The Feb. 10 NBA trade deadline is fast approaching, and we’ve reached that exciting time of the season when the contending teams and the tanking teams get together to see what kind of mutually beneficial deals might be made.
The Phoenix Suns have established themselves as the best team in the NBA so far, so there’s a solid argument they don’t need to make a major move at all. But the reality is they likely will do SOMETHING.
In this article, the first of many on this topic, let’s take a look at one guy whose name is circulating in trade speculation around the league:
Detroit Pistons PF/SF Jerami Grant
Who he is:
An eight-year pro out of Syracuse, Grant is a 6’8 210 lb player who can comfortably move around the frontcourt on both ends of the floor. He was a role player for his first six years in the league before emerging as a bona fide scorer last season.
A career 35% three point shooter on three attempts per game, Grant has the ability to fit well into the Suns’ offense where he would benefit quite a bit from the gravity produced by the Phoenix scorers who are far superior to his teammates in Detroit.
In case you missed it or are just interested in refreshing yourself on the range of offensive skills Grant possesses, check out the highlights of his 34 point performance against our Suns in December.
Defensively Grant can guard at least three positions well and is in no danger of being played off the floor by either large or small lineups.
While Grant’s defensive metrics don’t jump out as anything special this season, he has been known as a bulldog defender as recently as a year or two ago and landing in Phoenix could easily reignite that in him. This video shows him matching up on both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George as a member of the Denver Nuggets, displaying tenacious on-ball defense that gave both superstars trouble.
He’s rehabbing a sprained thumb right now, but is reportedly nearing game readiness and has averaged 20.1 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game in 24 games this season.
How the Suns could get him:
Grant wouldn’t come especially cheap.
The trade I could make work would send Dario Saric, Jalen Smith, and Landry Shamet to the Pistons to meet the financial needs. According to the ESPN Trade Machine, this trade works even with the poison pill provision on Shamet. That’s a LOT, but Grant is a guy averaging 20 points per game, so you can’t expect him to just be given away for scraps.
For the Suns, you’d be getting a top option off the bench or (even controversially) a starter in exchange for three players who don’t expect to contribute much if anything the remainder of the season. The Pistons would be getting three smaller contracts, including Smith’s whose option was not exercised. It could be an attractive deal for them as they look to rebuild, and I’d expect the Suns would also likely have to spare a first round pick.
Is it realistic?
We know from reports that several teams have expressed some interest in Grant, and the Pistons are sitting in 14th place as one of the two or three worst teams in the NBA. So this is certainly a situation crying out for a deal. The real question would be whether what the Suns were willing to offer was close to the best the Pistons could get. Grant supposedly has a list of preferred trade destinations, but it’s hard to imagine a top title contender would be a place he’d complain about playing, even if in a bench role.
The first-place Suns aren’t under pressure to make any kind of splashy transaction. But it’s not always easy to find deals for the players you want the most, and it seems a very good bet Grant is available at a price the Suns could afford. I would expect his efficiency to rise as a Sun, as the lack of pressure to be the top option as he is in Detroit would result in an ability to choose his shots much more.
There are other tempting targets, for sure, but Grant could make some sense for the Suns if (as is appropriate) they are all-in on winning it all.