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Jerami Grant, Lillard’s Squire

The NBA market is moving, with free agency a week and hours away from a draft that always generates a lot of movement due to the added value that players have. picks before they materialize definitively. In a year in which the market for free players is not very promising and in which few teams have salary flexibility to carry out large operations, the transfer channel seems especially active… and a lot of movement is expected in the next few hoursthe last ones before the 2022 draft that takes place tonight.

We already have two big moves: A few days ago the Mavericks took over Christian Wood, the center who played for the Rockets and who will be Luka Doncic’s new great teammate, and now the Portland Trail Blazers have launched their cacareada new era with the arrival of Jerami Grant. The forward (28 years old, 2.03) has been transferred from Detroit to Portland for a fairly low return: a 2025 first round (original from the Milwaukee Bucks) with 1-4 protection (it will be from the Pistons starting at pick 5); the exchange of picks second-round pick in this draft (36th for the Pistons, 46th for the Blazers); a second from 2025 that the Pistons owed the Blazers and that returns to Detroit and a second from 2026 that will be the highest between the Blazers and Pelicans.

Like the Rockets with Wood, the Pistons have sold down: a rebuilding team with a high-value player in the market who no longer fits into his line of growth and who comes out with a discount for entering the last year of his contract: Grant will earn 20.9 million of the 60×3 he signed in Detroit in 2020. He can sign a four-year, $112 million extension. Is about a strong forward, with a lot of defensive capacity and who went from the Sixers to the Thunder, where he bordered on the star level. From there he went to the Nuggets and finally to the Pistons, after a strange departure from the rocky in search of more prominence in attack. A priori he is a great partner for what could be the last great attempt of the Blazers with Damian Lillard (31 years old). In his two years in Detroit he has averaged 20.9 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.6 assists.

In Portland, general manager Joe Cronin orchestrated a total rebuild: As soon as Lillard went under surgery (abdominal problem) and ended his season, he traded CJ McCollum, Larry Nance, Norman Powell, Robert Covington… the Blazers finished with 21 losses in 23 games, and have the pick 7 in tonight’s draft. Jeramy Grant fits in salary through a trade exception they had amassed with McCollum’s departure. The other great target is forward OG Anunoby, for whom they are negotiating with the Toronto Raptors with the 7th in this draft as a great weapon.. To this we must add that it is assumed that Jusuf Nurkic, although he will be a free agent, will return to the Oregon team, which will do everything possible to be competitive again in the West.

Ayton and Collins, with one foot outside of Phoenix and Atlanta

Adrian Wojnarowski (ESPN), the great compass when it comes to news and market rumours, has influenced what is already an open secret: Phoenix Suns don’t want to give Deandre Ayton a maximum contract and the number 1 of the 2018 draft (Luka Doncic’s) has many ballots to leave via sign and trade (transfer after initially signing with the Suns). The Pistons, after the departure of Grant, can operate with more than 50 million free in the next market, almost double the next with the most margin (Orlando Magic, 27.9). And they are considered the great favorite to win an Ayton who is still 23 years old and who would fit into a rebuild led by Cade Cunningham, number 1 in 2021.

Another with many options for a change of scenery is power forward John Collins, who in principle will not continue in Atlanta. The Hawks, who already put him on the market last summer, ended up giving him a new contract of 5 years and 125 million dollars with which now, and after a terrible season collectively, they do not want to carry. The most interested seem to be the Sacramento Kings (the team with the pick 4 pick), the Utah Jazz (if the Hawks are really going after Rudy Gobert) and some San Antonio Spurs with whom there have already been conversations focused on Dejounte Murraythe point guard whose contract ends in 2024 and who in Texas would surely prefer not to have to retain then at maximum blow.

Westbrook, Brunson, Harden, Turner…

On a busy night, these are some of the other main news coming from the United States:

In addition to the very possible goodbye of Ayton, the Suns are also looking to release power forward Jae Crowder and have shown interest in Eric Gordona veteran who has many ballots to leave the Houston Rockets and who likes several contenders for the title more, including the Philadelphia 76ers.

The Sixers continue to offer Tobias Harris, Danny Green and Matisse Thybulle. Another of their big targets is PJ Tucker, and it seems clear that they want to reshape their rotation around Joel Embiid and a James Harden that everything points to will welcome your player option of 47.4 million for next season and will sign an extensionsurely for two years and below the maximum.

Myles Turner is still on the exit ramp at the Indiana Pacers. The most interested are Raptors, Hornets and some Wolves that they are looking for a pure center who plays alongside Karl-Anthony Towns and that, in addition, they are trying to transfer D’Angelo Russell, although for now they have not found who is really interested in the point guard.

It’s going to be very expensive for the Mavs to retain Jalen Brunson. The Knicks are looking for a point guard, and while they’ve talked to the Pacers about Malcolm Brogdon, they have their eyes on the Mavs’ combo guard (they even hired his father for the org chart). They try to free up salary space and Fournier, Burks, Reddish, Noel are on the market… in this way, in Dallas they will have to put around 100 million for four years so that Brunson does not go to the Big Apple and remain Doncic’s partner in a backcourt that worked excellently last season.

The Thunder may be Russell Westbrook’s destiny. A return home would fit since in OKC they can absorb his contract and take a couple of picks Lakers draft by the way. The point guard, in the last year of his contract, would thus leave the Lakers and return to the team in which he became a legend and in which Vasilije Micic will surely never play: if he leaves Efes and goes to the NBA, everything points to which will be because the Thunder have transferred their rights. The Nuggets seem very interested due to the influence of his franchise player, the MVP of the last two seasons Nikola Jokic.

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