With the 2024 NBA trade deadline less than four weeks away, it's time for general manager Joe Cronin and the Portland Trail Blazers front office to begin soul-searching. With a chance of a higher draft pick always in mind, the franchise wants to close out the season by seeing improvement in its young cornerstone pieces.
The futility needed to earn that high draft pick has been obvious. The improvement part, not always so much.
So what does Portland want to do by Feb. 8? Does Cronin want to keep some veteran players such as Matisse Thybulle, Jerami Grant and Malcolm Brogdon around as leaders and buffers or does he sell high and let the young guys improve by getting more minutes and taking their lumps?
5 best trade landing spots for Jerami Grant
Grant has been the Blazers' best player this season, and while he may not be Portland's most valuable trade asset because of his five-year, $160 million contract, he's one of the best and most productive players theoretically available if Cronin is open to dealing him.
The 29-year-old has played at a borderline all-star level this year, scoring 21.1 points per game and hitting a career-high 41.1 percent from three. His defense has tailed off a bit, but he's still athletic, rangy and intelligent.
A player with with Grant's offensive production, defensive capabilities and willingness to play a role - he settled in well as a third option last season in Portland alongside Damian Lillard and Anfernee Simons - should be attractive to contenders looking to grab a three-and-D combo forward.
(As a bonus, acquiring teams wouldn't have to shell out max money in the offseason or risk losing a player entirely as they would with Pascal Siakam.)
These teams are the best fits for Grant's two-way production if the Blazers are willing to deal.
5. Detroit Pistons
The Detroit Pistons have already participated in this year's trade deadline extravaganza, dealing Marvin Bagley III and Isaiah Livers to the Washington Wizards for Danilo Gallinari and Mike Muscala.
Sure, Gallinari and Muscala could provide some floor spacing for a historically awful Pistons team shooting 34.4 percent from three this season, but realistically the trade increases Detroit's offseason cap space to potentially around $60 million. But what free agents are the Pistons attracting?
None. So if you can't sign a player with your open cap space, maybe you can trade for one. Say, one already under contract for another four seasons who's already spent two years (2020-21, '21-22) in Detroit as the team's go-to scorer. Grant could land back in the Motor City in a similar role.