The Miami Heat are still trying to fill the void left by departed forward Jae Crowder. Maybe they should have pulled the trigger on what would have been a blockbuster deal for Detroit Pistons star Jerami Grant.
Grant’s name was loosely mentioned in trade talks at the deadline since Detroit owns the worst record in the Eastern Conference. The 27-year-old forward has enjoyed a career year for the Pistons while averaging 22.3 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.1 blocks per game. He seems to be earning every penny of that monstrous three-year, $60 million contract after coming over in a sign-and-trade from Denver in 2020.
BREAKING: Jerami Grant signs a 3-Year/$60 Million deal with the Pistons, via @ShamsCharania.
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) November 21, 2020
Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley compiled a list of “NBA Trade Deadline Deals Contenders and Tankers Should’ve Made” and sent Grant to Miami in exchange for Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson. Those two players were said to be off the table in any Heat trade negotiations, including a reported trade for James Harden.
So this is more an exercise in wishful thinking, but Grant’s numbers speak for themselves. The former second-round pick out of Syracuse (2014) certainly would have made a drool-worthy impact in South Beach.
Statistically speaking, Grant looks like a $20 million player with several career-best marks, including 22.3 points, 2.8 assists and 2.1 threes per game. Given that, there’s a decent (or better) chance that his production is being propped up by the dearth of talent around him in Detroit. And even with the numerical boost, he’s still a 27-year-old with a 13.5 career player efficiency rating.
Miami, meanwhile, would have filled its Jae Crowder void with a significant upgrade and added some missing juice from its 22nd-ranked offense. Since Grant’s activity level and defense both seem like natural fits for the Heat #Culture, he could’ve hit the ground sprinting in South Beach and potentially restored Miami’s championship hopes.
This Jerami Grant poster 😳 pic.twitter.com/OHrPi2uMoS
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 2, 2021
The Pistons wanted “multiple first-round picks” for Grant at the trade deadline, per The Athletic’s James Edwards III. They didn’t bite and appear content on keeping Grant in the fold as a building block for the future. The uber-talented forward scored a career-high 43 points in February against the Chicago Bulls.
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Heat Missing Crowder’s Leadership, Defense
Crowder was a big reason why the Heat made it to the NBA Finals in the Orlando bubble. He averaged 11.9 points and 5.4 rebounds per game for Miami while serving as a vocal leader and defensive monster. The 30-year-old forward has been arguably the hardest player to replace this season. Kelly Olynyk couldn’t do it. And Trevor Ariza is still trying to do it.
Background on Crowder situation, per source: Heat offered two-year deal with $14 M this season & team option for 2021-22. He instead took 3 years, $30 M from Suns. Heat told him they would love to have him but have a master plan for 2021-22 and sticking to it.They wished him well
— Barry Jackson (@flasportsbuzz) November 21, 2020
Why did he leave South Beach? It came down to years and not money. Crowder wanted the security of a three-year deal, but the Heat was unwilling to budge on a generous one-year offer valued at $14 million, with the option for a second year. The Suns handed him a three-year deal worth $30 million, per Spotrac.
Meanwhile, Crowder has been thriving for the Phoenix Suns in the same type of role. The savvy veteran has started 40 of his 58 games — he missed eight games due to an ankle injury — while helping the Suns become a top-10 defense in the NBA. He’s shooting 38.6% from three-point range and averaging 10.2 points per game this season.
Heat Punch Playoff Ticket After Beating Celtics
Miami is officially heading back to the playoffs after beating the Boston Celtics 129-121 on Tuesday night. The franchise has now qualified for the postseason 22 times in 33 seasons.
Tyler Herro scored a team-high 24 points versus Boston, with Bam Adebayo and Duncan Robinson each chipping in 22 points apiece. They get the day off before hosting the Philadelphia 76ers — the top team in the Eastern Conference — on Thursday night at AmericanAirlines Arena. The Heat are locked into the No. 5 seed right now. That could change with three games left.
— x – Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) May 12, 2021