Does Jerami Grant make sense as a Sixers trade target? (2024)

Day one of the 2024 NBA Draft is in the books and the Philadelphia 76ers chose Duke’s Jared McCain, No. 16 overall — and no, they did not trade him....yet!

Daryl Morey, known to partake in more than a bit of gamesmanship, has already spoken about the 20-year-old, 6-foot-2 sniper as a player the team hopes is around for a long-time.

And McCain himself sounds like he’s prepared for a fanbase that can be notoriously love-hate: “Obviously [playing at Duke] comes with a lot of hate and a lot of scrutiny wherever you go,” McCain said, “but I think that’s preparing for where I’m at, especially with Philly, so I think I’m ready for it.”

So the Sixers have a couple of players on the roster. Three or four down, just need another 11 or 12 and they’ll be ready to roll.

One player whose name has come up is Portland Trailblazers forward Jerami Grant. Ten years ago, Grant was the No. 39 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. Former Sixers’ President Sam Hinkie took Grant 36 spots after he landed Joel Embiid and 27 spots after selecting Dario Sarić.

On Thursday, before the start of the second day of the draft (where the Sixers are set to pick No. 41) Zach Lowe hosted “The Lowe Post” with fellow ESPN NBA Insider Jonathan Givony.

With the draft’s first round behind them, how will the Sixers fill out what’s nearly a full team’s worth of roster spots?

Lowe speculated about three names in particular in case Los Angeles Clippers’ star Paul George doesn’t end up joining them. Per Lowe:

“[Jimmy Butler may be] going back to Miami, OG Anunoby re-signed with the Knicks, other players that would have been free agents this year never got to free agency, notably Jrue Holiday. Philadelphia is running out of targets for the cap space. And the biggest story now in the NBA will get some clarity on Saturday — I wouldn’t say clarity, some version of clarity. And that’s when Paul George’s deadline is to opt in or opt out of his player option for next year.... I now have officially no feel for what’s gonna happen with Paul George...

Well, I guess his having no idea offers a little more hope they can still sign George than ESPN’s Brian Windhorst offered Wednesday. Notice Windy’s recent use of the past tense, and even tire violence:

"I'm not so sure Paul George really wanted to leave the West Coast. I think that was something that Philadelphia kinda ran into when they kicked the tires there."
-- @WindhorstESPN

Full context: https://t.co/wxeTS3oUWo

— Derek Bodner (@DerekBodnerNBA) June 26, 2024

So maybe there is still a chance there?

But if not, Lowe continues:

“....And I know Philadelphia is sitting there with this cap space and 25 percent of an NBA roster, sitting there knowing ‘we’ve gotta do something with that space to compete with Boston and now New York, and probably Milwaukee and maybe Indiana, and Cleveland...,the rest of the East. I’m sure they’ve got plans D, E and F. People have whispered Brandon Ingram, people have whispered Jerami Grant, neither of those are as exciting to me as Paul George. I don’t know what the hell is gonna happen here but we’re gonna get some clarity there on Saturday....”

Lowe goes on to mention that the Golden State Warriors will provide some clarity by Friday, when Chris Paul’s $30M salary could become guaranteed, and “obviously” they’ll look to trade the 12-time All-Star. Golden State is connected to George now as well, in the event George opts in and seeks a trade. Lowe says that CP3 decision will impact Klay Thompson’s free agency, and that while Lowe has “given up trying to read the tea leaves” on PG, another option is for the Sixers to look to sign a couple players like a Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, plus a “player X, Y, and Z.”

We’ve discussed Ingram and KCP at length in the past, but we have not heard many (if any) of these Jerami Grant whispers. Grant, now 30 years old, shot over 40 percent from distance, on over five 3PA per game in 117 games with the Blazers since 2022.

He averaged 21 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.8 assists on 45-40-82 shooting splits. It’s probably pretty tricky to truly evaluate players on 21-win teams (Grant comically coming full circle from his Process days) now up in Oregon. But there has been some sentiment that his defense has slipped in recent years (hovering around 112-114 def. rating in Denver and Detroit, now just 120 Drtg in Portland).

But the Sixers would obviously have to watch the tape to see how much of a 3-and-D player there is here and wonder if he couldn’t slow down names like Jaylen Brown or Jayson Tatum in playoff environments. Grant signed a $160M five-year deal just over a year ago. Many fans interpreted that move as a silly, failed attempt to keep Damian Lillard, now in Milwaukee, happy in Portland.

Grant is set to earn $29.7M in 2024-2025, and his annual raises bring his player option for the 2027-2028 up to $36.4M. Grant will turn 31 just four days before Joel Embiid will, as the two Pisces were born just days apart after swimming in different career directions.

Fun fact-story.... Hinkie drafted Grant then later Bryan Colangelo traded JG to OKC for a future pick. Colangelo quickly used that pick to move up to draft some dude who never came over (for the Sixers) named Anžejs Pasečņiks It was the same year Colangelo traded Hinkie’s bequeathed No. 3 pick and prized Kings’ 2019 pick to Boston for Markelle Fultz. By 2018, when Burnergate broke and Fultz busted, acting GM Elton Brand traded Markelle for the pick that would eventually become Tyrese Maxey. So thank you to Hinkie, Jerami, Elton, and, of course, Mike Muscala.

Grant isn’t a sexy name. He’s substantially overpaid and he’s a stunningly poor rebounder for a player with his size and athleticism.

But when you begin to consider that names like Kentavious Caldwell-Pope may be eyeing their own $25M contracts, maybe this one isn’t regarded as terribly as it was one summer ago?

Another way to sell yourself on a move like this would be to ask questions like the following:

  • How much worse might JG really be than PG? Could that gap narrow over the next four years?
  • How much better if at all is Brandon Ingram? How much cheaper would JG be to obtain?
  • How much better than JG is Mikal Bridges? Mikal posts some pretty comparable statistics, and yet the Nova stud fetched the Nets an even larger haul from the Knicks than they once got for Kevin Durant. Could Grant be an “arbitrage Mikal,” who allows you to save or even add picks, still leaving another ~$30M in salary?
  • Who else could you pair with JG with this summer that you couldn’t if you splurge on names like PG, OG or BI? Could a Grant-KCP duo, while retaining the picks, be better than BI acquired via some of those draft picks?
  • Would the Blazers offer flippable assets or even another helpful player in order to get that salary off their books?

How am I doing? Am I selling too hard? Whose idea was it that cap space and the thought of playing with Embiid and Maxey under Nick Nurse was going to lure stars to Philly anyway?

All food for thought, and again, this is just whispers. But I can tell you this.... if Grant returns to Philly, the Process coming full circle bits will be lit. And we’ll be forced to once again revisit how far the Colangelo takeover set this team back.

Does Jerami Grant make sense as a Sixers trade target? (2024)

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