For the past two seasons, Danny Granger’s name has come up in trade rumors and this offseason has been no different. With Paul George emerging as the Indiana Pacers‘ new franchise player, Granger has become expendable thanks to his health and expiring contract, which is a prime trade chip. But the question remains, what could the Pacers get in return for Granger?
Trying to find a team to take a gamble on Granger is going to be tough, but it could also push that fringe team into the playoffs, as well as give them $14 million in cap space to chase the superstars in next year’s free agency.
After tinkering with the ESPN NBA Trade Machine, I was able to pinpoint two trades that would benefit the Pacers and their trading partner. I did not throw in draft picks or cash for the sake of simplicity.
Danny Granger to the Detroit Pistons for Rodney Stuckey and Kyle Singler.
This trade works out for both parties. For the Pistons, they acquire another All-Star to play alongside Josh Smith, not to mention the impact this trade would have on the starting lineup. Brandon Jennings, Granger, Smith, Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe; that’s a lineup you can only pull off in NBA 2K.
Then once the season is over, Granger’s contract falls off the books and opens additional cap space to re-sign Monroe, possibly Granger, and then try to make a run at some of the potential superstar free agents next year. And you know Smith will be recruiting hard.
On the Pacers’ end, they could start Stuckey at point guard and slide George Hill to his more natural position of shooting guard. When D.J. Augustin and Hill were on the floor together last season, you could tell Hill was more comfortable playing the two-guard spot. Stuckey isn’t a pure point guard by any means — only averaged 3.6 assists last season — but with a more potent offense around him, his assist number should climb. The only downside to this would be Lance Stephenson becoming the sixth-man, but if Granger is on the squad that likely would be the case anyways.
Singler, on the other hand, gives the Pacers another reliable player off the bench. While Singler isn’t an All-Star, he is young – only one season in the league – and played in every game last season while averaging 8.8 points and 4.0 rebounds. The Pacers have upgraded their bench immensely this offseason, but they can always use additional help.
Danny Granger to the Charlotte Bobcats for Ben Gordon
I admit this trade does sound a bit crazy, but if Granger isn’t meshing well with the rest of the team then the Pacers will need to move him.
This trade works for the Bobcats because it gets rid of Gordon who could be a cancer to the team — he has made it known that he does not enjoy playing for Charlotte — and replaces him with an All-Star who could help mold Kemba Walker and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist much of the same way he did Paul George. He would also help the Bobcats in the win column, and it would give Granger a chance to show that he still has something left in the tank to try and get his last big payday before his career is over.
For the Pacers, Gordon would be a great addition to either the starting lineup or as their sixth man. He is a versatile scorer who averaged 11.2 points and shot 38 percent from three-point range last year. Those are not great numbers, but add him to a squad that can spread the floor wide-open and he should have no trouble getting wide-open looks from anywhere on the floor.
The Pacers would also be the first legitimate championship team that Gordon has played for. Gordon has never made it to the Conference Finals and hasn’t been to the playoffs since the 2008-2009 season. Add to that he is in a contract season, and you have the potential making of a huge contributor.
There could always be the chance of draft picks, cash, or even additional players changing hands, but these trades made the most sense for both teams involved and are plausible. It’s unlikely Granger gets traded, but there is always the chance he doesn’t accept taking a lesser defined role on the team, which in turn would cause chemistry issues the Pacers don’t need.