In a new piece focused mainly on James Harden’s interest in testing free agency and perhaps migrating from Brooklyn to Philadelphia in the offseason there is also an interesting trade rumor regarding Detroit Pistons forward Jerami Grant.
Both the Atlanta Hawks and Sacramento Kings “have emerged as strong suitors for Jerami Grant,” writes Jake Fischer. Other teams with Grant on their radar include the Los Angeles Lakers, Portland Trail Blazers, New York Knicks, Utah Jazz and Minnesota Timberwolves, according to Fischer.
Atlanta has been mentioned off and on as a potential landing spot should Grant be dealt, but this is the first time I recall them being called a “strong suitor.” What Fischer writes next is even more intriguing for Pistons fans.
While there’s been no direct indication on particular trade frameworks for Atlanta’s pursuit of Grant, the Hawks have grown more active in searching for a new home for John Collins, sources said, and Collins’ salary works in a direct swap for Grant.
Put simply, Collins would be a pretty perfect fit for Detroit alongside rookie guard Cade Cunningham, and his combination of athleticism, shooting and rim gravity could even help maximize struggling young players like Killian Hayes and Isaiah Stewart.
However, Collins would not come cheap, and while a Grant for Collins swap works salary-wise, it’s unclear if it would work from a talent acquisition standpoint for Atlanta. If they require more to pry Collins away from them, Detroit has to consider what else they’d be willing to give up.
On the other hand, there have been several reports of Collins’ general dissatisfaction with Atlanta and his role in the offense. During Atlanta’s four-game winning streak, Collins is fourth on the team in shots and minutes. Collins is in the first year of a five-year, $125 million deal.
Grant is making $20 million but looking for an extension this offseason that would pay him north of $100 million over four years.
Atlanta could get a defensive lift from Grant as the team’s power forward and serve as the second-ish option behind Trae Young who can use his ability to drive the line and create some individual offense to score and kick out to Atlanta’s collection of perimeter shooters.
The fit for Detroit couldn’t be better. Collins is the sort of elite athlete that the Pistons are desperate for and would pair perfectly alongside Cunningham’s passing, and give the team a true lob threat for the first time since Andre Drummond was a young, hungry player.
Collins is also a quality 3-point shooter who is hitting at a 42% rate this season and nearly 39% for his career. Importantly, he’s a proficient perimeter shooter above the break as a pick-and-pop big and isn’t only effective from the short corners.
Also, despite playing three-quarters of his time on the floor at power forward alongside bigs like Clint Capela, 52% of Collins’ field goal attempts are at the rim. He also consistently ranks among the elite finishers at the rim of players with at least four attempts in the past three seasons.
Collins’ defense is poor, and he doesn’t seem like a player who could shoulder playing a small-ball five role for longer than intermittent spurts. However, his high-end efficiency and elite athleticism more than make up for any defensive struggles.
The rosy picture I’m painting of Collins again forces us to step back and ask why Atlanta would be interested in a straight up swap of Jerami for John. The answer is, they probably aren’t.
So is there a larger deal that could actually work for Atlanta? I’m sure Detroit could be willing to part with any or all of Cory Joseph, Frank Jackson or Josh Jackson to help Atlanta shore up its wing position. Thinking bigger, there are few players who seem to fit the Travis Schlenk ethos in Atlanta better than Kelly Olynyk as a dynamic, perimeter-oriented big man who can handle the ball.
Would a Jerami Grant, Kelly Olynyk and Frank Jackson package in exchange for John Collins and Danilo Gallinari deal work for Atlanta? Gallinari's deal is only partially guaranteed so perhaps that isn’t a good enough incentive for Atlanta. It doesn’t seem like they’d want to move on from Capela’s big contract but perhaps they’d want to move off of Bogdan Bogdanovic. Bogdanovic is already 29, has missed 17 of the past 24 games with knee issues and is owed $18 million each of the next two seasons.
That would take a chunk out of Detroit’s offseason salary cap space, which they already ate into in a trade for DeAndre Jordan for draft picks earlier this season, but you’re unlikely to attract players near the talent level or age of Collins in free agency.
One thing is for certain, Detroit is not in a position to send out additional draft picks to the Hawks to cement a deal, and Cade Cunnnigham is untouchable and Saddiq Bey is probably too valuable of an asset to throw into the deal. Whether Detroit would entertain offers for Isaiah Stewart (who could interest Atlanta) or Killian Hayes (who probably wouldn’t) is unknown.
So what do you think, Pistons fans? Is a potential John Collins deal possible? Would you be willing to give up more than just Grant to make it happen?