Jerami Grant on Trade Rumors: "I'm Cool Here"
Grant's name will continue to come up leading into the Feb. 8 trade deadline, but the 29-year-old isn't eager for a change right now.
📍 PORTLAND, Ore. — With three weeks remaining until the trade deadline, there are certain names that come up more than others, that most people assume will be playing elsewhere by the time the dust settles.
The Trail Blazers have two of those. One is Malcolm Brogdon, who has drawn interest from contenders needing a reliable ballhandler, and who it would make sense for Portland to move to clear the deck for No. 3 overall pick Scoot Henderson.
The other is Jerami Grant, who re-signed a day before Damian Lillard requested a trade, immediately raising alarm bells around the NBA that he might not be long for Portland. A rebuilding team, the conventional wisdom goes, has no use for any good basketball players over the age of 25, or any veterans on big contracts, and should always be looking to trade them for more picks and young players.
But the Blazers don’t see it that way, and neither does Grant. General manager Joe Cronin saw the Houston Rockets break the bank this summer to bring in veterans like Fred VanVleet and Dillon Brooks after a disastrous season with no leadership, and he sees what the 4-37 Detroit Pistons are going through right now. He doesn’t want the post-Lillard Blazers to be that.
That means keeping around at least a few veterans—and not just older players on minimum deals who can’t produce and are glorified assistant coaches. Good players who can contribute while also being a positive locker-room presence for an impressionable young team.
Players like Grant, who scored 30 points on 14-of-16 shooting in Wednesday’s win over the Brooklyn Nets. Earlier that day, the Indiana Pacers (who play in Portland on Friday) completed a trade with the Toronto Raptors to acquire All-NBA forward Pascal Siakam, who had been one of the hottest names on the trade market. With Siakam off the board, it would make sense that the teams who didn’t get him might then turn their attention to Grant. Expect to hear a lot of talk in the coming weeks about him.
“You definitely see it,” Grant told me after the win over the Nets. “But it's not anything in my control. I'm cool here. I'm good with what I'm doing. Keep my head down and keep working, keep trying to help the young guys as much as I can. But it's definitely something you see. It's not something you can do anything about, especially since I just signed a deal. I'm here for as long as they want me.”
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The night of June 30, less than an hour into the start of free agency, Grant and the Blazers agreed to a five-year, $160 million contract, a deal that made perfect sense for a team building around Lillard and trying to contend. The next morning—in a not-very-surprising development in the aftermath of Scoot Henderson being taken with the No. 3 overall pick in the draft—Lillard officially requested a trade, which completely shifted everything about the organization’s short- and long-term goals.
Lillard was the primary reason the Blazers made the move to acquire Grant from Detroit in June of 2022. The two became close when they were teammates at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo in 2021, and Lillard pushed hard for Portland to trade for him the following offseason. After last season ended, Lillard said at his exit interview that he “expected” Grant to be back.
But Lillard also expected general manager Joe Cronin to make other moves to vault Portland into the conversation with the Western Conference contenders. Re-signing Grant was just supposed to be the first piece of the puzzle. When the subsequent pieces didn’t fall into place, Lillard decided he wanted to move on.
Where did that leave Grant?