Amidst the brilliance of Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic during the Nuggets’ magical run in the playoffs, defensive-minded combo forward Jerami Grant grew into a key cog for the young squad. Known primarily for his tremendous work on defense, Grant also showed vastly-improved marksmanship from the three-point line.
With a lengthy 6’9 frame and the mobility of a guard, Grant is the perfect archetype for a defensive wing in today’s positionless basketball. Reports have it that he will opt out of the last year of his contract with the Nuggets, paving the way for the six-year forward to enter unrestricted free agency in the offseason.
There is no doubt that Grant will garner tons of interest in free agency, so here’s a list of the most possible destinations for the 26-year old stalwart.
As the Wolves roll out their young star combo of D’Angelo Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns next season, there’s no doubt that the future looks bright in Minnesota. They also have the top pick in this year’s draft, an opportunity to select either LaMelo Ball or Anthony Edwards.
But defense remains a concern for the team. Malik Beasley, Jarrett Culver, and Josh Okogie have the potential to be great on that end, but they need someone who is versatile enough to cover all bases. That’s where Grant comes in, and it will not come as a surprise if the Wolves aggressively pursue him in free agency.
With the intangibles and the defensive versatility that Grant brings to the table, he would definitely help catapult this inexperienced Wolves squad to greater heights.
With Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum already in charge of the offense, the Blazers will need more defensive arsenal if they want to become an elite championship contender next year. The absence of Trevor Ariza in the bubble hurt their chances of pulling off an upset over the Los Angeles Lakers as they don’t have someone who could guard LeBron James or even Anthony Davis.
Grant has shown that he can at least contain those two stars, so there’s reason to believe that the Blazers will show interest in acquiring him. It won’t be easy as the Blazers’ salary books are already invested in their two backcourt stars, especially considering that Grant will be demanding a bigger payday.
But Portland has to get creative with this and go all-in with their roster moves in the offseason.
It remains to be seen how committed the Nuggets will be in re-signing Grant, but sources have it that the latter is still considering Denver as his priority in the offseason. Grant is averaging 12.0 points and 3.5 rebounds for the Nuggets this season, including a career-best 38% clip from beyond the arc.
So it goes on without saying that the Nuggets have unlocked Grant’s true potential. He is benefitting a lot from all the attention that Murray and Jokic attract, and Grant is making the most out of the opportunity. Most importantly, it is with the Nuggets that he will have the best chance to compete for the championship.
Ultimately, it will come down to how much the Nuggets are willing to pay Grant for his excellent services on both offense and defense.