Scotto’s Latest: Grant, Nurkic, Payne, Nowell

Following the trade of Damian Lillard, the Trail Blazers are expected to immediately begin listening to trade inquires on newly acquired guard Jrue Holiday. However, he may not be the only notable veteran on the roster who is on the trade block in advance of this February’s deadline.

Rival league executives who spoke to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype anticipate that Jerami Grant will also be available via trade in the not-too-distant future. Due to the terms of the new contract he signed with Portland in July, Grant won’t become trade-eligible until January 15, so if he’s going to be moved this season, it would have to happen between Jan. 15 and Feb. 8, this year’s trade deadline.

Grant’s five-year, $160MM contract would represent a significant cap commitment for any team interested in acquiring him, but his two-way contributions would make him an on-court fit for virtually any contender.

“Grant could be the missing piece for a contending team the way Denver got Bruce Brown and Aaron Gordon,” one NBA scout told Scotto. “Maybe a team like Miami could take a swing if they’re still a player away.”

Here are a few more highlights from Scotto’s latest rumor round-up:

  • Moving Jusuf Nurkic, who has three years and $54MM+ left on his contract, was a goal for the Trail Blazers in any Lillard trade, but there’s a belief that a fresh start in Phoenix, where he’ll anchor Frank Vogel‘s defensive scheme for the Suns, could help rejuvenate him, writes Scotto. “Before Nurkic got injured, he was a good defensive center and was Portland’s second-best player ahead of CJ McCollum for a short time,” a scout told HoopsHype. “I think it might be asking too much of him to return to his pre-injury form, but he can help them if he’s properly motivated and healthy with dribble handoffs and as a positional defender.”
  • League sources tell Scotto that the Bucks and Heat are among the teams to watch for free agent point guard Cameron Payne. Milwaukee, with no clear backup point guard, was previously identified as a clear fit for Payne after the Lillard trade opened up a roster spot. Miami also doesn’t have much depth at the point after losing Gabe Vincent this summer.
  • Free agent wing Jaylen Nowell recently worked out for the Kings, sources tell Scotto. Nowell is one of the most noteworthy members of this year’s free agent class who remains unsigned, while Sacramento has just 14 players on guaranteed contracts, leaving one open spot on the team’s projected regular season roster.
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