, or at least have great potential to do so. Grant wasn’t part of that gold medal-winning team with Lillard for nothing. Dame’s seal of approval means a ton.

The low starting price made trading a no-brainer. Portland retained enough other assets to build more, a critical part of the overall strategy.

That said, the Blazers didn’t buy themselves a spot in the NBA Finals, or even the Western Conference Finals, with this deal. They bought themselves the opportunity to build more with higher hopes that those moves will bring real success rather than just a rah-rah rally. That is exactly what they had to do. It was probably the most they could reasonably hope for. As such, it was a solid opening play for the summer.

Until next time

A great draft day…

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