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Danny Granger understands trade is possible, but seems to want to stay with the Pacers

Jun 10, 2013, 2:29 PM EDT

Danny Granger AP

Danny Granger finds himself in an interesting position with the Indiana Pacers.

After being the team’s best player and franchise cornerstone for nearly his entire career, he missed most of this season with chronic knee pain that forced him to have surgery. With him on the bench for the entire playoffs and all but five regular season games, the Pacers took another step forward as a team by advancing to the Conference Finals, ultimately falling in 7 grueling games to the Miami Heat.

As Granger sat on the bench, he saw younger teammates — Paul George and Roy Hibbert specifically — step up and take up the mantle as the new franchise cornerstone players. And now, he enters into the final year of his max contract with no clear defined role and an uncertain status.

In a sit-down with David Aldridge that appears in Aldridge’s must read Morning Tip column, Granger seems to understand that his days in Indiana may be numbered:

I’ve been here my whole career. I look at things objectively, and it’s very rare for a player to stay with a team his whole career. It just don’t happen. So when the trade talks come, you can say, okay, it’s my time to go. I love the organization and I had a great time here [but] we understand it’s a business. You get older and you move on. That’s just the way it is. There’s no hard feelings about it; you don’t get your feelings hurt. I take it as a business arrangement, basically.

It is clear that Granger can see the writing on the wall. After all, as much of a history he has with the Pacers, they have a team to continue to build and trading him in order to find more, better fitting pieces is a real possibility. In this era of a new CBA, Granger’s expiring deal may net the team more than one useful player who could step in and provide the Pacers some much needed depth on the wing and/or in the front court.

All that said, Granger also seems to understand that there’s a new pecking order and expresses some level of comfort that he would need to take a step back in order to fit into the team that went so far without him:

I’m not 25 anymore. Going to get 22, 23 points a game, it’s tough, it’s hard, when you have teams gunning for you. I’m 30 now. I’ll gladly defer to the younger teammates and put more of the burden on them than on myself. I can still carry a heavy load, but not as much as I did in the past. And I don’t want to. It’s not even a question.

What the Pacers decide to do is still unknown. But if Granger really is willing to take a back seat to George, maybe even accepting a bench role, the Pacers could be an even more dangerous team than they were this season. Granger is no longer the 20 point per game scorer he was pre-injury, but he is a viable perimeter threat who can do damage as a shooter and slasher when playing off of George and Hibbert.

On the other hand, the Pacers still could try to maximize Granger’s trade value and try to get more parts who could help the team take that next step. How much value Granger has after his injury limited him to so few games remains to be seen, but the Pacers could be willing to simply cut bait and continue to add to the roster who was so close to the Finals.

Either way, Granger seems to be good with the outcome.

  1. cmehustle - Jun 10, 2013 at 2:36 PM

    The problem with putting Granger on the bench, he just makes too much. Trade him this off season for cents on the dollar, get some picks and work on keeping this core together.

    • fanofthegame79 - Jun 10, 2013 at 2:41 PM

      Yup, I can’t see Granger staying on this team after Paul George did what he did. If he can come back healthy, he’ll make a lot of teams very happy for obtaining him if it comes down to that. But the Pacers better trade him to the West – they wouldn’t want to see a mad and motivated Granger 3-4 times a year.

    • 00maltliquor - Jun 10, 2013 at 2:49 PM

      Granger for the Bobcats #4?

      • erckle31 - Jun 10, 2013 at 3:23 PM

        I dunno if that trade is even worth it for the #4 in this draft. Might as well get proven role players if you’re going to trade Granger. Personally, I’d like the Pacers to try to bring back Jarrett Jack, not sure how feasible that is though.

      • knodtl1 - Jun 10, 2013 at 3:33 PM

        Nah, him and their pick for cavs #1.

      • bowldsbrendonbboi7581 - Jun 11, 2013 at 9:43 AM

        If the Pacers are looking to move Granger, that may be possible. I think that the Pacers would totally even take the 19th pick, which is a strong possibility considering Cleveland can absorb all of his contract. The Cavs may be aiming high in Free Agency considering any signing would be able to pair with Irving. If the Cats, soon to be Hornets, have the money, it would make an interesting trade, and the Pacers would seriously have to consider this. The 14 mil contract would be gone, it would allow them enough to sign a lower level backup pt, and still resign George and west

  2. mannyfresh209 - Jun 10, 2013 at 2:43 PM

    Put George back at the 2, and put Stephenson on the bench.

  3. 00maltliquor - Jun 10, 2013 at 2:54 PM

    I love his attitude. I’m serious, they should just keep him around and put Stephenson back on the bench. I kinda feel bad for him. Pacers have arrived finally and all the blood,sweat and tears he’s put in for the team since he’s arrived seem like it was for nothing now they are on top. I can’t believe he’s 30 already….where’d the time go??

    • hehateme2 - Jun 10, 2013 at 3:37 PM

      Pacers still need a lot more than most think. They are very limited with their offence and unless they want to keep looking up to the Heat every year need to do something about it.

      • bowldsbrendonbboi7581 - Jun 11, 2013 at 9:45 AM

        They were one game away from an NBA championship, for a team that is young at many positions, they aren’t that far away. Granger’s offense, could have been the difference maker for this team. With Granger as the scoring option, this team was never that bad on offense.

  4. aboogy123456 - Jun 10, 2013 at 3:01 PM

    Granger is a volume scorer, and while he would help them out, I don’t think he is worth as much to the pacers as he would be to another team. The pacers need next season to truly evaluate paul george and see how much money they should extend him for after the season, and Granger will take a lot of the possessions and shots on the wing. The Pacers have a glaring weakness at point guard. If you saw the heat series you saw that while George hill is good, he’s not a point guard and he doesn’t handle pressure defense well and he doesn’t make good decisions. They need someone that can get the ball to the right guy and work it inside.

    I say trade Granger for the best true point guard that they can get (maybe someone like calderon?), and then have George Hill or stephenson provide scoring off the bench.

    • weaselpuppy - Jun 10, 2013 at 6:49 PM

      Pistons likely would be in for that, allows them to fill SF for a couple years and draft Burke or MCW to run point…Still have cap room to sign Brandon Wright and see if a 2nd rounder can understudy at SF along with Middleton…

    • gregoryproach - Jun 10, 2013 at 7:15 PM

      This is a very acute observation. Granger’s value on the market, his knee notwithstanding, is his expiring $14 million cap number and a potential of 20 p/game next season as a bonus. This is a very weak draft and there is no reason to trade up in a weak draft. On the free agent market for point guards are Devon Harris (Hawks – $8 M), Jeff Teague (Hawks – $4.5 M) and Brandon Jennings (Milwaukee – $4.5 M). Conveniently, Devon Harris’ salary with either of the others equals the required 80% of Granger’s salary for a sign and trade. That would solve the ball handling issues and the scoring issues. Food for thought,

    • badintent - Jun 11, 2013 at 1:17 AM

      Jose would be a great fit, coming off a career year, shooting NBA best % in 3s and 90% FTs. super low TO rate too. Pacers have Hibbett to help him out with defense on the small quick guards. This would put Pacers very close to Heat next year. Granger must go.

  5. aboogy123456 - Jun 10, 2013 at 3:09 PM

    He definitely wants to stay though, reading his comments about how he’s 30 and he can’t carry a team like he used to makes me think he wants to hurt his trade value.

    • Anoesis - Jun 11, 2013 at 11:21 AM

      Coming out and admitting something every other GM already knows could hardly change what his trade worth might be.

  6. chadley71 - Jun 10, 2013 at 3:18 PM

    trade him and possibly move up in the draft, i hope the pacers have learned from the jonathon bender fiasco. don’t keep a hurt and unproductive player and over pay him.
    TRADE BAIT!!!!!

    • chadley71 - Jun 10, 2013 at 3:20 PM

      lets not forget that the pacers still need to resign David West… make cap room and trade granger.

      • msellis62 - Jun 10, 2013 at 3:37 PM

        They do not have a problem there. The Pacers are well below the salary cap.

      • Kurt Helin - Jun 11, 2013 at 2:38 AM

        Not really. While technically they are about $9 million under the Salary Cap there is a Cap Hold for David West’s salary — he is a free agent but the CBA assumes he will re-sign with the Pacers and he has a salary hold because of it. Meaning in practice the Pacers are over the cap (but under the tax line). So the only way they can sign new guys is if West leaves, which you don’t want.

      • mannyfresh209 - Jun 10, 2013 at 4:07 PM

        David West gonna go to LAC

  7. maximusprime107 - Jun 10, 2013 at 4:50 PM

    They could have really used Granger in the Heat series instead of Lance Stephenson jacking up 3’s. Man that was hard to watch

    • justinnoah - Jun 10, 2013 at 8:04 PM

      Cmon man, that’s not even true. It’s not like that’s all Lance did in the playoffs was jackup 3’s. The kid has big time game and no way the Pacers make it to game 7 against Miami without Stephenson. He’s part of the new chemistry, the new identity. Lance over Danny IMO.

      • danio11 - Jun 11, 2013 at 4:53 AM

        yeah i agree with you without lance in that game 6 vs knicks i dont think they get passed them,they would be out

  8. tcclark - Jun 10, 2013 at 6:40 PM

    Danny Granger is better than anyone the Pacer could get this year. When you’re so close to the championship you need to go for it. Move George back to the 2 and have 4 guys at 6’8 or taller. No one can guard George, Granger, West, and Hibbert. No one else has that kind of size.

  9. johnclaytonsponytail - Jun 10, 2013 at 7:15 PM

    Eric Gordon for Granger. They get a Scorer that can play the point. Pelicans get a SF thats a Hometown Guy. Both coming off injuries. Win win for both.

    • anhdazman - Jun 10, 2013 at 10:49 PM

      Eric Gordon is injury prone and a huge contract that you’re going to have to deal with. Enormous contract. Granger is a 1 year deal at 14 million. That’s a huge gamble on Gordon.

      • danio11 - Jun 11, 2013 at 4:52 AM

        yeah i dunno why everyone of these pacers fans is stuck on this gordon guy

  10. dukies316 - Jun 10, 2013 at 10:01 PM

    I think they need to trade him for a few better bench players. Mahimi is a good backup, Tyler Hansborough is a great bench player, Gerald Green has decision making problems, and Sam Young is okay, but DJ Augustin is not, he doesn’t fit the gritty defensive scheme at all. They need a better backup PG behind Hill.

    Ben, Orlando Johson, Plumlee and Pendergraph all could be cut to make room for some really good veterans.

    • danio11 - Jun 11, 2013 at 4:51 AM

      Sam Young is okay?I have seen him vs New York dude was a turnover machine

  11. sportsnut101 - Jun 11, 2013 at 12:44 AM

    Granger for 2g n bench help.

    I don’t even know how the pacers won all those games in reg season

    George hill looked like high school backup at pg. he needs to improve this season

    Pacers need scoring n a shooter.

  12. danio11 - Jun 11, 2013 at 4:55 AM

    Indy needS a guy like Jamal Crawford and Veteran PG Chauncey Billups

  13. csowers85 - Jun 11, 2013 at 9:12 AM

    First things first, we need to pay David West. Then I believe we make a push to trade for Rajon Rondo, especially if Larry Bird is back. Danny and possibly Lance and whatever picks it takes to get it done. I think Boston would be interested because they are considering buying out Paul Pierce, need a SF, and Danny is an expiring contract. 14m is a nice bit of change when you’re rebuilding. Plus Avery Bradley looks ready to take over at PG.

    Rondo gives the pacers the ball handling we lacked in the Miami series, has the ability to break through traps. He also fits into our defense pretty well because he’s long and got size. Bottom line though is he is awesome at getting people good shots, which improves the whole team. Imagine This:

    1. Rajon Rondo
    2. George Hill ( Better @ SG IMO, and could back up Rondo)
    3. Paul George
    4. David West
    5. Roy Hibbert

    Use whatever draft picks we don’t trade to draft a PG or SG/SF and pick the other up during free agency. Orlando Johnson is going to be a great spark plug off the bench, and as much as I love Tyler’s heart, I hope he signs elsewhere. I really think Plumlee could be as effective on the boards and score via putbacks.

  14. wjmoffatt - Jun 11, 2013 at 9:22 AM

    Pacers just need to trade him for bench help. They need to clear the cap so they can resign David West and the bench is their weak spot on that team, with a bench they would be playing tonight.

    • tcclark - Jun 11, 2013 at 1:26 PM

      you can resign your own players above the salary cap. They could give him a max contract if they wanted to (which they won’t) without clearing any space. They’re called Bird Rights and they’re what make the NBA’s salary cap situation completely stupid.

  15. lbeezyse - Jun 11, 2013 at 12:15 PM

    Granger would be welcome on the Wolves. #9 & Dwill?

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