The Oklahoma City Thunder have traded Ersan Ilyasova and a conditional future draft pick to the Philadelphia 76ers for Jerami Grant. Here are NBA Trade Grades for both sides.
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Mar 18, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers forward Jerami Grant (39) dribbles past Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kyle Singler (5) during the second quarter at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
In an effort to get younger and move under the NBA salary cap, the Oklahoma City Thunder agreed to make yet another trade Tuesday morning.
Oct 8, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Philadelphia 76ers forward Jerami Grant (39) against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena. The Cavaliers won 108-105. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Oklahoma City Thunder
For the Thunder, this trade accomplishes a few things, the most obvious of which is getting younger.
At age 29, Ilyasova was expected to help spread the floor for an OKC team lacking in three-point shooters, especially with a backcourt of Russell Westbrook (a career 30.4 percent three-point shooter), Victor Oladipo (33.7 percent) and Andre Roberson (27.3 percent).
Three games is a small sample size, but Ilyasova was averaging only 5.0 points and 5.3 rebounds in 20.7 minutes per game. He was coming off the bench behind the rookie Sabonis while shooting just 37.5 percent from the floor and 25 percent from downtown.
Domantas Sabonis could be better than Ersan Ilyasova by mid-season, so I like OKC adding more bench athleticism and versatility with Grant.
Jerami Grant, meanwhile, is only 22. He hasn’t had the hottest start to 2016-17, averaging 8.0 points and 3.5 rebounds in 20.5 minutes per game and shooting just 35.3 percent from the field through two games.
Nevertheless, OKC has reportedly been eyeing Grant to bolster the wing for awhile now:
Thunder have been pursuing a deal for Jerami Grant for several months, and finally struck a deal for him. Teams are finishing trade call now
Grant is only a career 27.6 percent three-point shooter, but he’s an extremely athletic youngster who fits in with OKC’s new direction. Woj reports the Thunder still have an interest in Rudy Gay, but for now, Grant is an athletic short-term solution on the wing.
Furthermore, Grant’s contract is far more favorable. The 22-year-old wing is only owed $980,431 this season, with a $1.1 million team option for the 2017-18 season.
Ilyasova, on the other hand, is on an $8.4 million expiring contract. With such a crowded frontcourt and Ilyasova failing to make an impression early on, the Thunder made a quick decision to get his salary off the books and improve their cap situation:
Jerami Grant contract is non-guaranteed for this season and in 2017-18. OKC will go $7.1m under the salary cap with this trade.
However, this deal isn’t a complete home run either. While Grant has some upside and is incredibly athletic, he’s shown virtually no signs of being a competent perimeter shooter.
That’s a bit of a concern for a team shooting 29 percent from three-point range through the first three games of the season. Ilyasova got off to a rough start, and three games is a small sample size, but trading him further endangers OKC’s ability to spread the floor.
As of right now, the Thunder are seeing this league trend of perimeter shooting and basically saying, " Yeah, we're doing the opposite."
Grant is a high flyer, which will put him right in line with Westbrook and Oladipo. He averaged 9.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game last season, and already has four blocks through two games this year. His defense, length and athleticism should fit in well in OKC.
Getting under the salary cap and acquiring young talent is a great move for the Thunder, especially right after giving Oladipo and Adams their contract extensions. But the deal is not without flaws, most notably of which is OKC’s insistence that three-point shooting isn’t a big deal.
If that “fake” first round pick somehow is conveyed, this deal will get even worst unless Grant develops a serviceable perimeter shot.
Oct 13, 2016; Tulsa, OK, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Ersan Ilyasova (7) shoots the ball in front of Memphis Grizzlies forward Vince Hunter (32) during the third quarter at BOK Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
For the Sixers, this trade is mostly about sorting through a crowded frontcourt rotation to try and find more complementary players.
Grant was an enjoyable athlete and shot-blocker, but his lack of three-point shooting made it hard for him to stand out after Philly added Ben Simmons, Timothe Luwawu and Dario Saric on the wing.
According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, the 76ers plan on keeping Ilyasova as a stretch-4 to provide some spacing for their frontcourt logjam of Joel Embiid, Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor.
ESPN sources say that the Sixers made the trade to KEEP Ersan Ilyasova. They've wanted a stretch four to help Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor.
Grant could turn out to be a decent role player in the right system, but the Sixers have plenty of young star talent to lean on. Bringing in a veteran floor-spacer makes sense, especially with a conditional first-round pick attached.