Why Trading Danny Granger Doesn’t Make Any Sense for the Pacers
Before the start of the season many people assumed Danny Granger would be one of the guys to get traded before the deadline. There were many reasons supporting this outlook, with a few being:
- The additions of Solomon Hill and Chris Copeland (both naturally small forwards) in the offseason. We all knew Granger could play some small ball power forward, but the addition of Luis Scola pretty much erased the idea of Danny playing the position too often.
- There’s no way the Pacers would be able to keep Granger, who’s deal expires this summer, after this year due to Paul George’s new max contract kicking into gear next season. Throw in the emergence of Lance Stephenson (and the need to re-sign him in the 2014 summer), and why not try trading Granger this season to get something for him before you lose him for nothing?
- He is on an expiring contract, which could be a very valuable resource in trades.
There were a bunch more reasons but those are were the main ones.
One of the main trade proposals that amateur GMs threw around was Danny Granger for Jamal Crawford. This made some sense since the Clippers didn’t really have any good forwards on their bench besides Matt Barnes. Meanwhile, Indiana had no scoring punch in its backcourt bench. It sounded like a potentially good trade for both sides because the Clippers would still have J.J. Reddick and the Pacers still have Solomon Hill and Cope.
There’s one problem with the trade, though: It puts the Clippers around 7.3 million over the luxury tax and they’d need to add a player(s) earning that much this season to the trade.
But just for the heck of it let’s say that trade works out for both teams. The Pacers have still got a big problem.
Lance Stephenson’s contract runs out this offseason and, as of now, the Pacers will be paying around $65 million in total payroll for the 2014-15 season, according to Shamsports. The estimated luxury tax threshold next season is $75 million. Now add in Jamal Crawford’s $5 million salary for next year to the Pacers’ payroll and that will put them at around $70 million, leaving them only around $5 million under the luxury tax. That’s not going to be anywhere near enough to sign Lance next year — and with the way Lance has been playing recently, even being $10 million under the tax line will be cutting it close.
So in other words there are only two ways the Pacers can trade Granger: Either give up on re-signing Stephenson next season already (and go all in on this season) or try to find a team that has a player the Pacers could use this season, with an expiring contract to trade for.
Let’s say you did want to try and trade Granger’s expiring contract for another player who is both on an expiring contract and can be a spark off the bench this season. Well you run into another problem. There aren’t many guys with an expiring contract that are around the same value as Danny Granger. Have a look for yourself at all the expiring contracts and you’ll see that there are only players above or below Danny’s value. The closest trade I could find that worked for both teams was Danny Granger for Evan Turner. The Pacers would probably need to throw in a first round pick, and even then I don’t see the Sixers accepting that trade with Turner playing well this season.
Most importantly of all, give this article by Tim Donahue a read.
Even if there were feasible trade offers out there for Granger, it becomes very difficult to see why you would consider one after seeing how much Granger still means to this team.
Summary: There’s no trade involving Danny Granger that would make sense for both teams, and the Pacers have no real reason to consider moving a guy who will still be so helpful — tangibly and intangibly — to this year’s championship hopes. Worst-case scenario is that they let his contract expire. And then if Lance takes his talents elsewhere for more money, the Pacers can perhaps re-sign Danny on the cheap instead.