Hollinger: The Pistons-Blazers deal may be the first domino to fall

To share the first deal of the NBA draft week, and one that gives clues as to what could be too two of the most exciting front office seasons, it’s best to start with a simple question. Or rather two questions:

The first is this: if you could exchange CJ McCollum for Jerami Grant and Josh Hart, would you do it?

The second is: What if I said Grant and Hart together earn less than McCollum?

Portland’s trade in Grant strengthens, at least somewhat, the foundation of the shaky theoretical Jenga Tower, Trail Blazers’ decision to rebuild Damian Lillard, not just trade with Lillard and start over.

In conclusion, this is not exactly McCollum’s trade against Hart and Grant, but it is close enough. In February, Portland sent McCollum to Hart, New Orleans, for the first and two seconds, with the first appearing to be the 11th choice on Thursday – until Paul George got COVID-19 and became Bucks’ first in 2025.

The inclusion of Larry Nance in the transaction and several other salaries on both sides created a $ 20.5 million trade exemption from July large enough to take the Grant into later trade. It didn’t seem to happen by accident.

From now on, Wednesday, when the Blazers took the same first and two seconds from Milwaukee and swapped options 36 and 46 in the 2022 draft and swapped it with Detroit to take Grant into his exception. (The exact seconds that go to the Pistons are second to Detroit itself in 2025 and second to Portland or New Orleans in 2026.)

So if you keep the score, Portland is now expected to start a very active off-season season, maintaining its lottery selection and still gaining a big wing. It can be said that Grant’s idea has never really come true, except for the first half of his 2020-2021 season, and that he is not worth his $ 20.7 million salary next year. It can be argued just as strongly that the Blazers did not have large wings and that was the best that was reasonably available to them. Blazers may extend the Grant Agreement for six months; otherwise he will be a free agent next summer.

At the same time, Detroit fans who dreamed of a sugar-plum Portland 2022 draft seventh option with this deal will no doubt be disappointed, but it never seemed like a realistic comeback for Grant – especially if the Pistons didn’t have to accept it. return all wages, not even one of the various dead money transactions at the back of the Portland list.

Leaving the grant without taking back anything, while probably a late first time in 2025, a 10-time shift in the second round of 2022, and two pretty good future seconds, is nothing but sneezing. I doubt they would have bought better elsewhere. The Pistons can now give up their team choices for Carsen Edwards, Luka Garza and Frank Jackson, and will soon have $ 47 million, more than enough to leave the maximum bid to Miles Bridges or Deandre Ayton, or perhaps Dallas defender Jalen Brunson.

The Pistons could also take a win in the Grant contract, which seemed like a dramatic overpayment at the time, but Detroit has now invested in the equity of the future draft without real costs in the two years in between. Whatever other oddities there have been in Detroit over the past two years (one of their reclaimed choices was one of the four seconds they sent Clippers in this bizarre Luke Kennard deal), the Grant Agreement was the biggest contribution of the Troy Weaver regime. so far and it hit.

In Detroit, the obvious question now is whether it was just a speculative game about football space or whether it was done in the knowledge that a particular player is ready and willing to log into Pistons game space. Grant could, for example, be part of a contract with Phoenix for Ayton; this opportunity is now gone. Between today and July 1, the Pistons will hold the title of the most interesting team.

As for Portland, the opportunity cost of moving to a Grant Transaction is that it makes it much more difficult to transact for other targets; this huge trade exception to the McCollum deal is now gone. This can be problematic because a better, younger wing that earns less money, OG Anunoby, also seems to be their destination.

To get Anunoby, Portland would certainly have to cough up his seventh choice in the 2022 draft, but the deal is now difficult to complete as the trade exception has disappeared. The Raptors would not necessarily want much of what Portland could offer in return for a suitable contract (for example, Eric Bledsoe’s full guarantee of $ 19 million for next year); Blazers would probably also be a taxpayer if they made such a transaction. Obviously, Hart could go into this deal, too, but I assume Blazers would like to keep him and place Hart-Grant-Anunoby in two-three-four places.

The alternative is a pu pu platter that brings together six different contracts to match Anunoby’s salary, and then adds the seventh option as a cherry. It works easier when Nassir Little is in a deal, but Little is, according to my hearing, FOD (Friends of Dame) and is therefore more likely to be left out of such an agreement.

If so, a sloppy combination of Greg Brown, Justise Winslow, Keon Johnson, Didi Louzada, Trendon Watford and contractor Elijah Hughes would be appropriate. from July enough money to be legal tender in the Anunoby swap, provided the trade took place after the July moratorium. If the Raptors added two separate small contracts (such as Svi Mykhailiuk and Armoni Brooks), they would create a $ 17 million trade exemption.

(Side note: if OG Anunoby is actually available, the Grizzlies will definitely call Masai Ujir every 30 minutes and then ping Bobby Webster at the age of 15 and 45. They’ve been hunting for a big wing for two years to tie to their current core. Now and if necessary Anunoby The only question is what other players and drafts should return to Memphis and whether the price is too high, and of course if Anunoby is actually available.)

Blazers has other factors to consider. Adding Anunoby would leave them with only about $ 40 million in tax, even if Bledsoe is abandoned. They would still have to re-sign Jusuf Nurkic and Anfernee Simons and fill in three to seven more empty lists, depending on how the trade is set up.

Even if this were not obvious, the Blazers-Pistons transaction could be a domino, driving many other commercial activities. Detroit can take dead-ceiling contracts and still have enough to sign a contract; Portland No. 7 is very much at stake and Blazers has other scenarios to work on. The book is only partially written about this deal, depending on the future progress of each team, but I suspect we will be going back to this deal a lot in the coming months and years.

Related reading

Edwards: Why did the Pistons make a deal with Jerami Grant now?
Harper: Evaluation of the Pistons-Blazers trade

(Photo by Jerami Grant: Dan Hamilton / USA Today)

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