NBA PM: Pacers Open to Moving Granger
This isn’t the first time that Danny Granger’s name has surfaced in trade rumors. However, according to multiple executives, this is the first time that the Indiana Pacers have actually considered moving the 29-year-old forward. In the past, the Pacers have made it clear that Granger wasn’t going anywhere and rival executives echoed that sentiment after their inquiries about Granger were shot down by Indiana.
Now, the Pacers seem willing to trade Granger if the right offer comes along. One executive made it clear that Granger could be dealt in the next 24 hours because the Pacers no longer view him as untouchable.
The biggest reasons for Indiana’s change of heart are Paul George’s emergence as an All-Star and the Pacers’ success with Granger sidelined due to a knee injury.
George has had a breakout season in Granger’s absence and it’s clear that he’s the future of the franchise. The 22-year-old has averaged career-highs across the board including 17.6 points, 7.8 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.8 steals. There have already been some questions about how George and Granger will coexist once the latter comes back from injury. If the Pacers feel that George and Granger are too similar or can’t coexist, they may try to cash Granger in to upgrade a weaker position such as shooting guard.
Indiana has remained a contender even with Granger sidelined. In the past, the Pacers may have felt that they couldn’t contend in the East without Granger leading the way. Now, they’ve seen what they can do with their former face of the franchise out of the mix. The Pacers had an incredibly rough start, but they are currently 32-21 and hold the third seed in the Eastern Conference.
While Granger’s time sidelined may be part of the reason Indiana is comfortable trading him, it’s also why other teams may be uncomfortable trading for him. Granger has missed every game this season and teams may not be willing to acquire him given his injury issues. While the Pacers have listed Granger’s injury as patellar tendinitis, sources close to the situation have said that he also had a small hole in the cartilage in his knee, which is why he was out for so long. The thought of trading significant pieces to acquire Granger only to have him sidelined due to injury may scare some teams off.
Indiana won’t give away the former All-Star, but they’d part ways with Granger if they were offered a package that could improve the team and make them a stronger contender in the East.
UPDATE: Indiana Pacers general manager Kevin Pritchard is shooting down the rumor that Danny Granger may be moved. In response to a rival executive saying that Granger could be had for the right offer, Pritchard tweeted, “That executive would be wrong!!!”
Lakers Monitoring Raja Bell Situation
The Los Angeles Lakers may not make a blockbuster trade before tomorrow’s deadline, but they are keeping an eye on several role players around the league. One such player is Raja Bell of the Utah Jazz.
Bell is under contract with the Jazz, but he hasn’t been with the team all season. Over the offseason, Bell was highly critical of Jazz head coach Tyrone Corbin, which upset many people within the organization. Prior to training camp, Bell was told to stay away from the team. The two sides tried to negotiate a buyout earlier in the season, but could not reach an agreement.
The Lakers are monitoring the Bell situation because they believe he could be a significant contributor in L.A. Bell would provide perimeter defense, toughness and experience. Last season, the 36-year-old started 33 games and averaged 6.4 points for the Jazz.
Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni is very familiar with Bell since he coached him for three years on the Phoenix Suns. Bell also has a good relationship with Lakers point guard Steve Nash, since they started alongside each other in Phoenix. Sources close to the situation say that Kobe Bryant has also pushed for the Lakers to acquire Bell. Even though Bryant and Bell have had their differences (and clotheslines) in the past, sources say Bryant respects Bell and sees that he can help the team.
Bell is currently working out in Fort Lauderdale and he has made it clear that he wants to play this season. Sources close to Bell say that he would love for the Lakers to acquire him.
Bell’s 2013-14 salary is $3,480,000, which makes a trade difficult. However, Utah has already paid most of his salary for this year. With 56 days left in the season, Bell will be paid $1,082,000 for the remainder of the season. If he’s willing to leave a large portion of that on the table and agree to a buyout, he could sign with the Lakers and make most of that back. However, the Jazz would have to agree to that and they aren’t going to do anything unless it benefits them as well. The last thing the Jazz want to do is help the Lakers, especially since they’ll be fighting for the final seeds in the West down the stretch.
A buyout seems to be the most likely way for Bell to end up in Los Angeles, but nothing is imminent at this point. With that said, if the Lakers aren’t able to add Bell this season, it won’t be for lack of trying.
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