Oklahoma City Is trading F Jerami Grant to Denver for a 2020 first-round pick, league sources tell ESPN. Deal brings OKC it’s sixth future first in past week and saves Thunder $39M in salary and luxury tax.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 8, 2019
Woj doesn’t specifically mention a TPE, but it doesn’t sound like the Nuggets are sending a player back in this deal, meaning Denver will be absorbing Grant into a TPE created from trading Kenneth Faried on July 13th last offseason.
Grant, 25, is one of the better power forwards in the NBA and an excellent complementary player for Nikola Jokic. In 2018-19, the 6’9 Grant with a 7’3 wingspan averaged 13.6 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks in 32.7 minutes per game for the Thunder, playing next to Russell Westbrook, Paul George, and Steven Adams consistently. Grant started 77 of the 80 games he played in, showcasing elite consistency throughout the year.
What’s most exciting about the deal for Denver is they may have found their long term solution at power forward next to Nikola Jokic. Again, Grant is just 25 years old and will be entering the prime years of his career very shortly. He’s defensive minded, with a +0.86 Defensive Real Plus-Minus, spaced the floor well last year by shooting 39.2% from three-point range, and doesn’t need the ball in his hands every play to make a consistent impact. On Oklahoma City last year, Grant ranked fourth in touches per game and averaged just 1.32 seconds per touch, yet he remained active and efficient in his limited opportunities. Think of Grant as having the potential to be Kenneth Faried in Denver’s offense with extended range and lesser rebounding.
How Grant fits into the Nuggets rotation remains to be seen. There’s a possibility the Nuggets may play him in a bench role for one season before handing him the reins as the starter in 2020 when Millsap’s contract expires, but I don’t expect them to do that. I actually think Grant was a more valuable player than Millsap last year and has an opportunity to start in 2019.
My highest graded complementary forwards this year:— Ryan Blackburn (@NBABlackburn) July 5, 2019
1. Robert Covington
2. Jerami Grant
3. P.J. Tucker
4. Paul Millsap
5. Otto Porter
Verdict: Russell Westbrook has a lot of help and completely screwed the pooch in the playoffs this year. Again.
Whatever the case may be, the Nuggets did great to make use of at least one of their TPEs before they expired. This deal wouldn’t have been possible without them. Grant’s $9.3 million is guaranteed next year before a Player Option in 2020, but giving up a first round pick for Grant means that Denver would probably like to keep Grant around long term, and I would expect Denver to either try and negotiate a long term extension or do what they can to bring him back next year.
But Nuggets fans are going to love Jerami Grant. He hustles, can switch defensively, blocks shots at the rim, and his budding offensive skill set should allow the Nuggets to make the necessary improvements to their offense next season. I’m looking forward to seeing what he provides to Denver’s rotation next year.