How Jerami Grant trade could affect Bulls’ future NBA Draft capital

It feels like just yesterday the Chicago Bulls were the focus of Jerami Grant’s trade rumors.

Ahead of the 2022 trade deadline, the Bulls and Pistons had some discussions over the then-27-year-old forward’s availability. But these talks never bore fruit.

On Wednesday, the Grant saga reached a long-awaited conclusion. Detroit sent him to Portland in exchange for first- and second-round picks in 2025 (that first-rounder is via the Milwaukee Bucks), a second-round pick swap in 2022 (moving the pistons from pick 46 to 36 in the draft from Thursday evening) , and, by proxy, a Boatload from Cap Space.

The Bulls’ bid for Grant was long dead — plus they didn’t have the option to put his salary in a sizable trade exception like the Trail Blazers did.

Still, a Chicago connection remains in this deal.

That connection comes in the form of the future first-round pick the Trail Blazers owe the Bulls as part of Lauri Markkanen’s three-team sign-and-trade completed in August 2021. The pick was originally reported as a 2022 first-round pick, but was also protected by lottery until 2028, meaning that if the Trail Blazers missed the playoffs—and thus fell into the lottery—they would retain the pick and carry their debt over to the following season (if not transferred by 2028, the pick becomes a second round player).

Portland did just that in 2021-22, losing to injury to Damian Lillard after 29 games, finishing the regular season 27-55 and landing the seventh pick in the draft lottery. So the next chance the Bulls have to get their first-round pick will come in 2023, but that depends on Portland making the playoffs.

With the 2022 offseason just beginning, Grant’s trade is an early sign that Portland is serious about improving immediately. Cracking the West Top 8 (after the Play-In tournament) won’t be easy, especially with Kawhi Leonard (Clippers) and Zion Williamson (Pelicans) on the comeback trail and the Lakers looming as a potential threat. What is certain, however, is that the Portland pick is more likely to get to the bulls in 2023 than before the grant trade.

It’s worth getting Bulls fans excited about the Trail Blazers through this lens, as picking who has a better chance of promotion will either increase their potential commercial value or give the Bulls in a year when they will almost certainly send theirs , could bite the tow apple first-round pick for the Orlando Magic in Nikola Vučević’s trade.

While we’re still far from knowing the exact fate of the election, it certainly adds a layer of Bulls intrigue to the first big trade of the offseason. Stay tuned.

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