Indiana Pacers: Pros and Cons of Trading Danny Granger
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If Danny Granger is eventually traded, will it actually benefit the Indiana Pacers over the long haul?
Him missing a huge chunk of the 2012-13 NBA season paved the way for young guns like Lance Stephenson and Paul George to have great seasons. Even without Granger, the Pacers almost made it to the 2013 NBA Finals.
Team president Larry Bird said he won't be trading Granger. But for all we know, this could just be a ruse to lure some interested suitors into the fray.
Indianapolis Star columnist Bob Kravitz said Bird's intention of not trading Granger in a June 27 featured article doesn't necessarily mean Granger won't be moved prior to the trading deadline.
That being said, some pros and cons of trading Danny Granger need to be considered by Bird for the long-term benefit of the Pacers, who are just a few tweaks away from becoming NBA Finals contenders once again.
Pro: More Cap Space
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Danny Granger is slated to make exactly $14,021,788 in 2013-14, per Hoopsworld.com.
With the Pacers' current team total payroll at $56,079,027 as a point of reference, Granger's salary takes up one-fourth of this entire amount.
Think about that for a moment.
Paul George, the team's unquestioned franchise player, is making more than four times less than what Granger is. George is due for a qualifying offer in 2014-15 for at least $4,470,088. Knowing the talent that he has, the Pacers better be ready to offer more than this in order to retain his services in 2014 and beyond.
More cap room will also help fill a void at the backup center slot to support Roy Hibbert. Ian Mahinmi is just so-so, Jeff Pendergraph hasn't proved to be reliable in the playoffs and Miles Plumlee is, well, Miles Plumlee.
Dealing Granger results in more cap space, which allows the Pacers to offer Paul George a max contract and acquire a serviceable backup center.
Con: Less Scoring Punch off the Bench
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Your heart had to go out to the Indiana Pacers bench last season.
The bench ranked second-to-last in the entire NBA in terms of productivity in 2012-13. Had this not been the case, the Pacers may have found themselves basking in their first NBA Finals appearance since 2000.
Should a healthy Danny Granger agree to come off the bench to spell Paul George at the 3 spot, other teams better watch out. Prior to his injury-plagued campaign in 2012-13, Granger actually averaged at least 20.5 points in three of the previous four seasons.
However, trading a Danny Granger who agrees to be a sixth man takes away this option.
The Pacers also did themselves a favor by coming to terms with backup point guard C.J. Watson to boost the shock troopers' productivity, but they still have a ways to go in tweaking their mediocre bench.
Pro: Granger May Never Be the Same Again
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An excerpt from NBA.com's NBA Fit section gives an insight to the gravity of jumper's knee.
But it's important to know that jumper's knee is a serious condition that can get worse over time and ultimately require surgery. Early medical attention and treatment can help prevent continued damage to the knee.
Patellofemoral inflammation, which could include jumper's knee, causes NBA players to sit out the most number of games.
Dallas Mavericks shooting guard Vince Carter suffered the same injury in the 2000-01 season. He eventually went on to post impressive numbers in succeeding years, but missed a large chunk of games from thereon out.
If Danny Granger gets traded and proves not to be the same player he once was, chalk it up as a winning gamble on the part of the Indiana Pacers.
Con: Granger Regains His Old, Deadly Form
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If Granger does rebound nicely from his jumper's knee injury and eventually regains his feathery shooting touch and swagger, the Pacers may find themselves shaking their heads if they trade him and see him inflicting damage in another team's uniform.
But then again, if a team pulls the trigger on a trade, it has to give up something in order to get something of hopefully equal value.
The last thing Larry Bird and Co.want to happen is to see Granger thrive somewhere else while their 2013-14 season is going up in smoke. The emphasis on making the best possible roster moves at a time when Indiana is in championship contender status cannot be stated enough.
If they do decide to trade Danny Granger, it will be a 50-50 proposition the Indiana Pacers hope goes in their favor.
Pro: A New Identity Without Danny Granger
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Once thought of as goners without Danny Granger, the Indiana Pacers proved during the 2012-13 NBA season they can contend without his presence. With Paul George as the new face of the franchise, this may very well be a sign Indiana is going in a new direction without Danny.
In other words, the Pacers' showing in 2012-13 may have made Granger expendable.
Along the way, Indiana established itself as a defensive and rebounding force. If the team is iffy about Granger's knee injury, it can trade him and be able to plug holes in offense and playmaking. A team such as Granger's hometown New Orleans Pelicans can be a suitable fit for him.
During Granger's heyday, he was the focal point of the offense all season long, but the Pacers would go away empty-handed in the end with no playoff appearance to speak of.
Now, the Indiana Pacers are championship contenders who may be ready to establish a new identity without him.
Con: Granger's Loss May Destabilize Paul George and Lance Stephenson
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If Granger agrees to come off the bench to spell Paul George at small forward, it can help freshen up George over the long haul. George played heavy minutes in both the regular season and playoffs last year.
George may be only 23, but overworking him to an unreasonable extent may lead not only to fatigue, but to mental lapses as well. Case in point: his 2.9 turnovers-per-game average last season.
And then there is Stephenson, Indiana's whirling dervish. Whenever he plays out of control, Granger can play his natural small forward position and George can slide over to the 2-guard spot.
Remember, Indiana also had plenty of success with Granger starting at small forward and George at shooting guard in 2011-12 when they went 42-24 in a lockout-shortened campaign.
The one major fact the Pacers have to consider is George thrived at small forward last season when he won a bunch of accolades, including All-NBA Third Team Honors, Most Improved Player and NBA All-Defensive Second Team.
That being said, it would be better for Granger to assume a sixth-man role. If he gets traded, the absence of a stabilizing force may result in George turning the ball over at his usual rate and Stephenson playing recklessly.
This is something Pacers fans definitely don't want to see.