We’re days away from the NBA Trade Deadline and Jerami Grant remains a hot name.
He could be headed to a contender. He could be staying put for the time being.
The Sacramento Kings have been rumored to have interest in Grant over the past month, and it makes some sense. The Kings have a nice core with Tyrese Haliburton and De’Aaron Fox and they desperately want to make the playoffs. In many ways, they played the same mediocrity game the Detroit Pistons played until Troy Weaver came to town.
Brady: The Kings have been arguably the most talked about TEAM on the trade market because they seem determined to end their playoff drought. The Pistons, far far away from the postseason, have been mentioned on the market for entirely different reasons.
Do you think where there’s smoke, there’s fire with the Kings’ determination to improve this team and make a run at the play-in tournament or playoffs?
Brenden: For sure. The Kings have massively underperformed this season and there seems to be a playoff mandate to end their historic playoff drought.
Monte McNair has made minimal improvements to the roster since taking over and it’s clearly time for change. Anything is on the table, even though they’d clearly prefer to not move on from De’Aaron Fox or Tyrese Haliburton.
I’d expect one or more of Harrison Barnes, Buddy Hield, and/or Richaun Holmes to be gone before the deadline.
Brady: It’s interesting that they’re married to both point guards — does the fanbase feel strongly about keeping one or the other? I know Pistons fans (myself included) were big Haliburton fans before the draft.
Brenden: The fanbase has understandably fallen head over heels for Haliburton. He’s blown away close to everyone’s expectations from the time he was drafted and if his growth rate continues the sky is truly the limit.
I’d be VERY surprised if the organization decided to move on from Haliburton given his age, growth, intangibles and team control.
As for Fox, I’d guess that the fanbase is somewhat split and feelings are heavily dependent on the return. It is odd that their franchise player has, as of today, has missed the last seven games with a random “sore ankle” right before the deadline. But, we’ve been given no clear indication that the organization feels it’s necessary to move on from the player that is in year one of his five year max deal.
Brady: So, either way, they’re in it to win it... whatever it might be. That brings us to Jerami Grant. Reports say the Pistons are willing to move him and he has said he wants a larger role offensively wherever he ends up.
Sacramento seems like a good fit for his versatility on both ends of the court — how do you see that fit from the other side?
Brenden: Defensively, I think Grant is a dream candidate for Sacramento. They desperately need disruptive defenders, especially at the wing - Maurice Harkless is currently starting and his defensive impact has somehow been a breath of fresh air as of late.
Offensively is where I’m a bit unsure. I think that in that having Fox and Haliburton as the primary initiators and ones running the offense, Grant could function as an ideal complimentary piece there. But, this is where I wanna ask you a bit: What do you think it means to Grant to have a “larger role”? Is it getting pick-and-roll chances, isolation possessions to attack a mismatch, second in points per game?
Brady: He would help them a lot defensively, but the bar is low as it currently stands for the Kings. I think people overreact to the reports that he wants a “big” role. Grant isn’t dumb, he was the alpha on a team that won 20 games last year. He knows that.
However, there’s a difference between being a guy who gets the ball with an opportunity to create off the dribble and attack the rim vs. serving as a 3-and-D wing who camps out in the corner. He did A LOT of that in OKC and Denver, so, I think he wants some freedom offensively. He wants plays called for him. But he’s self-aware enough to know he isn’t Kevin Durant out there.
This team’s utter lack of talent has forced him to try to be that over the last 1.5 seasons.
Let’s look at trade options. You mentioned that Barnes, Buddy and Holmes being moved by the deadline wouldn’t come as a surprise. Considering the state of the Kings and state of the Pistons, where would you start a trade offer?
Brendan: That’s good to hear regarding his role. I think the Kings can easily allow Grant to be more than a catch-and-shoot player on offense, I just hope he can repair some of his god-awful efficiencies as of late. The other factor I’m strongly considering before proposing an initial offer is that Grant is reportedly expecting a 4yr/$112-million extension this offseason and while he’s not old he’s not exactly young either.
Let’s start with something basic. What’s your initial reaction to Marvin Bagley, Tristan Thompson, and SAC 2023 2nd + POR 2024 2nd for Grant?
Brady: Hmmm. I’d say “these guys can help Detroit” but anybody can help the Pistons — they’re awful.
Bagley has been bantered about, he’s interesting and would add some much-needed athleticism to a ground-bound front court. It looks like his QO will only be $7M, but that is too high to some still for a guy who hasn’t really improved since being drafted.
Thompson is a body whom I’d expect they’d buy out and, while the Pistons are still recouping second rounders, I don’t know if those really help.
Brenden: Not surprising. Was kinda just feeling out where you’re at with that initial offer.
What sort of interest do you think Detroit could have in Buddy Hield? Sacramento is almost surely looking to ship him off before the 10th.
Brady: Buddy is interesting because his shooting can help any team. There are concerns about his defensive ability as he ages, but that shooting is something the Pistons really need around Cade Cunningham.
My thinking as Fake Troy Weaver here is that the Pistons need assets/players that will help Cade in the next two years. If he becomes the stud we all hope, he’ll expect this team to start to come together and have success sooner than later.
Here’s a counter: Buddy, Bagley and an unprotected 2022 first for Grant, Trey Lyles and Josh Jackson.
I know, it’s a lot. The thought here is Grant helps shore up the front court with Harrison Barnes and Richaun Holmes, while Lyles gives you a scoring stretch four off the bench. Jackson, an expiring deal, is an offensive upgrade on Mo Harkless.
Brendan: As the fake Monte McNair here, I am not entertaining any sort of conversation that includes an unprotected 2022 1st round pick. The protections on that pick would need to be top-6 at least.
What if we made the pick a top-8 protected 2023 1st but the rest of the package you offered remained the same?
Brady: Fair. The issue I’m running into with the protections is we need to get as much help for Cade as we can — as soon as we can. What if we give the pick lottery projection in 2022 and top 3 protection in 2023? It gives you the safety net of having the pick to fall back on this year if the Kings can’t rally and opens the door for the Pistons next year while still preventing disaster with losing the pick landing if it lands at the top of the draft in 2023?
Brendan: Hmm how about top-8 protected in both 2022 and 2023? I think top-3 protection like you presented is just too big of risk for guy like Grant who, in my mind, does not significantly increase the ceiling of Sacramento’s current core.
Brady: If the protections expire in 2024, you’ve got yourself a deal.
Brendan: Oh man, I’d be scared about that personally. How about top-4 protected in 2024? But, if it doesn’t convey by then it turns into two seconds?
I think risking a future unprotected first-round pick is too big of a risk for Jerami Grant.
Brady: Think we might have reached the end of the road here. I understand your fears with the protections, but I can’t trade Grant without the possibility for another young piece via the draft before I have to start worrying about Cade’s free agency in three years.
So, Sacramento, desperate enough for Jerami Grant but how desperate? Let us know what you think in the comments on a potential Kings deal as well as whether you think Grant will be moved by Thursday.