Jerami Grant

Chauncey Billups Discusses Challenges Created By Damian Lillard’s Trade Demand

Trail Blazers coach Chauncey Billups talked extensively about Damian Lillard‘s trade request and how it has affected the team in an interview with Steve Aschburner of

No significant progress has been made on a Lillard deal since he asked Portland’s front office to move him in early July. He hasn’t relented on his desire to leave, which means Billups can’t be certain what his roster will ultimately look like with training camp less than two weeks away.

“Obviously it’s unsettling, it’s difficult,” Billups said. “But for me, all I can do, I’m responsible for giving my best to who we have. I don’t know how it’s going to play out. There’s nothing I can do to control it. But I do know who we have on our team right now and who I’ve been working with this summer. Who I’m excited about. All I can really do is pour myself into our guys. And see what happens whenever that happens. I’m excited about Shaedon (Sharpe’s) progress. And coaching Scoot (Henderson) and Ant (Anfernee Simons).

“Figuring out what happens with Dame? Everybody knows how I feel about Dame and my opportunity to coach him. We’ll just see. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I’ll be ready to do the best I can.”

Unlike other stars who have asked to be traded, the demand hasn’t affected Lillard’s popularity, as the Portland fan base recognizes the loyalty he has shown to the franchise over the past 11 years. Billups doesn’t believe Lillard wants to do anything to hurt the organization, adding that Blazers fans will continue to cheer for him wherever he goes.

“Dame is one of the most stable human beings I’ve ever been around,” Billups added. “He’s not about any type of drama. So this whole process probably weighs very heavy on him. It’s just not who he is. But he’s at a crossroads in his career, and he’s doing what he feels is best for him and his family. I’m always going to be supportive of that.”

Billups touches on several other subjects during the interview, including:

Expectations for Henderson, who is among the favorites to win Rookie of the Year:

“Scoot is going to be a star in this league. He plays both sides of the floor with ferocity. He is very, very driven. He’s a play-maker, he’s a real point guard. Got some leadership about him. He looks like he’s the starting safety of the Denver Broncos. He’s going to be an exciting player for the whole world to watch but our fan base, they can rest assured they’ll be entertained.”

Reasons for optimism about Sharpe after a promising rookie season:

“The steps he made last year. If you watched him at the end, he was lights out. I think he’s worked very hard since then to get better. It was a small sample size, but he was playing against a lot of those teams’ No. 1 defensive player. He was getting some tough coverages and he still was getting things done. I was very impressed with him.”

Jerami Grant‘s role after getting a new five-year, $160MM contract:

“I think Jerami fits in perfectly to what we’re doing. He’s a guy who loves to play the game. Unselfish, both offensively and defensively. Plays fast. Wants to play the right way. He’s going to be perfect for our young guys. He’s excited as well to be back.”

Contract Details: Crowder, Grant, Powell, Green, Lewis

Jae Crowder‘s new one-year contract with Milwaukee is for the veteran’s minimum, league sources tell Eric Nehm of The Athletic (Twitter link).

The Bucks held Crowder’s Bird rights, so they could have given him any salary up to his maximum. Obviously he was never going to receive anything close to $47.6MM next season, but it’s still interesting that he accepted such a significant pay cut after making $10.2MM in 2022/23.

Crowder just completed his 11th NBA season. As our list of minimum salaries for ’23/24 shows, the 33-year-old will earn about $3.2MM on his new deal, while the Bucks will carry a $2MM cap hit.

Here are more contract details from around the NBA:

  • Jerami Grant received the most lucrative contract in free agency in terms of total value, earning $160MM over five years to stay with the Trail Blazers. The fifth year of Grant’s deal is a player option, tweets Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.
  • Center Dwight Powell re-signed with the Mavericks as a free agent, inking a three-year, $12MM deal. Similar to Grant, Powell has a player option for the final season, per ESPN’s Tim MacMahon (Twitter link). Powell reportedly drew interest from Houston, but decided to stay with Dallas.
  • Jeff Green‘s two-year contract with the Rockets features a non-guaranteed team option in 2024/25 and $1.6MM per season in bonuses that are considered likely to be achieved, sources tell Scotto (via Twitter). That means Green’s annual cap hits will be $9.6MM. ESPN’s Bobby Marks was first to report that the original terms of Green’s contract agreement had been amended, with Houston using cap room to sign the veteran forward.
  • The Lakers signed second-rounder Maxwell Lewis to a standard four-year contract using the new second-round pick exception, reports Khobi Price of The Southern California News Group (Twitter link). Lewis will receive guaranteed salaries of $1.1MM as a rookie next season (the minimum) and $1.4MM in ’24/25. Sources tell Price the third year of the contract is partially guaranteed for $100K, while the fourth and final season is a team option.

Jerami Grant Signs Five-Year Deal With Trail Blazers

JULY 9: Grant has officially signed the contract, the team tweets.

JUNE 30: Jerami Grant is re-signing with the Trail Blazers, having agreed to a five-year, $160MM contract, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Grant reportedly turned down a four-year extension worth nearly $113MM from Portland during the 2022/23 league year. According to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, a primary reason the veteran forward decided to wait until free agency was to add the fifth year onto the end of the deal, significantly increasing its total value (Twitter link).

As Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype tweets, Portland projects to be $21MM below the luxury tax line when accounting for Grant’s new contract. The Blazers will still have the non-taxpayer mid-level exception (which starts at $12.4MM) and a $8.3MM trade exception at their disposal in an effort to build around star Damian Lillard, Gozlan adds.

Grant is in the middle of his prime and was one of the top free agents in the 2023 class. The 28-year-old combo forward averaged 20.5 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 2.4 APG, 0.8 SPG and 0.8 BPG on .475/.401/.813 shooting in 63 games last season (35.7 MPG).

While Grant is a talented two-way player who brings valued versatility, a five-year deal worth $32MM annually is obviously an enormous commitment — both in years and dollars — to a player who has never been an All-Star.

Grant is a developmental success story, slowly working his way up the ranks with the Sixers, Thunder and Nuggets before breaking out as a 20-point scorer with the Pistons, who traded him to Portland last summer. He entered the NBA with a poor jump shot, but has continued to improve his game year-over-year.

Grant is the third former second-round pick (39th overall in 2014) to land a nine-figure deal this summer, joining Draymond Green and Khris Middleton.

Scotto’s Latest: Bridges, O’Neale, Finney-Smith, Blazers, Brown, DSJ

While it’s possible the Nets will get involved in the Damian Lillard sweepstakes, Mikal Bridges is “not for sale,” league sources tell Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. That was the case leading up to the draft when the Trail Blazers‘ No. 3 pick was rumored to be on the trade block, and it will be the case again if Brooklyn makes a play for Lillard.

While the Nets aren’t Lillard’s preferred landing spot – he’s reportedly focused on Miami – they could put together a strong package of draft picks and quality players on team-friendly contracts, such as Royce O’Neale and Dorian Finney-Smith. According to Scotto, in trade negotiations involving those two forwards, Brooklyn has been unwilling to part with O’Neale for less than the equivalent of a first-round pick or Finney-Smith for the equivalent of two first-rounders.

Here’s more from Scotto:

  • The Trail Blazers are expected to discuss Jusuf Nurkic in their Lillard trade talks, Scotto confirms. Meanwhile, even though Jerami Grant is re-signing with Portland, Scotto expects the forward to emerge as a trade candidate down the road, since he may not fit the Blazers’ post-Lillard timeline. The Pistons and Pacers were among the teams expected to have interest in Grant before word broke that he’d be re-signing with the Blazers, Scotto writes.
  • Before he agreed to accept a two-year, $45MM offer from the Pacers, Bruce Brown received six offers in the neighborhood of the non-taxpayer mid-level exception ($12.4MM), according to Scotto, who says other teams with cap room also inquired on the popular free agent guard.
  • The Nets‘ one-year deal with Dennis Smith Jr. is worth $2.53MM, league sources tell Scotto. That makes it a minimum-salary contract — the veteran’s minimum this season for a player with Smith’s six years of NBA experience is $2,528,233.

Damian Lillard Rumors: Heat, Herro, Martin, Nurkic, Grant

Shockwaves were sent throughout the league this morning when it was reported that longtime Trail Blazers All-NBA point guard Damian Lillard had requested a trade.

During an appearance on NBA Today, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter video link) spoke with host Malika Andrews about the curious timing of the deal.

“His conversations with the organization, at least going back several days [to] that last Monday meeting in Portland, the expectation was he was going to give the organization a chance to get through free agency, and see how they could improve the team,” Woj said. “And on the opening night of free agency, they committed in Portland $160MM to Jerami Grant to return to the Blazers, certainly with Damian Lillard in mind. And now, less than 24 hours later, Lillard has asked for a trade.”

Sources tell Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report that Lillard’s agent Aaron Goodwin informed Joe Cronin of his client’s decision on Saturday morning.

Haynes is one of many reporters hearing that Lillard hopes to be dealt to Miami. Heat All-NBA swingman Jimmy Butler, fresh off leading the team to its second Finals appearance in four seasons, has told Miami personnel that Lillard is his No. 1 target for the club’s offseason, Haynes adds.

Miami is prepared to make an offer centered around young shooting guard Tyler Herro, according to Haynes, who says sharpshooter Duncan Robinson and draft picks could be used to build out the package. The team is hoping to avoid including affordable forward Caleb Martin in trade talks, per Haynes and Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald (via Twitter).

The Trail Blazers, for their part, may angle to unload the contract of veteran center Jusuf Nurkic in a deal.

“If you want to go into a full rebuild, Brooklyn has the better assets going forward,” a front office executive told Sean Deveney of Heavy Sports. “But Portland is pretty clear that they are not looking to be terrible next year. They will be young but they want to stay competitive. Dealing with Miami gets you there.”

Surrounding third overall lottery pick Scoot Henderson with a play-making scorer at the level of Herro and perhaps a marksman with the pedigree of Robinson could help the Trail Blazers at least remain somewhat competitive next season.

However, there have been rumblings that Portland may be “lukewarm” on Herro, so it’s possible a third team would have to get involved, as Jackson writes for The Miami Herald in an exploration of possible trade scenarios. Haynes (Twitter link) has indeed heard that any Lillard trade between the Blazers and Heat would probably have to include a third team, though he doesn’t specify whether that’s related to Portland’s feelings about Herro.

The Sixers are another club that hopes to get into the running for Lillard. However, Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link) is hearing that young combo guard Tyrese Maxey, who is still on his rookie scale contract, is currently off the table in any trade talks, even for Lillard. Fischer reiterates that rival teams, including Philadelphia, are convinced Lillard hopes to be moved to the Heat specifically.

Finally, Wojnarowski provides an important update on another key veteran whose future is affected by Lillard’s trade request, tweeting that today’s news won’t change Portland’s plans to re-sign Grant to the five-year, $160MM contract he and the team agreed to on Friday night.

That deal can’t be made official until July 6, so either side could back out of their verbal agreement before then. However, it would be a bad look for a club to rescind such a significant offer, and Grant seems unlikely to do anywhere near that well elsewhere on the free agent market.

Luke Adams contributed to this story.

Damian Lillard To Meet With Trail Blazers Officials About His Future

1:37pm: The meeting will take place on Monday, tweets Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report and TNT. Lillard’s agent, Aaron Goodwin, will also be present.

8:51am: The Trail Blazers’ lottery luck and the addition of a strong rookie class weren’t enough to change Damian Lillard‘s mind about playing with a young team, sources tell Sam Amick of The Athletic.

General manager Joe Cronin said over the weekend that he’ll talk with Lillard once the star guard returns from a vacation in France (Twitter link from Danny Marang of 1080 The Fan in Portland). That meeting is expected to take place early this week, giving Lillard and the Blazers time to map out their future before the start of free agency on Friday.

Portland landed the No. 3 pick in this year’s lottery and was able to add a potential future star in Scoot Henderson. The Blazers also picked up Kris Murray at No. 23 and Rayan Rupert at No. 43, adding three more prospects to the collection of young talent already on hand.

However, it’s not the type of team that Lillard prefers as he nears his 33rd birthday next month. Lillard declared after the regular season ended that he wants Cronin to add some veterans who will help turn the Blazers into a contender, and he has repeated that stance in subsequent interviews.

Amick hears that Lillard’s dream scenario is to re-sign Jerami Grant and add Draymond Green in free agency. The Warriors are reportedly confident about their chances to keep Green, but Amick states that the size of his contract could still become an issue.

Amick also points out that the Blazers don’t currently have enough cap room to sign Green, who’s believed to be seeking a new deal with a starting salary in the $20MM range. A sign-and-trade could be possible, although Amick believes a third team would have to be involved to make the financial aspects work.

Amick mentions Raptors forwards Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby as other possibilities, but he notes that Toronto has numerous teams that are interested in both players.

An important part of this week’s meeting will be for Lillard to gauge the front office’s commitment to upgrading the roster in time for next season, sources tell Amick. If he believes Cronin and owner Jody Allen are serious about building a contender, then he’ll hold off a decision about his future through at least the early part of free agency. If he’s not convinced, Lillard could decide to ask for a trade, possibly before free agency begins.

If that happens, Amick singles out the Heat as the main team to watch. Lillard has “serious interest” in going to Miami, sources tell Amick, and the Heat are believed to be equally interested in acquiring him.

Lillard’s desired destination will factor into any trade because of his years of service in Portland and the size of his contract, Amick adds. With four seasons left at $216MM, including a $63MM player option for 2026/27, Amick states that it’s hard to imagine any team trading for Lillard unless he wants to go there.

Suns Rumors: Harden, Lillard, Paul, Irving, Russell, More

There have been rumors linking James Harden to Phoenix. John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM shut down that notion (via Twitter), writing that there’s a “zero percent chance” the Suns would pursue the former MVP.

Gambadoro also said it was “highly unlikely” the Suns would have interest in Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard, pointing out that his large salary might be unpalatable for a roster that’s already top-heavy (Twitter link). On his Burns and Gambo radio show (Twitter link), the plugged-in local reporter stated in stronger terms that the Suns won’t pursue Lillard.

They’re not getting James Harden, and they’re not getting Damian Lillard,” Gambadoro said.

Here are more rumors on the Suns:

  • Gambadoro’s reporting on Lillard was seemingly in response to a new piece from Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, who hears from sources who say that the Trail Blazers have shown interest in Deandre Ayton in the past. However, Fischer also downplays Phoenix’s chances of landing Lillard, noting that the Suns don’t have the requisite assets to land a player of his caliber. The Blazers, meanwhile, still hope to build a contender around their all-time leading scorer, and remain intent on re-signing Jerami Grant, sources tell Fischer.
  • Fischer’s article focuses on Chris Paul‘s uncertain future with the Suns and how it might have a ripple effect around the NBA. Although Lillard and Harden might be unrealistic targets, Fischer writes that the Suns remain intrigued by Kyrie Irving, who is entering unrestricted free agency. As Fischer notes, Irving would basically have to ask the Mavericks for help in a sign-and-trade. Dallas hasn’t shown any interest in helping the Lakers land Irving in a sign-and-trade for D’Angelo Russell, but Fischer wonders if Paul might be more appealing.
  • Could the Lakers and Suns explore a sign-and-trade involving Russell and Paul? The Suns pursued the 27-year-old impending free agent ahead of the February trade deadline when he was still on the Timberwolves, sources tell Fischer. Big man Naz Reid, who’s also set to hit unrestricted free agency, was another player Phoenix desired in talks with Minnesota, Fischer adds.
  • Hornets guard Terry Rozier has been linked to Phoenix in the past, but the Suns didn’t pursue him ahead of the trade deadline, sources tell Fischer. Knicks guard Immanuel Quickley, Celtics guard Payton Pritchard, Kings guard Davion Mitchell, and Heat guard Gabe Vincent are among the other backcourt options the Suns have monitored, per Fischer.
  • Agents that Fischer has talked to believe Paul could get at least part of — if not the full — mid-level exception if he’s waived and becomes an unrestricted free agent. While Paul has been linked to his former club, the Clippers, Fischer notes that they can only offer the veteran’s minimum, and there’s “mutual interest” in a reunion between Russell Westbrook and the Clips.

Pistons Rumors: Burks, Grant, Johnson, Bogdanovic, Frontcourt, More

The Pistons are expected to pick up their $10.5MM team option on veteran swingman Alec Burks for the 2023/24 season, Michael Scotto said during the latest episode of The HoopsHype podcast. However, Scotto’s guest James L. Edwards of The Athletic believes Detroit will be in the market for at least one more three-and-D wing in free agency, naming Jerami Grant and Cameron Johnson as potential targets.

If the Trail Blazers hang onto Damian Lillard and continue trying to contend immediately, Grant may simply re-sign in Portland. But if the Blazers pivot to a rebuild, the Pistons should be considered a prime suitor for the veteran forward, according to Edwards, who notes that Grant still has a great relationship with general manager Troy Weaver and loves the city of Detroit.

Should the Pistons strike out on top-tier targets like Grant and Johnson, they could pursue lower-level free agents such as Torrey Craig and Yuta Watanabe, per Edwards.

Here’s more on the Pistons:

  • Scotto has heard that the Pistons still consider Bojan Bogdanovic a core piece, and Edwards agrees that the team seems to want to keep him rather than move him. Still, Edwards notes that if the team makes a big addition at forward (such as Grant or Johnson) and gets a good offer for Bogdanovic, a trade isn’t out of the question.
  • Scotto has spoken to rival executives who think the addition of James Wiseman to a frontcourt that also includes Jalen Duren and Marvin Bagley III could land Isaiah Stewart on the trade block. Edwards is skeptical though, suggesting that the Pistons saw an opportunity to roll the dice on Wiseman and still like the big men they’ve drafted. “As someone who’s on the ground floor, I think the situation has been misinterpreted a little bit,” Edwards told Scotto. “I think it’s far more likely that Duren and Stewart are the frontcourt. I think Wiseman was a guy they had a chance to get that they liked coming into his draft and see if they could unlock some potential as a backup big or starting big. Right now, it’s Duren and Stewart’s frontcourt job.” Stewart is more likely to be extended than traded this summer, Edwards adds.
  • Killian Hayes is open to signing a rookie scale extension with Detroit this offseason, according to Scotto. Edwards expects the Pistons to hold off on a new deal though, suggesting the team will wait another year and then evaluate Hayes’ situation in 2024, when he’s eligible for restricted free agency.
  • Before the Pistons made a last-minute push to hire Monty Williams as their head coach, they were preparing to offer the job to Charles Lee. “His second interview really sealed that home for a lot of people, everyone in the front office, until they sat down as a group, I’m told, and explored and made sure this was what they wanted to do,” Edwards said. “The owner brought up bringing one more run at Monty. They make the run, break the bank, and Monty is the coach.”

Blazers Rumors: Grant, Thybulle, Reddish, No. 3 Pick, Sharpe, More

Trail Blazers forward Jerami Grant still appears on track to become a free agent this offseason rather than accepting the maximum four-year, $113MM extension he can sign until June 30. Appearing on the HoopsHype podcast with Michael Scotto, Sean Highkin of The Rose Garden Report said he doesn’t expect the annual salary on Grant’s next deal to be worth more than about $30MM, but suggests that the forward may be waiting until free agency in order to get a fifth year from Portland.

“I think it’s going to come out around five years, $150 million, with probably a player option,” Highkin said. “I know he gets talked about as one of the top free agents on the market, but I’d expect that gets done pretty quickly. It might even be a (6:01 pm) on June 30th type of signing.”

As for restricted free agents Matisse Thybulle and Cam Reddish, Highkin views Thybulle as the player who is more likely to re-sign with the Blazers, suggesting that the former Sixer will be a priority for the front office. Highkin is less certain about Portland’s appetite for a new deal with Reddish, telling Scotto that the team would probably have interest in bringing back the former lottery pick if the price is right.

Here are more highlights from the conversation between Scotto and Highkin:

  • Scotto has gotten the sense that the Trail Blazers are comfortable keeping the No. 3 overall pick and drafting either Brandon Miller and Scoot Henderson, even as they plan to continue building around Damian Lillard. However, Highkin believes Portland is far more likely to trade the pick for an established veteran, mentioning two-way forwards like Jaylen Brown and Pascal Siakam as potential targets while downplaying the likelihood of the club pursuing offensive-minded players like Zach LaVine. Another Raptors forward, OG Anunoby, has also been linked to the Blazers and would be a good fit on the roster, but Highkin doesn’t expect Portland to give up the No. 3 pick for Anunoby.
  • There are some people in Portland who believe Shaedon Sharpe has All-Star potential, according to Scotto. Highkin agrees that the Blazers are high on Sharpe and expects he’ll be kept out of any trade that doesn’t return a superstar (Joel Embiid or something like that”). Anfernee Simons is the more likely trade candidate, Highkin explains, given his larger cap hit and his fit next to Lillard. Sharpe, who has more size and defensive upside than Simons, is the more logical long-term backcourt partner for Dame.
  • The Blazers may make some changes to their coaching staff this summer to give Chauncey Billups some more experienced assistants, Highkin notes. The organization remains optimistic about Billups’ potential as a head coach and wants to give him an opportunity to lead a more competitive roster, Highkin adds.
  • When the Blazers signed Jusuf Nurkic to a four-year, $70MM contract last offseason, that didn’t necessarily mean they thought he was their center of the future, according to Highkin, who believes the team is “very open” to moving Nurkic and will explore trade possibilities this summer. Highkin suggests that Nurkic’s willingness to be shut down with a leg injury in 2021/22 when Portland went into tank mode played a part in Portland’s decision to “take care” of him in free agency last summer.

Lowe’s Latest: GM Meetings, Wizards, Blazers, Lue, Kuminga, Harden

The NBA’s general managers held their annual meeting in Chicago on draft lottery day and the discussions among those GMs about a handful of competition-related issues were “lively,” according to ESPN’s Zach Lowe (Insider link).

One of the topics the GMs talked about on Tuesday, according to Lowe, was the idea of turning the NBA draft into a two-day event. They also discussed whether the modern game has tilted too far toward offensive production and considered what could be done to help defenses. Additionally, sources tell Lowe that some executives in attendance suggested bringing back escalating fines as a penalty for players who flop.

Much of the general managers’ conversation revolved around the issue of load management, and Lowe hears from sources that there may be more load management-related rules implemented as soon as next season. According to Lowe, some in attendance at the meetings believe the NBA may revisit its guidelines on when teams are permitted to rest players, as well as the penalties for clubs that violate those guidelines.

Here’s more from Lowe, who was in the drawing room for Tuesday night’s lottery:

  • Before the fourth and final lottery ball was drawn for the No. 1 pick, the Wizards had six of the 11 available combinations, according to Lowe and other reporters who attended the drawing. The Magic, Pacers, and Trail Blazers were also still alive for the top pick at that point, but it was the Spurs who lucked out and held the winning combination: 14-5-8-2.
  • Rival executives are expecting Portland to re-sign Jerami Grant this offseason, according to Lowe, who says he believes the Trail Blazers will also look into renegotiating the protections on the lottery-protected first-round pick they owe to the Bulls. Removing or reducing the protections on that pick would give the Blazers more flexibility to trade future first-rounders.
  • The Clippers love having Tyronn Lue as their head coach and are “happy to remind” teams with interest in Lue that he remains under contract, Lowe reports. The Suns are said to have legitimate interest in hiring Lue away from their division rivals, but it sounds like Los Angeles would make that very difficult. As Lowe notes, it’s still unclear whether or not that’s even something Lue would want.
  • Executives in Chicago are “buzzing” about what the future holds for the Warriors and Sixers. Based on his conversations, Lowe says there’s a strong level of interest in Golden State forward Jonathan Kuminga around the NBA. Lowe adds that, while the Rockets and James Harden have mutual interest in a reunion, league sources made it clear that Harden’s return to Houston is no lock after the dismissal of Doc Rivers in Philadelphia.