Appearing on Yahoo Sports’ Posted Up With Chris Haynes podcast, Nuggets forward Jerami Grant admitted that he has thought about his upcoming free agency amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. While he acknowledged that the salary cap for 2020/21 might drop a little – or “a lot” – Grant told Haynes that he thinks he’ll still likely pass on his $9.35MM player option for next season.
“I’m definitely not leaning towards picking up the player option,” Grant said, according to Quenton S. Albertie of NuggLove). “Like you said, I feel like I definitely outplayed the $9MM that I’m making each year right now. But at the same time… I’d love to come to a conclusion or something like that with Denver, it just depends what we discuss and negotiate when the time comes.”
Traded from Oklahoma City to Denver last summer for a first-round pick, Grant got off to a slow start as a Nugget, but had rebounded nicely by the time the NBA suspended its season. In 64 total games (26.2 MPG), he averaged 11.6 PPG and 3.5 RPG on .471/.400/.744 shooting. While Grant’s overall net rating wasn’t great, Denver performed better with him on the floor than off it during the final two months of the season leading up to March 11.
Once the offseason begins, Grant will have the option of picking up his $9.35MM player option and putting off unrestricted free agency until 2021 or opting out and becoming a free agent immediately. Given his age, performance, and contract situation, he’s one of a small handful of veterans likely to turn down a player option this year, as we detailed in May.
If Grant does opt out, it won’t necessarily signal the end of his time in Denver. He and the Nuggets could still work out a new contract, as he alluded to in his comments to Haynes. With Paul Millsap and Mason Plumlee also headed for the open market, the Nuggets would have to decide which frontcourt pieces they’ll prioritize in free agency.