Jerami Grant 'Definitely Not Leaning Towards' Picking Up Nuggets Contract Option

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJune 1, 2020

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - MARCH 05: Jerami Grant #9 of the Denver Nuggets during the second quarter during their game against the Charlotte Hornets at Spectrum Center on March 05, 2020 in Charlotte, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)
Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images

Denver Nuggets forward Jerami Grant has a $9.3 million player option for the 2020-21 season, but it doesn't sound as though he'll exercise it. 

During an appearance on Yahoo Sports' Posted Up with Chris Haynes podcast, Grant sounded as though he was inclined to become a free agent.

"I'm definitely not leaning towards picking up the player option," he said (h/t Quenton S. Albertie of Fansided). "Like you said, I feel like I definitely outplayed the $9 million that I'm making each year right now. But at the same time... I'd love to come to a conclusion or something like that with Denver, it just depends what we discuss and negotiate when the time comes."

Grant added that the uncertainties presented by the COVID-19 pandemic could impact his decision. 

"It's tough though... It's tough with all this going on," he said. "It's hard to even gauge what's going on. The salary cap might drop... It might drop a lot, it might drop a little bit. So I think everything just kind of hangs in the balance of what the owners want to do, what the NBA's doing, with the rest of the season."

Grant, 26, is averaging 11.6 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game, shooting 47.1 percent from the field and a career-high 40 percent from three. Grant's on- and off-court splits are surprisingly bad, however. With him on the court, the Nuggets are outscored by 2.1 points per 100 possessions, per NBA.com. When he sits, however, they outscore opponents by 9.1 points.

That's a large difference, though some of it could be explained by Grant largely coming off the bench.

As Nick Kosmider of The Athletic wrote, "Grant has played just under 54 percent of his minutes (904 of 1,676) alongside Denver's best player, Nikola Jokic. Paul Millsap, meanwhile, whose on-off net rating of plus-12 points per 100 possessions is the best on the team this season, has played more than 90 percent of his minutes (973 of 1,075) with Jokic next to him."

There's no doubt Grant's length, athleticism and three-point shooting have been a major plus for Denver. It would make sense to keep him around for the long haul. But if Grant is worried about a depressed free agent market this offseason, returning on his player option and trying out free agency in a year might be the best business decision.