4 Jerami Grant trades Detroit Pistons should pursue ahead of Feb. 10 deadline

Detroit Free Press

Jerami Grant has emerged as one of the NBA’s most desirable players ahead of the Feb. 10 trade deadline, and the Detroit Pistons have incentive to move him.

The NBA is incredibly deep this season, and because of Grant’s contract, a contending team could have him  for two playoff runs instead of one by trading for him now rather than during the summer.

Don’t expect the Pistons to bite at an underwhelming deal. If they move Grant, it’ll be for a trade that meaningfully enhances Detroit’s rebuild. Here are four deals that make sense:

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Pistons trade Jerami Grant to Chicago Bulls for Patrick Williams and Derrick Jones Jr.

This has probably been the most popular potential Grant deal on the internet, and for good reason. The Chicago Bulls have the best record in the Eastern Conference and are exceeding most projections. DeMar DeRozan (26.0 points per game) and Zach LaVine (25.6 points per game) have formed one of the NBA’s most formidable scoring duos, and have been flanked by a strong supporting cast including Lonzo Ball and Nikola Vucevic. Chicago has several assets it could part with to fortify a potential NBA Finals run.

Patrick Williams, the fourth overall pick of the 2020 NBA draft, is a player the Pistons were high on during the pre-draft process, per sources. Williams will miss the rest of the season after tearing ligaments in his wrist and undergoing surgery, but he’s still a 6-foot-7 athletic wing who projects well as a two-way player. At 20 years old, he fits Detroit’s timeline.

Jones has been a solid bench player for Chicago this season and would give the Pistons additional athleticism, but Williams would be the prize here.

The Bulls may not have a strong reason to part ways with Williams barely a year into his NBA career. But Grant is a great fit for Chicago’s starting five and would bolster their playoff hopes by providing size along the perimeter, some weak-side rim protection, and additional floor-spacing.

If the Bulls want to make a move for Grant, the best time to do so is now.

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Grant and Josh Jackson to Hawks for Onyeka Okongwu and Danilo Gallinari

The Hawks, unlike the Bulls, have been in a backslide this season. After appearing in the Eastern Conference finals last season, Atlanta is currently two games behind the Boston Celtics for the final play-in spot. The East is more competitive this season, and while the Hawks boast a top-five offense, they are a bottom-five defensive team. Their general manager, Travis Schlenk, recently implied that they will be active at the deadline. 

The Hawks traded one of their blossoming young players, Cam Reddish, to the New York Knicks on Thursday. They have a second young player who could appeal to the Pistons — Onyeka Okongwu, who fits a bigger need as a center.

The sixth pick of the 2020 draft, Okongwu hasn’t played significant minutes for the Hawks due to their depth at center. But his numbers have been strong. He started two games this season due to injuries to Clint Capela and Gorgui Dieng and tallied a combined 22 points, 18 rebounds, five assists and three blocks.

According to Cleaning The Glass, Okongwu shot 77% at the rim last season and 88% at the rim this season in eight games. Those numbers rank in the 91st and 100th percentile among bigs, respectively. He’s also efficient from short midrange and has a very healthy block percentage. 

Okongwu benefits from playing on a high-powered offense with good spacing, so it might be unrealistic to expect his efficiency to remain that high as a Piston this season. But as a defensively-versatile big, he fills a need for a team that has lacked depth at the five. The one downside is that Okongwu is 6-8, similar to Isaiah Stewart. The Pistons need talent though and may opt to figure out any fit-related issues down the road.

Grant to Kings for Buddy Hield and 2022 first round pick

The Kings are in an interesting spot. They’re currently 1½ games outside of the play-in tournament and would miss the playoffs for an NBA-record 16th straight year if the season ended today. They need to do something — anything — to avoid that.

Hield would fill an immediate need for the Pistons, who are the NBA’s second worst-shooting team from outside, as a shameless 3-point gunner. He’s knocking down 38% of his 9.4 attempts from 3 per game. Only Stephen Curry and Damian Lillard are taking more. Hield is coming off of the bench for Sacramento, but could seize a larger role on an offense-starved Pistons team. He’s on a declining deal and will make $21 million next season and $19 million in 2023-24 before entering unrestricted free agency.

PREVIOUSLY: Will the Pistons move Jerami Grant now, or later?

But the main appeal of this trade for the Pistons is the 2022 pick. If Sacramento misses the playoffs, it would give Detroit two lottery picks this summer. That has obvious benefits for a team in the thick of a rebuild, but the Pistons should also prioritize acquiring more draft capital because they still owe Oklahoma City a future first-rounder (Stewart trade with the Houston Rockets).

Grant and Cory Joseph to Minnesota Timberwolves for Taurean Prince, Malik Beasley, Jaden McDaniels and 2022 first-round pick

Things aren’t as dire for the Wolves as they are for the Kings, but Minnesota is another franchise that could look to boost its playoff hopes during the second half of the season. The Wolves have just one playoff appearance and two winning seasons since 2004, are currently a game under .500 and just 2½ games behind the fifth seed. They would benefit from adding a fourth piece to their core of Karl-Anthony Towns, Anthony Edwards and D’Angelo Russell.

Veterans Taurean Prince and Malik Beasley are making a combined $17.3 million this season, and essentially function as salary-filler for the main appeal of this trade for Detroit:  McDaniels and a 2022 first.

A 6-9 forward and the 28th pick of the 2020 draft, McDaniels got off to a slow start this season but stepped up for the Wolves when they had multiple players out — including Towns, Edwards and Russell — due to health and safety protocols. In eight games from Dec. 19 until Jan. 3, he averaged 13.9 points and 5.8 rebounds while shooting 51.2% overall and 32.4% from 3.

The Wolves’ pick this year is unlikely to be a lottery pick, but Troy Weaver has shown that he can find value later in the draft. Saddiq Bey, who has been one of Detroit’s best players since Grant went down with a thumb injury, was the 19th pick in 2020.

Contact Omari Sankofa II at osankofa@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @omarisankofa.

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