Damian Lillard could have said all the right things about wanting to stay in Portland, but he also knew the power of his words during this off-season.
Without uncertainty, he made it clear that he had to see the franchise move this summer to bring him and the Blazers back in a position to succeed immediately.
Portland did just that, concluding a deal with the Detroit Pistons that saw Jeremy Grant go to the Blazers in exchange for a pick in the first round in 2025 (via the Milwaukee Bucks).
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This is according to of ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski, who added that Detroit is also trading its 46th pick in this year’s draft with Portland 36th pick in addition to the Blazers’ second-round 2025 and second-round 2026.
Detroit is sending Grant a $ 21 million ($ 30 million) trade exemption, which means the Pistons now have $ 43 million ($ 4A62 million) in salary cap for transactions they need to make at free agencies.
That stock could only grow, with NBA reporter Keith Smith predicting the Pistons could have up to $ 56 million ($ 81 million) to work on if they leave their other free agents.
Marvin Bagley III, Cory Joseph, Frank Jackson, Rodney McGruder, Jamorko Pickett, Luka Garza and Hamidou Diallo are set to leave the free company this summer.
“This is important for the Blazers who want to reshape their roster around Damian Lillard,” said Wojnarowski. Athletic Center on Thursday morning [AEST].
“This is a player that Lillard was very high on. For Joe Cronin, the new CEO, this is an important move. “Portland has the seventh option and the opportunity to get better there.”
The Blazers will now move on with the intention of building around Cade Cunningham, with the fifth overall pick in this year’s draft.
Grant, on the other hand, is a high-level two-way player who will immediately improve Portland’s playoff chances after finishing last season with a record of 27-55 (.329).
The trade could also have an impact on where Australian troop candidate Dyson Daniels will land.
The 19-year-old has worked with the Blazers and has a high chance of taking Portland with his seventh overall choice on Friday (AEST).
However, Portland is reportedly considering shopping around option 7 as part of a package to get a win-now asset in return.
Atlanta Hawks star John Collins, for example, was heavily linked with the Blazers before Thursday’s trade.
While there is still the possibility of exchanging the seventh option, the Grant trade suggests that they could actually stay in place, so Daniels could well head to Portland.
The focus for the Blazers will now be on both the night draft and the re-signing of Afernee Simons (with limited numbers) and Jusuf Nurkic, who are set to become free agents this summer.