Jerami Grant wanted out of Detroit and reportedly itched for a bigger offensive role, so now he will play next to Damian Lillard and Anfernee Simons in Portland. That’s potentially a great fit and an interesting Trail Blazers team if everyone accepts their new roles (and Lillard bounces back to All-NBA form).
However, that trade could impact one of the contenders in the West and set up a new rising star in the East.
Trading Grant can open up more than $50 million in cap space for the Pistons, who can now go full throttle after one of their long-desired targets — Deandre Ayton. Detroit has the cap space to make a max offer to Ayton and pair him with Cade Cunningham. Multiple reports say the Pistons will do just that. There is the well-connected James Edwards III at The Athletic.
Per sources, Detroit is heavily expected to pursue Phoenix Suns big man and 2018 No. 1 pick Deandre Ayton in the open market.
The Pistons are widely expected to make the pursuit of Phoenix Suns restricted free agent Deandre Ayton their priority after agreeing Wednesday to trade Jerami Grant to Portland. Word is Ayton, furthermore, would indeed embrace the concept of teaming with Cade Cunningham to form a new Pistons two-man core.
Other reports echo the same sentiment. Ayton couldn’t agree to any offer until June 30 and couldn’t sign anything until the moratorium ends July 6.
Ayton is a restricted free agent, meaning the Suns can match any offer, but all signs point to them being ready to move on from the Ayton experience.
The Suns don’t want to pay Ayton the max, but they don’t want to let him walk for nothing. Phoenix would like to work out a sign-and-trade and could try to force the Pistons’ hand by threatening to match any offer. Would the Pistons call the Suns’ bluff? They know Phoenix doesn’t want Ayton on a max. Detroit doesn’t have to play ball, and if they agree to a trade they don’t have to send much of anything of value back. Detroit can just dare Phoenix to match the offer.
Ayton has said he believes he can do a lot more on offense than the Suns let him show. The Pistons may be willing to explore that, and what their offense would look like with Cunningham and Ayton in the old-school stylings of coach Dwyane Casey is up for debate. But with two young No. 1 picks on the roster, the Pistons could be setting themselves up nicely for the future.