Grade the Trade: Portland Trail Blazers fix their Jerami Grant mistake

Jerami Grant’s five-year, $160 million deal last offseason was a massive overpay. The Trail Blazers can right the ship in this proposed trade with the Raptors.
Feb 13, 2024; Portland, Oregon, USA;  Portland Trail Blazers forward Jerami Grant (9)
Feb 13, 2024; Portland, Oregon, USA; Portland Trail Blazers forward Jerami Grant (9) / Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

Bleacher Report's Andy Bailey proposed one trade for every team in the 2024 NBA Draft lottery. The Portland Blazers are part of two different trade scenarios in the article. One involved sending Jerami Grant to the Toronto Raptors. Here are the details:

Jerami Grant to Raptors

Blazers get off Grant's contract and continue their rebuild

The trade makes more sense for the Blazers than the Raptors. For Portland, the primary reason for doing this trade is to get off Grant's massive contract. Last July, before Damian Lillard officially announced his trade request, Grant signed a five-year, $160 million deal.

This trade proposal offers the Blazers a golden opportunity to reconsider their decision to retain Grant under such a hefty contract. Here's a yearly breakdown of Grant's contract:

  • 2024-25: $29,793,104
  • 2025-26: $32,000,001
  • 2026-27: $34,206,898
  • 2027-28: $36,413,790 (player option)

The decision to sign Grant to a long-term, lucrative deal while keeping the No. 3 pick and selecting Scoot Henderson was contradictory. Since the Blazers went the Henderson route, they should have been all-in with their rebuild plans, which shouldn't have involved Grant. Grant's signing was a half-hearted attempt to convince Lillard to stay with the Blazers, and it wasn't enough. 

Grant battled injuries throughout the season but contributed significantly to the Blazers winning 21 games. Despite only having the fourth-best odds of obtaining the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft Lottery, Portland fell back to pick No. 7. If Grant's 21 points per game weren't part of the picture, perhaps they would have wound up with a better pick. 

Additionally, it would create more opportunities to develop younger wings that better fit their rebuilding timeline through increased minutes and a larger role. With the Blazers seeming likely to select at least one forward with draft picks No. 7 and No. 14, a successful transition to the NBA game could pave the way for significant minutes or even a starting role with Grant out of the equation.

While a first-round pick would be a more enticing offer, the current proposal still holds considerable value for the Blazers. It relieves Portland of Grant's salary burden and brings in the NBA Champion Bruce Brown. Brown averaged 10.8 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 0.9 steals per game on 48/32/82 shooting splits this season. His addition further enhances the value of this trade for the Blazers. 

Brown is a net positive asset and would provide them more trade flexibility, as Brown is on an expiring contract with a $23 million team option for 2024-25. Portland could flip Brown at the trade deadline to a team looking to add one more piece to make a run as a contender. 

He may be worth a first-round pick - if you look at the offer from that perspective, then the Blazers could receive a first-round pick, a first-round pick swap, and a second-round pick - all just for getting off a $160 million contract.

However, analysts said the same about trading Malcolm Brogdon for a first-round pick last offseason, and he's still on the team despite constantly being involved in trade rumors. So, who's to say Brown wouldn't find a home with the Blazers? 

Trail Blazers trade grade: B+