As a basketball move, and making the Pacers a better team now and in the future, this is a great trade. I love this move. It’s on the same level as the Leandro Barbosa trade two years ago (except in that trade we didn’t give anyone up, we just sent cash to Toronto). Danny, unfortunately, doesn’t look like the same player that led us in scoring the past several years, and Larry Bird realized that and shipped him out. Evan Turner, on the other hand, is averaging around 17 points per game with the 76ers (granted, this could be inflated seeing as the 76ers play at the league’s fastest pace), and is not coming off of knee surgery. Danny Granger is 30 years old,Evan Turner is 25. Yes, historically, Danny is a better three point shooter, but that’s about the only edge he has on Turner currently. Big upgrade off the bench for the Pacers, and another desperate attempt to tank by the 76ers (seeing as the traded their starting center Spencer Hawes to the Cavaliers for essentially no one).Also, I see this trade as insurance in case a certain absolutely insane, yet very productive shooting guard decides to sign elsewhere during free agency this summer. I’m referring to the always humble, Lance Stephenson, of course, who is playing out of his mind, and potentially out of our pay range, this season. Lance is an unrestricted free agent after this season, which means he can sign with whomever he pleases. He says he wants to stay with the Pacers, and I’m sure Larry Bird (who took a huge risk drafting Stephenson in 2010 and groomed him into the player he is today) will do whatever he can to keep Lance. I mean, he traded Danny Granger, who was drafted by the Pacers and has been here his whole career, to show folks that he wasn’t planning on resigning him because he wanted Lance. Larry will do all that he can to keep Lance. But if Lance goes elsewhere, Evan Turner is a restricted free agent, which means the Pacers can match any offer from another team to keep Turner. Turner is not the same player as Lance; Lance is better defensively, he’s a better three point shooter, and he’s much more aggressive. But Turner isn’t a huge step down, and he’s certainly better than anything else we might get in free agency if Lance leaves.But when I look at this trade as a longtime Pacer fan and supporter of Danny Granger (people have always, ALWAYS been clamoring for Danny to be traded, saying he wasn’t really that good as we thought he was), I absolutely hate this trade. Low blow from the Pacers organization. They trade the guy who stuck with us during the years following the fallout from the Brawl, when our team was terrible because we traded away our talented problem children for upstanding citizens that couldn’t play basketball. He resigns with us instead of going elsewhere to have a shot at the playoffs. He stuck with us during the bad times, and just when things were going well, just when the Pacers have a legitimate shot at the championship, we trade him. It leaves a sour taste in my mouth.
Not only did we trade Granger to the 76ers, the 76ers then buyout the remainder of his contract, and release him. It’s really unfortunate the turn Danny’s career has taken in the past year. Hampered by injuries for the past two seasons, replaced by Paul George and Stephenson, coming back and not being able to perform at the level he used to, being traded from your draft team, and now being released by the team you were traded to. On the bright side, at least this means Danny will get to play for a playoff contender, as the Clippers, Spurs, Thunder, Rockets, and Heat are among teams showing interest. I just hope he doesn’t sign with the Heat. Part of me says it wouldn’t happen, but you never know. I really hope he goes to the Spurs. I think he’d fit in great there.
There’s just one more thing I’d like to say;