In a January 22 column called “Lakers News: Three Trail Blazers Trades To Upgrade LA,” Alex Kirschenbaum of Sports Illustrated proposed a blockbuster trade between the Los Angeles Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers.
In Kirschenbaum’s hypothetical trade, the Lakers acquire Jerami Grant and Drew Eubanks from the Blazers in exchange for Patrick Beverley, Kendrick Nunn, Troy Brown Jr. and two future draft picks.
“The Lakers are, as you well know, tiny. LA could ditch two of the team’s underperforming guards to bolster its front line in a major way, but it would cost them the most draft equity of any of these deals,” Kirschenbaum wrote. “Jerami Grant, in theory, would be a great fit for Los Angeles. The 6’8″ combo forward can shoot from everywhere, and is a versatile defender capable of guarding shooting guards through power forwards. He can also help alleviate a bit of the scoring burden for the 38-year-old LeBron James, and could play alongside LBJ either at the three or four-spot. The real question is, would Portland be willing to part with Grant? My argument would be: they’re going nowhere fast with this current roster, and the Lakers’ future 2029 first-round draft pick is likely to be incredibly valuable if left unprotected. 6’10” Drew Eubanks would be a nice piece to give LA legitimate size at the backup power forward spot (with apologies to the 6’6″ Brown and JTA).”
Grant would be the real prize for the Lakers in this trade. The 28-year-old will have earned more than $81 million in his career once this season ends. He becomes an unrestricted free agent after signing a three-year, $60 million contract in November 2020.
The Blazers acquired Grant in July 2022 from the Detroit Pistons. The talented forward is making $20.9 million this season. He has played for the Philadelphia 76ers, Oklahoma City Thunder, Denver Nuggets, Pistons and Blazers.
Jerami Grant Could Be a Great 3rd Scoring Option for the Lakers
Grant is averaging 21.6 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.4 assists this season while shooting 49.1% from the field, 42.8% from beyond the arc and 79.8% from the free-throw line. He has scored more than 30 points seven times, including a career-high 44 points against the New York Knicks on November 25.
The Lakers could start Dennis Schroder, Lonnie Walker IV, LeBron James, Grant and Anthony Davis if Los Angeles and Portland completed Kirschenbaum’s trade. That’s three players (Schroder, Walker IV, Grant) who can create their own shot off the dribble and hit 3-pointers around James and Davis.
Grant is 29th in the NBA in points per game. He has a plus-minus of +41. The Blazers could be open to moving Grant before the February 9 trade deadline since he becomes a free agent this summer and there’s no guarantee he will re-sign with them.
The Lakers Tried to Get Jerami Grant Last Season
The Lakers tried to acquire Grant from the Pistons last season. NBA insider Marc Stein reported on January 20, 2022, that Los Angeles offered Detriot Talen Horton-Tucker, Nunn and a future draft pick for Grant. The Pistons declined the Lakers’ offer.
“That 2027 first is clearly the most valuable trade asset that the Lakers currently possess,” Stein said. “The Lakers have tried, with no luck yet, to package that pick with Talen Horton-Tucker and Kendrick Nunn in an attempt to acquire Jerami Grant from Detroit.”
The Lakers defeated Grant and the Blazers on January 22 to improve to 22-25 on the season. The purple and gold erased a 25-point deficit.