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OKC Thunder: Did Jerami Grant leave a sinking ship?

Is anyone else like me and was discouraged more by the trade of Jerami Grant than either of the trades of Paul George or Russell Westbrook? Remember the feeling last July?

George was sent to the Clippers for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari and five future first-round draft picks. It was a bummer, but man, that was a haul for Sam Presti and in a way meant a bright far future for the Thunder.

And Westbrook was dealt to the Rockets for Chris Paul and two more future first-round picks. Again, bummer, especially losing the face of the franchise, the guy who had been a Thunder cornerstone since the team’s 2008 arrival. But still, the Thunder got an all-star in return and more future building blocks.

But between those trades came the Grant deal – traded to Denver for the Nuggets’ 2020 first-round pick, which almost surely will be late, late, late in the first round, in part because of Grant himself, who helps fortify an already-stacked roster.

The Grant trade is completely understandable – the Thunder was no longer an NBA title contender, the Thunder still was deep in the luxury tax and shedding Grant’s $10 million salary without taking back money brought OKC close to getting under the tax, which will help the future. Grant has a player option for next season, an option he was unlikely to exorcise, so in effect he was on the cusp of free agency. What was the point of keeping him in a season in which the Thunder was an unlikely playoff team, but much less a championship caliber squad?

Still, it stunk that Grant was jettisoned for what figures to be a project prospect in the 2020 draft.

And Monday at Nuggets Media Day, Grant explained his feelings about the trade. He was relatively pleased.

“I don’t think (the trade) was too difficult,” Grant said, according to the Denver Post. “It was almost good to get out of a sinking ship.”

A sinking ship. That’s not how it felt when George was traded. That’s not how it felt when Westbrook was traded. But that’s how it felt when Grant was traded. So I can’t blame him for calling the Thunder capsized.

Grant was a fan favorite as he became an all-around player in his three Thunder seasons. Grant arrived as a small forward who couldn’t shoot; he left as a power forward who could shoot. In three OKC years, Grant averaged 9.2 points and shot 36.8 percent from 3-point range. He came a starter last season and averaged 13.6 points a game; oh, if only the Thunder hadn’t traded for Carmelo Anthony and had allowed Grant to develop as the starter a year sooner.

Grant is versatile, and that fits in perfectly in Denver, which already sported a bunch of hybrids.

“I’m extremely excited to play in an offense like this,” Grant said. “You never know who is going to get the ball.”

Is that a shot at the Thunder’s top-heavy offense, which historically has been isolation with superstars – Kevin Durant and Westbrook, Westbrook alone, then Westbrook and George?

Maybe so.

Related Photos
Oklahoma City's Jerami Grant (9) and Maurice Harkless (4) fight for a loose ball during Game 4 in the first round of the NBA playoffs between the Portland Trail Blazers and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, April 21, 2019. Portland won 111-98. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman

Oklahoma City's Jerami Grant (9) and Maurice Harkless (4) fight for a loose ball during Game 4 in the first round of the NBA playoffs between the Portland Trail Blazers and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, April 21, 2019. Portland won 111-98. Photo by...

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-f3360f59b4f4c39417a5fb52c480a771.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City's Jerami Grant (9) and Maurice Harkless (4) fight for a loose ball during Game 4 in the first round of the NBA playoffs between the Portland Trail Blazers and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, April 21, 2019. Portland won 111-98. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman" title="Oklahoma City's Jerami Grant (9) and Maurice Harkless (4) fight for a loose ball during Game 4 in the first round of the NBA playoffs between the Portland Trail Blazers and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, April 21, 2019. Portland won 111-98. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman"><figcaption>Oklahoma City's Jerami Grant (9) and Maurice Harkless (4) fight for a loose ball during Game 4 in the first round of the NBA playoffs between the Portland Trail Blazers and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, April 21, 2019. Portland won 111-98. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-d8e2f9a6df7aaf7df8f42d5db45d500d.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City's Chris Paul poses during a photo shoot at media day for the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA basketball team at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] " title="Oklahoma City's Chris Paul poses during a photo shoot at media day for the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA basketball team at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption>Oklahoma City's Chris Paul poses during a photo shoot at media day for the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA basketball team at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-efe40767c70f96154c8d2ba97e2dd494.jpg" alt="Photo - Head coach Billy Donovan speaks during media day for the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA basketball team at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] " title="Head coach Billy Donovan speaks during media day for the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA basketball team at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption>Head coach Billy Donovan speaks during media day for the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA basketball team at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-4af485e4308d9195ec6f362cda208232.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City's Chris Paul, left, and Steven Adams talk after Paul finished his press conference and Adams was about to speak to the media during media day for the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA basketball team at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] " title="Oklahoma City's Chris Paul, left, and Steven Adams talk after Paul finished his press conference and Adams was about to speak to the media during media day for the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA basketball team at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption>Oklahoma City's Chris Paul, left, and Steven Adams talk after Paul finished his press conference and Adams was about to speak to the media during media day for the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA basketball team at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-2aef2904c8886386e64790d4cfe8e80e.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City's Chris Paul speaks during media day for the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA basketball team at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] " title="Oklahoma City's Chris Paul speaks during media day for the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA basketball team at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption>Oklahoma City's Chris Paul speaks during media day for the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA basketball team at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-20527aba16f76642541fe594fa582fb4.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City's Chris Paul speaks during media day for the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA basketball team at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] " title="Oklahoma City's Chris Paul speaks during media day for the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA basketball team at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption>Oklahoma City's Chris Paul speaks during media day for the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA basketball team at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-362c7d37ea047e230a4d4ef41e31fe8d.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City's Terrance Ferguson gives an interview during media day for the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA basketball team at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] " title="Oklahoma City's Terrance Ferguson gives an interview during media day for the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA basketball team at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption>Oklahoma City's Terrance Ferguson gives an interview during media day for the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA basketball team at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-91cafe031e42e996f537b83bcdf14504.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City's Shai Gilgeous-Alexander smiles while being interviewed during media day for the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA basketball team at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] " title="Oklahoma City's Shai Gilgeous-Alexander smiles while being interviewed during media day for the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA basketball team at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption>Oklahoma City's Shai Gilgeous-Alexander smiles while being interviewed during media day for the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA basketball team at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-88c57e3101359311a1240fdf5dcd67d3.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City's Chris Paul poses during a photo shoot at media day for the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA basketball team at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] " title="Oklahoma City's Chris Paul poses during a photo shoot at media day for the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA basketball team at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption>Oklahoma City's Chris Paul poses during a photo shoot at media day for the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA basketball team at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-d990fe10ba8898da3e200ce76fcc97d3.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City's Dennis Schroder poses during a photo shoot at media day for the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA basketball team at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] " title="Oklahoma City's Dennis Schroder poses during a photo shoot at media day for the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA basketball team at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption>Oklahoma City's Dennis Schroder poses during a photo shoot at media day for the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA basketball team at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-7ccdfb51483f10565fe9b9a1f903a8d1.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City's Shai Gilgeous-Alexander poses during a photo shoot at media day for the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA basketball team at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] " title="Oklahoma City's Shai Gilgeous-Alexander poses during a photo shoot at media day for the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA basketball team at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption>Oklahoma City's Shai Gilgeous-Alexander poses during a photo shoot at media day for the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA basketball team at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-8f5cd9868f11b2d8a27dfe4b61c17b00.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City's Nerlens Noel gives an interview during media day for the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA basketball team at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] " title="Oklahoma City's Nerlens Noel gives an interview during media day for the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA basketball team at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption>Oklahoma City's Nerlens Noel gives an interview during media day for the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA basketball team at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-0dc89ac213da632f8630167fb4db9947.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City's Mike Muscala poses during a photo shoot at media day for the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA basketball team at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] " title="Oklahoma City's Mike Muscala poses during a photo shoot at media day for the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA basketball team at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption>Oklahoma City's Mike Muscala poses during a photo shoot at media day for the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA basketball team at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-ca9185d5a677332f302b5697200bb289.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City's Steven Adams speaks to the media during media day for the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA basketball team at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] " title="Oklahoma City's Steven Adams speaks to the media during media day for the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA basketball team at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption>Oklahoma City's Steven Adams speaks to the media during media day for the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA basketball team at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-209ba15824ebbde494bbb106f2938ce0.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City's Andre Roberson speaks to the media during media day for the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA basketball team at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] " title="Oklahoma City's Andre Roberson speaks to the media during media day for the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA basketball team at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption>Oklahoma City's Andre Roberson speaks to the media during media day for the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA basketball team at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-7ab5c6c3c130456b490f9bd32a0c99e1.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City's Shai Gilgeous-Alexander gives an interview during media day for the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA basketball team at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] " title="Oklahoma City's Shai Gilgeous-Alexander gives an interview during media day for the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA basketball team at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption>Oklahoma City's Shai Gilgeous-Alexander gives an interview during media day for the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA basketball team at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-2267fd648fddac31ccd117900d9f82f2.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City's Steven Adams gives an interview during media day for the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA basketball team at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] " title="Oklahoma City's Steven Adams gives an interview during media day for the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA basketball team at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption>Oklahoma City's Steven Adams gives an interview during media day for the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA basketball team at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-23ea76c68c5fcace4eaa080348eda114.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City's Nerlens Noel gives an interview during media day for the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA basketball team at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] " title="Oklahoma City's Nerlens Noel gives an interview during media day for the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA basketball team at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption>Oklahoma City's Nerlens Noel gives an interview during media day for the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA basketball team at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-9ddc463ef48db09a8cc43140ffa6d5e3.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City's Danilo Gallinari gives an interview during media day for the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA basketball team at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] " title="Oklahoma City's Danilo Gallinari gives an interview during media day for the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA basketball team at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption>Oklahoma City's Danilo Gallinari gives an interview during media day for the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA basketball team at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure>
Berry Tramel

Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,... Read more ›

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