Pursuing Jerami Grant trade would make too sense for the Cavs

Jerami Grant, Detroit Pistons and Lauri Markkanen, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports)
Jerami Grant, Detroit Pistons and Lauri Markkanen, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Cleveland Cavaliers saw their first winning basketball in a non-LeBron James year since 1998, led by a 22-year-old Darius Garland, a 24-year-old Jarrett Allen, and a 20-year-old Evan Mobley. This trio was 26-14 in games they played together, a 53-win pace.

What’s fascinating about the Cavaliers’ success this season is that they did so without Collin Sexton for the majority of the season, the leading scorer on the team since being drafted. With a re-signing seemingly imminent, Sexton should slot back into his starting shooting guard role.

With that core intact, the team’s focus should revolve around having quality, complementary pieces to surround them. Things like point guard and center depth are needed but, in my opinion, aren’t as big of an issue as the wing depth is.

The Cavaliers made notable moves to improve their depth, trading for Lauri Markkanen last offseason and Caris LeVert before this year’s trade deadline. Both moves have had mixed results.

Lauri Markkanen had an up-and-down year but finished this season strong which bodes well heading into the offseason. That wasn’t the same for LeVert as he left a lot to be desired overall, considering how much draft capital he cost.

Outside of those two, the wing position consists of Cedi Osman, Isaac Okoro, Lamar Stevens, Dean Wade, and Dylan Windler.

The wing depth needs improvements and looking at what the Cavaliers could want, they’d need a player that would complement both the guard and frontcourt duos. A player with length to defend, a respectable jumper, and shot creation ability, and there’s one that comes to mind.

Jerami Grant has been a player rumored to be mentioned in trade discussions throughout this season, with many teams being linked to him, and for good reason. Since signing with the Detroit Pistons, his offensive game has taken a huge leap, averaging 20 points over the two seasons he’s been there.

Grant’s time with the Pistons hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows, however, and he’s seemed to gain a bad rep. The move to Detroit for a bigger offensive role gave people the sense that Grant valued stats over wins. While his scoring has improved, his efficiency took a plummet, and the defensive prowess he once had just hasn’t been there.

It’s things like those that could make teams hesitant on a trade but it’s easy to debunk what has been said about him.

Looking at the efficiency decrease, that’s just what comes with more shots, and tougher shots at that. The team also hasn’t done Grant any favors as they scored the third-fewest points this season, were the second-worst team when it came to three-point shooting and had the seventh-fewest assists per game.

His defensive presence doesn’t feel as high as it did during his time with the Oklahoma City or Denver Nuggets but once again, his team didn’t do him any favors. I’d envision the advanced stats would be much better having Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen as his backline defense.

Questioning how much of a team player he is, I believe his choice to go to Detroit was looked at as a chance to show the league his offensive capabilities rather than “chasing stats” as some would say.

So, what would a potential trade look like?

Evan Dammarell of Fear The Sword and Right Down Euclid discussed a potential move for Jerami Grant in a recent mailbag/report, with Markkanen or LeVert being used as the cap filler plus picks to spice up the deal. Markkanen being the key filler would need a team-friendly addition in there, but not much.

And with Grant being on an expiring deal, I don’t envision him costing more than a cap filler and a couple of seconds as draft capital. The team could also add Dylan Windler as a “first-round pick,” either with Markkanen or LeVert.

Some will argue that the Cavs should roll into next season with Caris LeVert as he’s already established within the organization but if the team has a chance to get better, they should pounce on the opportunity.

Grant is bigger than LeVert, improves the versatility, is a better shooter, is more athletic, a better strongside/weakside defender, a better on-ball defender, has higher off-ball scoring potential, and the list just goes on and on.

What’s not to like about a trade like this? LeVert is replaceable and those seconds could help in potential trades. Grant’s fit is nearly seamless and his play should improve, in this sense, playing alongside the team’s core.

The biggest question would be extension talks, whether or not Grant would want to stay, and how much he’d command in the open market looking onward. It was reported back in January by Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report that Grant was seeking in the ballpark of a four-year, $112 million extension, for what it’s worth. We’d have to see, though.

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If the Cavs can get past these hurdles, a potential trade for Grant would make too much sense.