Instead of going the traditional route, the San Antonio Spurs can secure an impending Denver Nuggets free agent via sign-and-trade this offseason.
While the Denver Nuggets battle to make a serious championship run as All-NBA center Nikola Jokic nears his prime, the San Antonio Spurs are looking for a fresh start. Though Denver has some young assets to boast, the Spurs wouldn’t be able to pry forward Michael Porter Jr. from the Mile High City without giving up a major haul, so they need to look a little bit deeper.
On/Off numbers suggest that the Nuggets were vastly better with forward Jerami Grant off the floor, leading me to believe this team is better off investing in veterans than youth. They shipped off some young assets earlier in the season, giving Malik Beasley and Juancho Hernangomez new beginnings with the upstart Minnesota Timberwolves and shifting to a veteran lineup.
Meanwhile, 84 percent of Porter’s minutes came at Grant’s natural position, forcing the flexible 6-foot-8 power forward into unsavory situations. It’s not a situation that makes a ton of sense for either side, which led Grant to tell Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes that he’s leaning toward declining his player option this offseason. A sign-and-trade could help the Spurs get younger and more modern while moving on from a player whose best years are far behind him.
The San Antonio Spurs execute a sign-and-trade, sending forward Rudy Gay and a 2024 second-round pick to the Denver Nuggets for Jerami Grant.
Let’s first begin with the extension. Given the COVID-19 pandemic and the financial fallout of it, it’s not surprising to hear Grant wants financial stability moving forward. Few teams can offer that the way San Antonio can, which is what makes this deal so interesting for all parties. I propose that Grant gets a three-year, $35 million extension to play in silver and black.
This is in line with other top-players from his 2014 NBA Draft class including Spencer Dinwiddie (Three years, $34.4 million), T.J. Warren (Four years, $47 million) and Jusuf Nurkic (Four years, $48 million). Their deals all average between $11.5 to $12 million per season and quite frankly, these players have done more to earn their keep than Grant has.
However, Grant fits wonderfully with what the Spurs need moving forward. He’s a multi-positional defender from the four-spot who can protect the rim on the weakside and keep up with ball-handlers when switching off of screens. He’s a great athlete who moves well and can serve as a secondary playmaker when the team needs him to.
JERAMI GRANT WITH AUTHORITY! ? pic.twitter.com/KIE1E3NLOT
— NBA (@NBA) March 2, 2020
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Grant hit 40 percent of his threes last year and 39.2 percent last year in OKC, so the long-ball is legit. With his floor spacing, athleticism and high basketball IQ, the Spurs can solidify at least one of their long-term rotation players for years to come. It’d mean parting with Rudy Gay, who hasn’t been himself at all this year and would sacrifice a bit of financial flexibility moving forward, but sometimes you’ll never hit the jackpot if you don’t take a gamble in the first place.
For Denver, it gives one year of a versatile veteran who knows how to fit into a role and play off of star big men. He’s done it for years with Aldridge and DeMarcus Cousins in Sacramento, so he’ll put himself in positions to get the job done playing off of Jokic. Plus, it’s a short-term commitment that leaves the door open for a new player in the 2021 offseason for Denver.
Adding that second-round pick sweetens the deal and pays thanks for the Nuggets for facilitating a deal. By timing this right, the Spurs can use their cap space to figure out which direction they’re taking the team before committing to this deal with Grant. They can allocate their mid-level exception and still make the deal since Grant’s income is lower than Gay’s for next season.
If we all agree that getting younger is the right move for the Spurs then this is one way to do it while adapting to the modern NBA and committing to their future.
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