Earlier this month, Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka made his first in-season trade since Magic Johnson stepped down, and if he can help it, it won’t be the last one he makes this season.
According to a report from Shams Charania of The Athletic on Monday, the Lakers remain interested in trying to find a workable deal for Jerami Grant, but they have some real competition for his services:
Several playoff teams are pursuing Pistons star forward Jerami Grant: The Wizards, Knicks, Blazers and Lakers among others, sources said. Grant is sidelined due to a UCL injury in his right thumb but Detroit will have a vast group of suitors for the 27-year-old. Grant, who is eligible for a four-year extension worth up to $112 million this offseason, is one of the most sought-after players this trade season.
Grant is under contract for $20 million this season, so any package the Lakers put together for him will have to include Talen Horton-Tucker and Kendrick Nunn, the latter of whom has yet to make his regular season debut. It’s also fair to assume the Pistons will want some form of draft compensation for Grant, who has another year left on his deal.
Given the Lakers’ need for another All-Star-level talent and size on the wing, going all-in for Grant wouldn’t be the worst idea, but their ability to do so is reliant on what other teams’ packages look like.
For example, if the Wizards, Knicks or Blazers offer a first-round pick in addition to one of their young players, then it’s easy to imagine the Lakers’ offer sinking to the bottom of the Piston’s proverbial pile. After all, Horton-Tucker is still relatively unproven, and the soonest the Lakers can offer a first-round pick in 2027.
The thing that might benefit the Lakers in the end is their level of desperation. Theoretically, the Lakers’ rivals can outbid them with ease, but are any of the rumored teams really going to swing for the fences given their place in the standings and the competition in their respective conferences? Probably not. Those teams also know who they’re bidding against, so they have no real incentive to drive the price up.
Ultimately, I think the safe bet is that Horton-Tucker is on the Lakers after the trade deadline, but don’t take them out of the Grant sweepstakes just yet, because there’s a real chance the Pistons entertain their offer, even if a deal still doesn’t appear to be the most likely scenario.