Hours before trade deadline, decision on Grant tilted in Pistons favor

Rod Beard
The Detroit News

This isn’t 2020. It’s so far from it, that it’s hard to believe that was only two years ago.

The Pistons reached the trade deadline and had a tough decision to make with Andre Drummond, who had a pending player option for $28 million. They wanted to move in a different direction and parted ways with the two-time All-Star before they had to eat the remaining money on his contract.

This is different. The situation with Jerami Grant at Thursday’s trade deadline is tilted much more in the Pistons’ favor. Grant still has $21 million on his deal for next season, but he has significantly more trade value, along with the fact that there is a long-term future that he can factor into.

Pistons forward Jerami Grant (9) goes around Timberwolves guard Patrick Beverly.

This time, the Pistons aren’t in a tough situation in having to decide what to do. If they don’t see a trade offer for Grant that they like, they can hold on to their leading scorer and reassess the situation after the season or around the time of the draft. They don’t have to take a low-ball offer like they got from the Cavaliers with Brandon Knight, John Henson and a second-round pick for Drummond.

Some reports mention the Pistons are seeking two first-round picks for Grant — and if that’s the asking price, so be it. Grant could help a lot of teams that are angling for playoff seeding or positioning, and even if a team can’t put together a suitable package, the Pistons should keep him.

In the final hours before the deadline, there could be some last-minute deal that makes sense, but short of that, the Pistons are likely to stand pat, unless there are some marginal moves they can make with expiring contracts or other players to improve.

Grant has started to plant roots in Detroit and has plans to open a homeless shelter.

Jerami Grant stands at the future site of a homeless shelter on Detroit's west side.

He reportedly has a list of teams that he would be open to being traded to, and ensuring he gets some say in a proposed trade seems like the likely road to anything happening.

It could be a pretty quiet traded deadline for the Pistons, but if something good comes along, they’ll give it a good listen — and due consideration.

That doesn’t mean that a trade is imminent.

This isn’t 2020, after all.

Cunningham to showcase skills

Pistons rookie Cade Cunningham has missed the last four games because of a hip pointer, but his dance card at the NBA’s All-Star Weekend festivities seems to indicate that he could be healthy by then.

Cunningham, who previously was selected for the Rising Stars competition, the big event on Friday night, Feb. 18, has been added to the roster for the Skills Challenge, which will take place on Saturday night.

It’s a showcase event for Cunningham, who is among the top rookies in the draft class, but injuries have hampered his playing time. Coach Dwane Casey has said that the medical team is being cautious with Cunningham, and with a week until All-Star Weekend, he could miss a couple more games before the break.

Participating in the All-Star events wouldn’t jeopardize Cunningham getting hurt. Casey said the rookie has done some shooting workouts and other things, but he just hasn’t been cleared to play. The Skills Challenge doesn’t have anything too strenuous, though the Rising Stars could pose a different concern.

With many of the game movements, there might be some discomfort or other issues if he plays significant time. The more likely scenario is he plays a couple of minutes to make an appearance

Grizzlies at Pistons

Tipoff: 7 p.m. Thursday, Little Caesars Arena, Detroit

TV/radio: BSD/97.1 FM

Outlook: The Grizzlies (38-18) have won seven of their last 10 games, and they look to be in position to secure home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. They beat the Pistons (12-42) by 30 on Jan. 6.


Twitter: @detnewsRodBeard