Jerami Grant is at an interesting point in his career. As one would recall, he turned down the opportunity to re-sign with the Denver Nuggets — a team that's three wins away from winning it all — back in 2020 for the chance to spread his wings as a scorer with the Detroit Pistons. On a personal level, Grant certainly derived a ton of fulfillment from the opportunities he has gotten as a featured scoring option.
However, Grant's explorations haven't quite translated to team success. During his two years with the Pistons, the team finished near or at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, while the Portland Trail Blazers, which traded for him in 2022 in an effort to bolster the team's playoff chances, fell short of their goal.
Three years in, and the returns on Jerami Grant as one of the primary scoring options on a team haven't been the best. But make no mistake about it, Grant will still command a huge contract once NBA free agency kicks off in July. His skillset as a multi-positional defender, not to mention his secondary shot-creation skills and ability to space the floor, will come in handy for both rebuilding and contending teams alike.
Grant's skillset is one that scales; although he is clearly miscast in a lead role, he should be a dynamite presence for a team that wouldn't need to rely on him too much to carry a heavy offensive burden.
Taking that into consideration, these are three of the best destinations for Jerami Grant as he hits free agency once more.
The Pacers are much closer to playoff contention than their record suggests. After all, they began the 2022-23 season on a high note, and through January, they were very much in the mix to challenge for a spot in the congested Eastern Conference playoff picture. Alas, the Pacers simply did not have the needed depth to withstand the absence of Tyrese Haliburton, effectively dooming them to yet another trip to the draft lottery.
Now, the Pacers have the seventh overall pick of the 2023 NBA Draft. They could use that to fill the power forward void in their lineup, with the likes of Jarace Walker and Taylor Hendricks likely to be still on the board by that point. Given the Pacers' rebuilding timeline, that decision would certainly make sense.
However, if the Pacers are serious about taking the next step towards making more noise in the East, then signing Jerami Grant — easing their lottery pick into the swing of things — could be a shrewd move. Grant would be a head and shoulders upgrade over Aaron Nesmith; Grant is the much better defender, shooter, and scorer, and at 6'8, he's actually a size upgrade over the incumbent starter.
The Pacers don't have the best of cap situations, as they absorbed the somewhat onerous contract of Daniel Theis during the Malcolm Brogdon trade. But if Grant shows that he's willing to move to Indianapolis, moving money around shouldn't be too big of an issue.
Similar to the thought process behind the Kyle Kuzma fit, the Cavs have a glaring hole at the 3 that needs filling if they're serious about being more than a first-round fodder next season. Isaac Okoro hasn't quite developed as quickly as they had hoped, Caris LeVert's skillset is too redundant with that of Donovan Mitchell's, while Cedi Osman is at his best as a spark plug off the bench.
Grant, meanwhile, shot 40.1 percent from deep last year with the Blazers, and given his size, he should be as solid of an option at the 3 than he is at the 4. In fact, given his rebounding shortcomings, Grant's best position may be at the 3 — which is exactly what the Cavs need.
Portland Trail Blazers
Adding Jerami Grant for the price they did last offseason was a shrewd move for the Blazers. There should be no doubts about that. But Grant is clearly underqualified as the second banana of a team with hopes of contending. If the Blazers re-sign Grant and do nothing else, yet another season out of the playoff picture may be in order.
But if the Blazers manage to land a home run with a swing for the fences, keeping Grant is a shrewd move. Grant's versatility on both ends of the floor should make him an overqualified third option, and when his co-stars sit on the bench, he should have free rein to commandeer the offense.
Keeping Grant is also a means for the Blazers to protect their investment. If they crash and burn, at least they'll have the option of trading him away to recoup some assets.