Remember Danny Granger? If you don’t, he was the resident face of the Indiana Pacers franchise before a knee injury that has kept him sidelined this season allowed Paul George to step into the spotlight. While Indiana appears to be moving in a different direction, the Cleveland Cavaliers would be wise to test the Pacers’ interest in trading away Granger this summer.
The young and still rebuilding Cavaliers lucked up when they won the top pick in the NBA draft lottery for the second time in three seasons this year, with almost all signs pointing to them using the pick on Kentucky center Nerlens Noel.
Given that the Cavaliers have already used lottery picks on a point guard, shooting guard and power forward in the last few years — Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters and Tristan Thompson, respectively — it would make a lot of sense for the franchise to use their two first round picks to solidify the rest of their starting lineup (Cleveland holds the 19th pick in addition to number one).
Despite Granger’s injury limiting him to only five games this season, 29 year old forward can still be productive in the NBA. Granger did average 18.2 points, 5.2 rebounds and shot an impressive .382 from long range during his first seven seasons, so he could potentially provide the Cavaliers with scoring they could use from the wing to free up space for Irving to operate.
Granger also only has one year at $14 millon left on his contract, so taking on his salary for a season wouldn’t be too big of a risk and a healthy Granger would definitely be an upgrade over Alonzo Gee. Cleveland could use the 19th pick to persuade the Pacers to pull the trigger and could dangle one of their role players — possibly Gee, who fits the Pacers’ style of play — to sweeten the deal for Indiana. It could be a win-win scenario for both sides.
Cleveland really wouldn’t have much to lose in this scenario. The 19th pick in a draft lacking any apparent difference makers most likely wouldn’t help the Cavaliers enough to make a big difference, so why not wager it on a proven veteran that could be had for a marginal risk. The move would make a lot of sense for both Cleveland and the Pacers, and both sides should consider making the trade a reality.