Danny Granger is close to coming back, sometime right around the start of February. On the surface that suggests the Pacers could get better — they have the best defense in the NBA but the 29th ranked offense (using points per possession). Granger gives them scoring and good wing defense, put him in the mix and in theory the Pacers get a lot better.
Or, they may just trade him instead.
That’s the buzz from a few places. ESPN.com’s Marc Stein wrote this:
Interesting comments recently from Indy’s Paul George about how past Pacers teams all “had an ego to them” but how this one is “putting the team first.” Hard to imagine that the Pacers could find a trade taker for Danny Granger in the next 24 days before the deadline, given that Granger (knee) has missed the entire season so far, but it seems safe to suggest the end of the Granger era in Indy is drawing closer and closer.
ESPN’s Chad Ford ads this:
If they can get him back into the swing of things quickly — and get his trade value up — expect them to try to flip him fast now that Paul George has replaced Granger as the alpha dog of the team
Pulling off a deal at the deadline will be hard because teams will be skeptical and not offering a ton after he missed months with a knee injury. Plus, Indiana is a team based around chemistry and fit where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. You have to defend well, you have to buy into the system and not every player fits what they do.
But look for the buzz to start heading into the deadline. A deal could happen.
I’d say a summer deal is more likely, but that also might depend on how the Pacers play during the playoffs — a deep run can change perspectives and plans. Just something to keep an eye on.