The Detroit Pistons traded Jerami Grant to the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday, but not for the Blazers’ 7th overall pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft. Instead, they received a 2025 pick from Milwaukee.
They also move up from 46 to 36 in Thursday’s second round by swapping picks with Portland as well as receiving a 2026 second-rounder.
The news comes via Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Detroit swaps 2022 second-round picks -- getting 36 for 46 -- with Portland, too. Denver gets a 2025 second-round pick back from Portland, and Portland sends the most favorable 2026 second-round pick between Portland and New Orleans to Detroit, sources said. https://t.co/c8M8TlEgoY— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 22, 2022
While this is not the return Pistons fans were hoping for, it turns out that just as important as additional draft assets to Troy Weaver are the two words that strike fear in the heart of any Pistons fan for the past decade — cap space.
By trading Grant to Portland, the Pistons were not forced to take back any players because the Blazers had a giant $21 million trade exception from the previous season’s Norm Powell trade.
The Pistons now have roughly $43 million to use as they enter free agency. Detroit has long been connected to some of the top names on the free agent market, including Deandre Ayton, Miles Bridges and Jalen Brunson. Reporting often indicated that Detroit was interested in adding multiple high-level players to the team, and that would have only been possible by trading Grant.
That being said, there are no guarantees that Detroit will end up with either of Ayton or Bridges because their teams, the Suns and Hornets, respectively, have the right to match any offer.
The Pistons also become a prime destination for teams looking to offload salary in any potential multi-team transactions, and that could have been a motivating factor in trading Grant now instead of waiting for draft day.
Detroit has had some of the worst experiences utilizing cap space in recent memory including giant disastrous deals for Ben Gordon, Charlie Villanueva and Josh Smith.
Can Weaver break the curse? He traded incumbent players to open up space to sign Grant in the first place, and while the deal was scoffed at as an overpay at the time, the move proved shrewd.
The Pistons kept losing but never looked particularly embarrassed on the court, didn’t harm the Pistons draft position at all (they got the No. 1 pick last year) and traded him for a first round pick, some extras and take no bad salary back in return.
He also signed Mason Plumlee, who he had to bribe the Hornets to take on last year by adding a second-round pick, so his record certainly isn’t spotless.
Grant ends his Pistons tenure with few wins but a higher profile, a second-place finish in Most Improved Player, an Olympics gold medal and now with a chance to compete alongside Damian Lillard as the Blazers look to reshape their team into a contender.
It seems like the Pistons are about to do some reshaping of their own. We will have more on the deal soon.