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Blazers lose to Pacers, but possibility of Jerami Grant staying long term sounds like a win


Indianapolis — Look away from the unsightly chaos for a moment. trail blazers Instead, listen to what was said Friday after recent losses.

Forget capricious shooting, poor late-game execution, insane turnovers, and even coach Chauncey Billups’ suggestion that he should look in the mirror and examine some of his decisions.

If you listen, there’s a welcome win after Friday’s 108-99 loss. Indiana Pacers.

On Friday, from all corners of the organization — front office, coaches, players — words of optimism, if not encouragement, were spoken about what’s next. Jerami Grant Long term stay in Portland.

Grant, who was the Trail Blazers’ best player this season, qualified for an extension with Portland on Friday. Negotiations between Blazers general manager Joe Cronin and Grant’s agent Mike Niseley have yet to begin, partly due to the lack of urgency. The Blazers need to extend his grant through June 30 so he doesn’t have to compete with other teams in the free agent market.

But when it came to the topic of Grant remaining in Portland Friday, whether it was an extension or his picking the Blazers in free agency, there was good vibes around.

Grant said athletic He said he’s “not very focused” on extra time because he’s trying to win games at the moment. But he’s been glowing about his first season at Portland, averaging 22.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, and a 44.2% shooting percentage from his 3-point range.

I definitely like it here. I love it here,” said Grant. “They were very welcoming. Definitely a family environment. Everyone is super cool, good people on the team, great organization. Joe, Chauncey, all. I’m having fun with

Grant chuckled when told it didn’t sound like a player-exiting scenario.

“I’m not really going to leave,” he said.

Grant, 28, was traded to Portland from Detroit this summer. The friendship he formed with Blazers captain Damien Lillard The two were teammates on Team USA.Between Olympicthe two sat close to each other on the bus and spouted how to get Grant to Portland.

Lillard said there had been talks about Grant moving to Portland since Grant was with the Blazers, but Lillard said the topic hadn’t come up recently. Lillard said Grant wasn’t worried about Portland making him a one-off experience.

“I mean, that wasn’t the plan,” Lillard said, referring to their story about Team USA.

Cronin and Billups, on the other hand, emphasize that Grant is a pillar when envisioning the long-term foundation of the roster.

“Oh, absolutely. Jerami, you can see he’s changed a lot for our team,” said Billups. “He’s kind of like me. He plays on both ends of the floor. We play through him offensively. You can coach him hard. He’s an ear.” Leaning, respectful and humble of all…he’s the best.”

Grant said there are several factors to consider before making a decision. Wins, family, roles, where you are in your career. Also, it costs a lot of money. If he signs a veteran extension, The maximum he can sign is four years and $112.6 million. If he chooses to become a free agent and signs with the Blazers, the maximum he can sign is five years and he’s $233.1 million. The most he can sign with another team in free agency is four years and he’s $172 million.

“There’s a lot involved in that, which is why I’m taking my time now,” Grant said.

Lillard, who has maintained a close relationship with Grant since arriving from Detroit, feels that Grant is approaching a time in his life when he wants to settle down. I’ve played in Oklahoma City, Denver, and Detroit.

“At this point in his career, he must be looking for a home,” said Lillard. “He’s not going to be on another team, so I think it’s more likely he’ll come back.”

The Blazers’ case to secure Grant has two potential drawbacks. He hails from the Washington, D.C. area… The Blazers have yet to establish themselves as a sure bet to be a winner in the years to come. What are Grant’s priorities?

“Victory is there,” said Grant. “Up, sure.”

Portland went 19-19 on Friday, their seventh loss in their last 10 games. The problem is far-reaching. For the second straight game, the Blazers struggled to finish. The Blazers missed his final 13 shots after Lillard banked him on his shots to take a 95-93 lead. In the process, Indiana went on a 9-0 run to close the game.

Friday’s collapse followed Wednesday’s loss in Minnesota, with the Wolves closing out the game with an 11-4 run. In the last two quarters, the Blazers have shot 28% of field goals (13 of 47) and 3-pointers from his range he has shot 20% (3 of 15).

“That’s something we have to understand,” said Grant. I don’t think we’re hitting bad shots — we’re hitting shots we like — we just need to finish the game. We have the people to do it.”

For the second game in a row, the Blazers had 18 turnovers, continuing their season-wide trend. Portland ranks him 24th out of 30 teams in revenue per game (15.6). Lillard has been out of his 3-point range in his second straight game, and on the heels of his 8-1 success in Minnesota, against Indiana he went 9-2. In the last seven games, Lillard has scored 24% of his three goals (17 out of 70).

But in Portland, nobody played better than Friday. Yusuf Nurkic (14 points, 19 rebounds, 4 assists) and a rookie Jabari Walker (11 points, 6 rebounds), a fact that Nurkic and Anphanie SimmonsSecond-year coach Billups tried to absorb some of the responsibility by suggesting that he should evaluate his decisions.

“First, you have to look in the mirror,” said Billups. “I have to get better at putting us in the right position at the end of the game…I have to get better.”

Lillard said he wasn’t sick or physically ill, and said Billups shouldn’t take any responsibility.

“I think as players we have to take responsibility for what happened on the floor,” Lillard said. NBA For players, and for many of us, being there at the end of the game is nothing new. ”

These are moment-in-the-moment issues that occur midway through the season and weren’t expected to be that big, to be honest with everyone. is a season to assess and decide who fits in stylistically and culturally.

That’s why we shouldn’t let Friday’s loss keep us awake. In the grand scheme of where the Blazers want to go and who they want to lead, Friday certainly sounded like a win.

“I think[Grant]understands it’s a good situation for him,” Lillard said. “He was free to play … the game became very simple for him … we welcomed him. It’s possible…it’s a good situation for him, and that speaks for itself more than anything else.”

(Photo: Trevor Ruszkowski/USA Today)

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