The biggest saga of the Portland Trail Blazers’ offseason is what the team will do with Damian Lillard. Their star guard recently requested a trade, hoping for the chance to play for a contender before his career is through. If he gets his way, he’ll head to Miami, though the Blazers are considering all offers. Before Lillard’s request became public, the Blazers re-signed Jerami Grant, likely in an attempt to get Lillard to reconsider his decision.
The Blazers offered Grant a five-year, $160 million contract. It’s certainly an overpay — Grant has never made an All-Star team, is nearly 30 years old, and likely won’t get much better than he currently is. He’s a good, solid player, to be sure, but unless something drastically changes, stardom isn’t on the horizon.
But Grant isn’t worried about that. He bet on himself this year, and it paid off handsomely.
Let’s jump back to January 2023. Grant had only spent about half a year in Portland. The team acquired him from the Detroit Pistons before the season began, parting with a first-round pick and a pair of second-round picks. Grant was in the midst of one of his best seasons in the league. He was playing nearly 36 minutes per night, averaging 20.5 points per game and shooting over 40% from three-point range for the first time in his career.
The Blazers, knowing Grant’s free agency was impending, offered him a four-year, $112.7 million contract. But Grant turned it down, wanting to play the rest of the season before renegotiating in the summer.
Summertime is here, and Grant is getting a big raise. From an average annual salary standpoint, Grant will make an additional $3.8 million per year with this deal. That fifth year may turn out to be a team option, so perhaps Portland ultimately escapes without paying TOO much extra money. Even if that happens, Grant is coming out ahead. He’ll either make between $15.2 and $43.3 million more than he would have if he signed an extension in January.
As one of the top options on the Blazers, Grant and Lillard probably have spent significant time together. Did Grant know about Lillard’s unrest and have a hunch the Blazers would be willing to overpay to try and keep their star happy? Some fans are even grumbling that Lillard made sure Grant got paid and then requested the trade, though it seems like he was planning to make the request before any moves were made.
However the timeline of events unfolded, Grant will be getting a huge payday. He believed in himself — and that turned out to be a fantastic decision.
Jerami Grant Turned Down A $113 Million Contract In January — And That Was A Very Smart Move
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