Portland Trail Blazers: Jerami Grant

Wednesday night, the Portland Trail Blazers finally landed Jerami Grant from Detroit, and the cost was surprising…

There’s an old baseball story about Gene Michael and George Steinbrenner arguing about whether or not to sign Albert Belle or resign Bernie Williams. Michael thought Belle was a cancer, a problem with the press, and was adamant the Yankees shouldn’t sign him. Then he asked what Williams’s contract demands were. After being told the stratospheric numbers, he exclaimed, “In that case, I LOOOVVEE  Albert Belle!”. That pretty much explains how Portland Trail Blazers fans should feel about the Jerami Grant acquisition.

There was talk over the last week or so that Portland was looking at several possible trade candidates, using their lottery pick as bait. Grant, John Collins, DeAndre Ayton, and a slew of others have been mentioned. Grant, for a myriad of reasons, was always on the bottom of my wishlist. The main issue with him is his ego.

Is he a winner?

Grant chose to leave a loaded Denver team to take more shots on a putrid Detroit squad for the same amount of money. While in Detroit, once his name began floating in trade rumors, he got the word out that he’d be unhappy going anywhere he wasn’t the top option offensively. Judging by Detroit’s meager return for the forward, he may have turned more than a few contenders off with his attitude.

Grant is a solid all-around player. He’s an above-average defender with length on the wing. Not a great shooter, Grant hits around 30% of his three-pointers and will keep opposing defenses honest. He can pass and handle the ball enough that he’s a threat to drive. Would I give up the seventh overall pick in the draft for him? No. Would I trade Milwaukee’s pick three years from now and swap second rounders this year? Every time.

Give Portland Trail Blazers General Manager Joe Cronin credit for not jumping the gun on Grant. Portland’s interest was not exactly a secret. At the deadline, there was talk of Grant going for one of this year’s lottery picks. Cronin held out and got Grant for basically a wish and some cap space. After watching teams like the Lakers and Brooklyn trade everything they have for one player, it’s nice to see Cronin show some restraint and let the market come to him.

Winning Time?

Grant is an excellent fit with the current Blazers roster. If Portland doesn’t add another big piece, they might be able to appease Grant’s need for shots by keeping him on the floor when Damian Lillard or Anfernee Simons are resting. He brings some size and defense that was previously lacking and should see better looks with defenses focused on the Blazers guards.

Ultimately the Portland Trail Blazers are a better team with Grant, but it probably doesn’t dramatically change their ceiling. Portland will land somewhere in the play-in group of teams barring a blockbuster acquisition or the player they take at 7 becoming an immediate All-Star. It’s to their credit that they still have the seventh selection to add talent to the team in addition to picking up Grant. Next up, does Portland give Grant a $30M per year max extension?

What do you think about the Portland Trail Blazers trade with Detroit for forward Jerami Grant? Let us know in the comments section below.

Andrew Elderbaum

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