It’s been a tough season for Indiana Pacers forward Danny Granger, to say the least.
A preseason knee injury has cost him most of the regular season. He’s watched his team succeed without him from a front-row seat on the bench. And a 22-year-old budding star, Paul George, has taken his position as the face of the franchise.
Just when you thought things were on the up for Granger, soreness returned to that same left knee after making a brief comeback to the court. Now, he’s out for at least another week and is set to be re-evaluated next Wednesday.
Granger returned Feb. 23 as a super-sub of sorts and with a 20-minute restriction on his playing time. In that time, he didn’t offer the Pacers much, as he struggled to find his legs and the shooting stroke that has made him a valuable player in the NBA.
Even if the pain in Granger’s knee subdues within the next ten days, it still leaves little time for him to regain his form and for the Pacers to locate his new role on this current team — setting up an increasingly difficult situation beginning this summer.
Granger is on Indiana’s books until the end of next season, as he’ll make a little over $14 million next year — a number that could cause problems for the team’s chances of re-signing David West, who is currently having his best season to date. Throw in roughly $60 million locked into the likes of Roy Hibbert, George Hill, Gerald Green, and Ian Mahinmi, plus an eventual large payday for George, and you start to wonder where exactly Granger fits into the Pacers’ plans.
Granger, who turns 30 next month, will almost certainly be on the trading block this summer. However, due to his recent injury and the expiration of his contract coming after next season, his value will be at its all-time lowest. The chances of the Pacers receiving multiple assets or even a first-round pick in return are slim, but I doubt they just let him leave via free agency.
Nonetheless, expect to hear Granger’s name mentioned in trade possibilities this summer and next February, as the Pacers most reasonable option is moving on from No. 33.
Brandon Curry is an NBA writer for Rant Sports. Follow Brandon on Twitter @ByBrandonCurry