Detroit Pistons Should Immediately Shut Down Jerami Grant to Avoid Potential Trade Disaster

The Detroit Pistons need to shut down star forward Jerami Grant as soon as possible. With nine games left on the schedule and Grant being a major trade piece moving forward, first and foremost, the Pistons can’t afford an injury.

Winning will come soon enough for Detroit, especially if the franchise can secure another high pick in the upcoming NBA Draft to play alongside rookie sensation Cade Cunningham

For now, though, the Pistons need to think about the future, and protecting Grant’s trade value is extremely important in that regard.

Report: The Portland Trail Blazers are seriously interested in Jerami Grant

Jerami Grant, Detroit Pistons
Jerami Grant #9 of the Detroit Pistons looks on against the Orlando Magic | Nic Antaya/Getty Images

The Pistons know a thing or two about a rebuild, so it only fits that an organization at the beginning of its own rebuild, the Portland Trail Blazers, is considering doing some offseason business with the Motor City

The Blazers were tied closely with Grant before the trade deadline when they offloaded Norman Powell to the Los Angeles Clippers and CJ McCollum to the New Orleans Pelicans. They weren’t able to bring in a player like Grant to play alongside Damian Lillard and the newly acquired Josh Hart, though.

It’s not hard to see what the Blazers are trying to build. With a core of Lillard, Hart, and Anfernee Simons already in place, Portland could be one key starter away from quickly rebounding and climbing back up to contender status in the NBA’s Western Conference.

A do-everything player like Grant would make sense for Portland, so it’s no shock to hear that the Blazers are still heavily interested in the Detroit star.

“A guy that I’m told they’re going to look at closely [is] Jerami Grant in Detroit,” Shams Charania of The Athletic recently reported. “They pursued him at the deadline, [but] obviously did not get anything done. If they get that New Orleans pick to be a lottery pick, that will be a very enticing offer for Detroit.”

The Detroit Pistons could take a major step forward with an extra lottery pick

From Detroit’s point of view, the critical part of Charania’s report comes at the very end when he mentions the 2022 first-round pick the Blazers would receive from the Pelicans as part of the trade that sent McCollum to the Bayou State.

If that pick falls anywhere from No. 5 to No. 14 in the upcoming draft, it would be Portland’s to keep and thus potentially use it as trade bait.

That’s where the Pistons may find themselves factoring in.

Detroit general manager Troy Weaver already knows he will be picking in the lottery again, and there’s a decent chance the Pistons will end up in the Top 5 of the draft. 

Detroit currently has a 20-53 record, with only the Orlando Magic and Houston Rockets worse in the standings. If things hold up and the Pistons end up in the bottom three of the league as they did last season, they, along with the other two teams at the bottom, will have the best odds to land the No. 1 pick.

Last season, those odd (14%) landed Detroit the No. 1 pick and, ultimately, Cunningham, who appears to be a franchise-altering player. 

This season, Detroit could end up in the same position, and they’ll undoubtedly at least end up high in the draft.

One has to imagine Weaver would be extremely enticed to trade Grant, who’s 28-years-old, for the prospect of being able to add two more lottery picks to his young but exciting roster.

It would be a win-win for both parties. Portland would get the chip they hope would take them over the top in Grant.

Detroit would have two shots at the top 14 players in the 2022 NBA Draft.

You can’t draw it up better than that, which is why it’s so essential Grant remains healthy for Detroit.

There are multiple reasons for the Pistons to shut Grant down

Jerami Grant, Detroit Pistons
Jerami Grant #9 of the Detroit Pistons in action against the Brooklyn Nets | Mike Stobe/Getty Images

If the Trail Blazers are serious about coming after Grant and would potentially be willing to part ways with that lottery pick if it ends up in their hands, Detroit has to do everything it can to protect Grant, the trade chip.

That seems callous because he’s been an incredible leader and player for the team since choosing the lowly Pistons in free agency in 2020, but the simple truth is this: While Grant is important for the current Pistons on the floor, scoring 19.5 points per game, he’s even more valuable to the Pistons for what he can do for their future.

He’s more valuable as trade bait. If he can net Detroit a lottery pick in 2022, there’s nothing he can do on the floor over the next nine games to justify him being out there.

Not only does that help the team in the future, but his absence also helps the team in the present, at least from a developmental standpoint.

When Grant doesn’t play, Cunningham has to be “the guy”. There’s really no other choice but for him to take over the offense, and we’ve seen that lead to big games, which ultimately leads to growth for the young superstar.

The same can be said for Saddiq Bey. Is he a complementary player on a playoff team who is suitable for an explosive game every few weeks? Or, is he the potential part of a big three in Detroit?

It’s worth noting that Bey put up 51 points a few games ago in Orlando with Grant on the sideline taking a rest day.

Grant needs to be out and stay out for the rest of the season. If you’re not convinced of that, just imagine the disastrous scenario of Grant rolling an ankle (or worse) in a meaningless game against the Oklahoma City Thunder in early April. Not only would the injury be meaningless, but the Pistons could essentially kiss Grant’s pre-draft trade value goodbye.

He’s worked hard over the last few years in Detroit. Let him get some much-deserved rest and keep him off his feet for some time — at least until the Pistons are able to ship him out to Portland. 

Stats courtesy of ESPN.

RELATED: Settling for Jerami Grant Could Derail the Blazers’ Retool as Quickly as it Began