After weeks of rumors and speculation, the Detroit Pistons have retained their top trade asset and highest-paid player.
The Pistons and second-year general manager Troy Weaver held onto forward Jerami Grant at the 2022 NBA trade deadline Thursday, the Free Press confirmed. The Pistons didn’t get the asking price they wanted in return and didn’t feel rushed to trade him just to make a deal.
The team could move Grant during the offseason this summer, either at the June draft or during free agency.
A free agent in 2023, Grant reportedly is seeking a contract extension this summer up to his four-year, $112 million limit, and wants a continued sizeable role on offense. In January, it was reported he gave the Pistons a preferred list of teams if he were to be dealt.
Earlier Thursday, the Pistons acquired power forward Marvin Bagley III in a multi-team deal and sent out Josh Jackson, Trey Lyles and two second-round picks.
In 29 games this season, Grant has averaged 19.1 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, one steal and one block. He’s shooting 40.4% overall — his shot attempts are down from 17.3 last season to 15.5 — and 33.1% from 3 (5.3 attempts per game). His eFG% has dropped from a below-average 49.1 last season to 46.1 this season, ranking in the bottom 15 out of 229 qualified players. He’s shooting 83.2% on 5.8 free-throw attempts per game. (League averages this season: 45.5% overall, 34.9% on 3s, 77.3% on free throws and 52.5 eFG%.)
Grant, who turns 28 in March, recently returned from a 24-game absence due to a thumb injury and health and safety protocols, which held him out of the lineup from Dec. 12 until Jan. 30.
Grant stunned many when he left the title contending Denver Nuggets to sign a three-year, $60 million deal with the Pistons in 2020 free agency, citing the desire for a bigger role and the desire to play for a Black coach and Black GM in a Black city. Grant and Weaver worked together previously in Oklahoma City.
Grant had a breakout season in 2020-21 in his first year with the Pistons, earning All-Star consideration in the season’s first half and finishing second to the Knicks’ Julius Randle for the Most Improved Player award. In 54 games, he averaged a career-best 22.3 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.1 blocks over 33.9 minutes per game. He shot 42.9% overall, 35% on 3-pointers (6.1 attempts per game) and 84.5% on 6.4 free-throw attempts per game.
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The Pistons are one of the few teams who will enter this summer with significant cap space, along with Orlando, Portland, Indiana and San Antonio. The Pistons currently own the league’s worst record at 12-42, with Orlando at 13-43, and would be one of three teams with a 14% chance at winning the draft lottery this spring. The Pistons would also be guaranteed to pick in the top five, with the top three projected prospects all 6 feet 10 or bigger in Auburn’s Jabari Smith, Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren and Duke’s Paolo Banchero.
This could complicate Grant’s place in the rebuild.
For now though, the Pistons won’t have to make any decisions until June 23’s draft.
Contact Omari Sankofa II at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @omarisankofa. The Free Press now has digital subscription model. Here’s how you can gain access to our most exclusive Pistons content. Read more on the Detroit Pistons and sign up for our Pistons newsletter.