The news came during the last moments prior to the NBA trade deadline – the Indiana Pacers would be sending Danny Granger to the Philadelphia 76ers for Evan Turner. It marked a changing of the guard in Indiana and for Danny Granger, ended his hopes of an NBA title – at least with the Pacers.
Now that the Philadelphia 76ers are buying out Granger’s contract, the veteran swingman will be free to sign with a team of his choosing – most likely a contender – where he can continue his career and contribute.
While early reports have the usual list of teams on the radar (Miami and San Antonio) the market for Danny Granger could be a little wider depending on what he would like to achieve. After coming back from a terrible run with injuries, Granger had found a role – albeit a small one – with the Indiana Pacers. He is still a very strong and athletic wing who can hit the open shot and has great range. The Pacers though no doubt got an upgrade when they secured the younger Evan Turner, but a number of teams could really utilize Granger and one of them is the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Thunder are contenders – no doubt about it. They have put together a remarkable season so far and although they have dropped a couple of games recently as they incorporate Russell Westbrook back into the lineup, they must certainly be focused on the Western Conference Playoffs and perhaps a Western Conference Championship – even an NBA Championship. They would love to secure the services of a player like Granger though. Not only does he bring a great deal of playoff experience, he is a leader, a physical presence, a solid defender who can go toe to toe with players such as LeBron James and he can hit the three-ball.
Even though the Thunder bench has been terrific, they are relatively untested for playoff battle. Derek Fisher has been the best and most consistent reserve which is a little scary. Jeremy Lamb is a solid option but in just his second season (first with any form of meaningful role and minutes) having a presence like Granger could only benefit the team and even Lamb himself – not to mention how me could act as a mentor for Perry Jones who has similar traits and attributes. Granger could also be utilized when the Thunder are forced to play a small-ball rotation. He has the size and strength to play the power forward spot and move Serge Ibaka to the center position.
If Granger wants a meaningful role to try and recapture his form from a couple of seasons ago, the Thunder as a destination makes perfect sense. He would be slotted into the rotation and could be asked to log significant minutes. He could display his game and work his way into another contract to see out his playing future – on a contender, with a real role. There are a number of other teams out there who can offer him one or the other – contend for a title OR a significant role, but the Thunder might be the best placed team to offer him both.
While the Thunder have not been linked to Granger at this early stage, it is hard to believe they wouldn’t be on the radar. As an added bonus, Granger would also be able to exact revenge on the Indiana Pacers or the Miami Heat, whoever makes it through the Eastern Conference. Surely, that has to be a tantalizing option.