Small forward Danny Granger once was the future of the franchise for the Indiana Pacers, but then a knee injury sidelined him for all but five games of the 2012-13 season. Finally back on the hardwood after a long, tough recovery, Granger is no longer the “main man”. Instead, it seems that he has been forgotten, lost in the emergence of Paul George and the new-look Pacers.
For Granger, the recent success of Indiana and the 2013 NBA Eastern Conference Finals run has to be bitter. To go from the player that averaged 25 points a game and helped turn the Pacers around to a forgotten role player is no easy destiny to swallow. It doesn’t get much easier when George and Roy Hibbert have become the faces of the franchise.
Despite the frustration, Granger continues to help Indiana control the East. He had nine points and four rebounds on Tuesday night as the Pacers defeated the Atlanta Hawks 108-98, in both teams’ first game after the All-Star Break. There is an old, goofy saying that winning solves everything, but I don’t think Granger finds that saying very truthful. The good news for him is that he will be a free agent this summer, and you better believe he will be a hot option on the market.
No matter how this season ends for Indiana, I can’t see Granger remaining in the blue and gold. The Pacers already have around $65 million in guaranteed money for next season and Granger won’t settle for less money if he can get more elsewhere. Plus, Frank Vogel looks like he has forgotten about the small forward. He basically is buried in the rotation behind George, George Hill and Lance Stephenson.
At this point, Granger can stay with Indiana and ride the coattails of success because he most likely will never be “the man” in the state of Indiana again. Or, he can join a different team and possibly return to stardom. I think the choice is obvious and I will just say it: Granger will not be a Pacers player come the 2014-15 season. There, I said it.
Shane Phillips is an NBA Writer for RantSports.com. Follow Shane on Twitter @ShaneRantNBA, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also email Shane at ShaneRantNBA@gmail.com.