After one year in Denver, forward Jerami Grant is moving east. The stretchy four is headed to Detroit on a three-year, $60 million deal, reports The Athletic’s Shams Charania. The Pistons have had an active week, trading for Dewayne Dedmon (expected to be waived), while signing Mason Plumlee, Jahlil Okafor, and Josh Jackson. Grant, only 26, averaged 12.0 points and 3.5 rebounds per game for the Nuggets last season. He was a key contributor during Denver’s run to the Western Conference Finals, playing 34.4 minutes a night in the postseason. Let’s grade the deal for the Pistons.
On one hand, the Pistons are signing a player at the forefront of his prime who just proved he could stay on the floor during high stakes moments. That’s great! Grant is a versatile defender who shot 38.9% on 3.5 three pointers a game last year. Those kinds of players aren’t cheap, especially if you want to woo them away from a contender.
On the other hand, Detroit is already paying Blake Griffin $36.6 million dollars this season. Last year’s 15th pick, Sekou Doumbouya, is a power forward. The team just signed two centers, and drafted one this week as well. Basically, it’s a lot of money allocated to a frontcourt that doesn’t make a lot of sense. Is Griffin getting traded? Are Grant and Plumlee, who were a net minus last year, starting together? Is Grant going to play small forward? Maybe something will shake out to make this all make sense. Or maybe the Pistons are leaning into playing comically big.
But even if Detroit perfectly balances the roster, it’s unclear how much Grant will change the ceiling of this team. His type of skillset is much more useful to a ready-made playoff team as opposed to one trying to make the leap up. That doesn’t make this an unworthy signing for the Pistons. Only that both parties may have been better served focusing their energies elsewhere at this particular juncture.