With both NBA free agency and weather in the northeast heating up this past weekend, we learned that erstwhile Syracuse Orange baller Jerami Grant (“Moo Moo,” as you may recall) is getting paid. Given Grant’s success on the Oklahoma City Thunder as an athletic freak who can fill the lane, block shots, grab rebounds and dunk with the best of him, he’ll sign a three-year deal worth $27 million with OKC, per Woj.
Oklahoma City forward Jerami Grant has agreed to a three-year, $27M contract to return to the Thunder, league sources told ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 1, 2018
That’s a lot of dollars and as Chris Carlson points out, that makes Grant the third-highest paid Syracuse alum in the league behind only his teammate, Carmelo Anthony and Miami Heat star Dion Waiters. Grant also has a player option on his third year.
The size of the deal shouldn’t come as a surprise. We knew Grant would be getting paid, we just didn’t know where (there were murmurs of the Bulls as a contender at one point). Instead of departing, he’ll be staying put in OKC with Carmelo, who also to little surprise opted into his deal with the Thunder. Melo will make nearly $28 million in 2018-2019 alone.
The Thunder figure to be an interesting team to watch going forward given that Paul George is also staying put with the two former Orange men. Russel Westbrook and Steven Adams also back in the fold for a 48-win OKC squad that lost to the Jazz in the first round this year but was also without Andre Roberson (and the team’s play declined considerably without him later in the season).
In his fourth season as a pro, Grant scored 8.4 points per game with 3.9 rebounds, but also had his most efficient season yet. His 53.5-percent clip from the floor was more than 6.5 percentage points higher than his previous best (last year). Grant also had his best free throw shooting season yet (67.5 percent) and by far the best PER rating of his career at 16.2 according to Basketball Reference.
Grant has verbally agree to his deal, but it cannot be signed under July 6, per typical NBA free agency rules. This is usually just a formality, save for the occasional flip (see: DeAndre Jordan and the Mavericks in 2015).