PORTLAND, Ore. — The Trail Blazers are once again heading into an offseason without a lot of salary cap flexibility, and that could mean a big payday when incumbent free agent Jerami Grant signs his new contract with Portland.
In a Friday edition of the Locked On Blazers podcast, host Mike Richman was joined by Orlando Sanchez of KGW Portland to explore Portland’s options with Grant and what his future with the team might look like.
Grant has averaged more than 20 points per game and shot better than 40 percent from three-point range this season, making him a valuable secondary option at the forward spot alongside franchise cornerstone Damian Lillard. But he has not been a reliable second option late in games for Portland this season, making the decision to pay him more complicated.
“I wish the production was a little bit more, I wish the production was there in timely moments this season when Dame has needed that second guy to step up, but there’s no doubt that he’s the right fit for this team, the right type of player that you want,” Sanchez said on the podcast.
Grant told a reporter earlier in the year that he declined an extension, signaling he is looking for even more money.
“They offered him the four-year, $112 million max extension, and he turned it down,” Richman said. “You’ve got to think that’s where it starts, four for $112 (million), which is not a small amount of money.”
Because Portland has Grant’s “Bird rights,” they are allowed to go over the salary cap line to re-sign him, and after keeping him past the trade deadline, it is very likely that they retain him.
“I think yes is the only answer,” Richman said. “I think they’ve backed themselves into a position where they pretty much have got to pay Jerami Grant no matter what.
“Nobody is going to pay Jerami Grant $40 million, but the Blazers might have to give him $33 (million). … You’re basically choosing Jerami Grant or no Jerami Grant, not Jerami Grant or other stuff.”
Grant will be an unrestricted free agent when the league year begins on July 1.