Blazers path to building a contender after inevitable Damian Lillard trade

Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers, Credit: Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports
Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers, Credit: Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports /
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Jerami Grant, Portland Trail Blazers
Jerami Grant, Portland Trail Blazers, Credit: Stephen Lew – USA TODAY Sports /

Step No. 4: Get off Jerami Grant’s contract

The Blazers recently re-signed Jerami Grant to a lucrative five-year, $160 million contract. Their hands were tied regarding Grant at the time, because it was still unknown if Lillard wanted to remain in Portland; this was a signing Portland needed to make to show Lillard that the organization was committed to competing.

It was a unique situation because although Grant agreed, the two parties technically only reached an official deal after Lillard announced his trade request. Nonetheless, the Blazers signed the 29-year-old forward to one of the offseason’s largest contracts.

Now, the team can’t trade Grant until after Jan. 15.

Grant had an excellent season for Portland last year that somewhat justified his massive contract. He averaged 20.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.4 assists on 48/40/81 shooting splits. Grant was a great complementary piece alongside Lillard. He was a great floor spacer who could also get his own bucket and defend wings with his 6-foot-8 frame and 7-foot-3 wingspan.

However, the team does not need Grant’s services. He will help them win games, and regardless of what Cronin says about the team remaining competitive, Portland’s best shot at a championship is bottoming out and initiating a full-on rebuild.

Next. 7 Blazers to keep long-term after Lillard trade. dark

The organization wants Grant’s contract, which includes a $36.4 million player option in 2027-28, off the books. Even if Portland doesn’t get many serviceable assets in return due to the contract, it needs to provide itself with more long-term flexibility.