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As an unrestricted free agent this past offseason, forward Jerami Grant reportedly had a handful of potential suitors. Despite interest elsewhere, he quickly re-upped with OKC by signing three-year, $27 million contract on July 1. “It’s big, it’s the start of the season,” Grant said. “I put in a lot of work over the summer and the goal is to continue building team chemistry. I feel like we did a good job building that last season.” “Everything about the team and the organization made it an easy decision for me to return,” Grant said. “I’ve been here for a couple years and have gotten comfortable. It was a no-brainer for me.” Grant is one of two players that could be starting at the Power Forward position this year, with Patrick Patterson being the other option. Patterson brings more of a shooting approach with corner 3s, while playing Grant would sacrifice three-point shooting for more athleticism and switching power on the defensive end. “I love playing fast; that’s what I’ve been doing my whole career,” Grant said. “Excited for what this year brings.” The Thunder’s lineups in the 2018 playoffs thrived when Grant was on the floor, outscoring the Jazz by 8.9 points per game. A lineup that could see success this year includes Westbrook, Abrines, George, Grant, and Adams. This lineup saw massive success in the little time it was used last year; in the playoffs (below) and the regular season (above). Grant, 24, is still at the beginning of his career. He has improved every year that he’s been in the league, and is poised to continue that trend. His role and importance will only increase this year with the departure of Carmelo Anthony and the uncertainty of who will be the starting Power-Forward. “Every team needs that kind of guy… you can plug him in everywhere,” Paul George said. “He plays quick and can get around. Special kind of player that I was vouching for to come back.” Grant was traded to the Thunder two games into the 2016-17 season for Ersan Ilyasova and a protected first round pick. He made a big improvement from his first season with the Thunder to his second season by upping his Field goal percentage from 46.9 percent to 53.5 percent on more shots taken. “I love playing fast; that’s what I’ve been doing my whole career,” Grant said. “Excited for what this year brings.”

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James Horvath