After months of speculation, the Detroit Pistons have traded Jerami Grant. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported the Pistons dealt Grant to the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for the Milwaukee Bucks’ 2025 first-round pick.
2025 first-rounder is top-four protected. In addition to the Milwaukee pick, Detroit also included second-round pick swaps. Most notably, the Pistons now have the 36th pick in the 2022 Draft while Portland now has the 46th.
The trade is not quite what Pistons fans were expecting. While Portland has always been a suitor for Grant, most fans assumed any potential trade would involve the seventh overall pick in this year’s draft. An overvaluation of the veteran forward? Perhaps. One thing is certain, Pistons’ GM Troy Weaver would not have accepted this trade if a better offer was on the table from elsewhere.
There were only two real options with Grant this offseason: trade him or extend him. Grant’s asking price was likely to be high for a contract extension. He is just one season removed from a near All-Star season. It was clear he would garner a lucrative contract extension. Offering a hefty contract to a 28-year-old who does not necessarily fit the timeline did not make sense with such a young team. In the end, it was better to trade Grant this offseason rather than lose him for nothing next year.
How the Grant trade impacts 2022 Draft
Adding the 36th pick in exchange for the 46th is more significant than it first appears. With pick 36, Detroit can land another player they had a first-round grade on who may have slipped into the second round.
Grant’s departure could signal the Pistons are all in on Keegan Murray with the fifth overall pick. Without Grant, there is a hole at the starting power forward spot that Murray immediately fills. There was speculation the team was interested in trading up to the fourth pick to land Purdue guard Jaden Ivey. Whether that interest still remains will only become clear on draft day.
Of course, Weaver and the Pistons’ front office could still target either Ivey or Bennedict Mathurin with the fifth pick and fill the hole at power forward with someone else. There are options in free agency, including Marvin Bagley III, who played well for Detroit late in the season.
With Grant off the books, more space is opened up in free agency
The Pistons now have even more cap space to pursue Miles Bridges, Deandre Ayton and Jalen Brunson.
While the Phoenix Suns can match any offer for the big man, Detroit is likely to throw a max contract his way. The Athletic‘s James Edwards III reported the Pistons are expected to heavily target Ayton when free agency opens.
Bridges could receive a lucrative offer from his home state team. The Flint native is not as likely to garner a max offer, but Detroit could still push the Charlotte Hornets to their limits to retain Bridges. The Michigan State product slots in at the power forward spot left vacant by Grant’s departure.
Brunson is the only unrestricted free agent of the three. Detroit has been rumored to have an interest in Brunson for months now. His contract is likely the smallest of the three. However, he easily slots into the starting guard spot next to Cade Cunningham.
That is not to say the Pistons are guaranteed to spend big this offseason. Next year’s free agency pool is deeper than this year’s. But, moving on from Grant’s contract gives Weaver more options to work with. If free agency does not prove fruitful, the Pistons could turn to the trade market to continue building their roster around Cunningham.
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