5 Players Blazers could swap Jerami Grant for to keep tanking hopes alive

Jerami Grant, Portland Trail Blazers. (Photo by Amanda Loman/Getty Images)
Jerami Grant, Portland Trail Blazers. (Photo by Amanda Loman/Getty Images) /
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The Portland Trail Blazers made the interesting decision to re-sign Jerami Grant to a five-year, $160 million contract this offseason. Maybe it deserves a word other than interesting – Confusing? Unwise? Illogical? Nonsensical?

Regardless, Grant is back in Portland as a veteran starter alongside a young franchise-cornerstone trio of Scoot Henderson, Shaedon Sharpe and Anfernee Simons. As the Blazers are still expected to trade Damian Lillard at some point, the former Syracuse standout will become one of the most proven NBA players on a team expected to lean into a rebuild.

It’s not the worst idea ever to have Grant back in the fold. He fits well alongside the team’s future big three as a long, athletic two-way combo forward who shot better than 40 percent from three last season. However, the 29-year-old isn’t a seamless fit in Portland’s long-term rebuilding plan.

There’s a chance, then, that Grant becomes a trade chip by the time the 2023-24 trade deadline rolls around. Moving his contract won’t be easy, but he would be a useful player for a contender.

If the Blazers decide to send one of their key starters packing, what players might they get in return that could help the organization continue down the tanking/rebuilding path and help set it up for another high lottery pick in the 2024 NBA Draft?

Here are five of them.

Option No. 1: Davis Bertans, Oklahoma City Thunder

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was a First Team All-NBA player last season and is showing it on a worldwide stage now at the FIBA World Cup. With a load of future draft assets, the plan in Oklahoma City has always seemingly been to continue building for the future – but does SGA’s massive leap into one of the league’s elite players speed things up?

If that’s the decision Thunder General Manager Sam Presti decides to make, a veteran such as Grant would fit nicely between cornerstones Gilgeous-Alexander, Chet Holmgren and Jalen Williams as a defender and floor spacer who could help make a deep postseason run.

From Portland’s perspective, getting an expiring contract like Bertans in return would be solid. The 32-year-old Latvian has an early termination option in 2024-25 with just $5 million guaranteed. The Blazers could exercise that and let him go, freeing up more than $10 million in cap space to use in the future.