One of the less discussed names being mentioned in trade rumors these days is Indiana Pacers small forward Danny Granger.
Moving the 6’8” play maker is considered to be in the cards as the Pacers focus more on working their offense through Paul George and David West. Granger is coming off an injury that has kept him out for the entirety of the season, a fact that will undoubtedly concern any potential suitors. Generosity will be limited in any offer, so the Pacers could just hang onto Granger and attempt to deploy him in improving their 29th ranked offense. The team averages 92.8 points per game and has relied heavily on its defense to climb to third in the Eastern Conference.
Rumors have surfaced in the last few days that the Houston Rockets could be a potential suitor of Granger, but the Pacers would likely require a piece of value and one of Houston’s many young talented players that can still be developed.
It’s doubtful Kevin McHale would be willing to part with Chandler Parsons, the small forward that he has groomed from his rookie season, so the question becomes does Houston have the pieces to trade?
Certainly James Harden, Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik are all off limits for a trade, leaving very few players of quality left for the Rockets to trade and acquire Granger. Further complicating matters would be Houston’s unwillingness to trade for a player that would cost them $14 million next season before his contract expires. Trying to renew Granger at that point would be complicated as Lin and Asik’s back loaded deals pay them $14 million each the following season.
Having given a first round pick away to Oklahoma City in order to acquire James Harden and trading their own 2013 picks away in other deals, Houston can’t offer immediate draft picks as part of the deal. Indiana is pretty deep and has a good rotation of players in every position. They defend the paint better than any other team in the league and are already in position to be a contender in the East with or without Granger.
It’s this fact that is fueling the trade rumors, but it’s also the factor that could kill any deal as having him around when the postseason comes would prove to be a positive for the Pacers. The Rockets don’t need to improve their offense, something they showcased last night by draining an NBA record 23 3-point shots and posting 140 points on a strong Golden State team. Granger is a player who would come in and give the Rockets a perimeter threat who isn’t reliant on creating things for himself off the dribble the way that Parsons and Harden are, but the move doesn’t necessarily make the Rockets better or address the their biggest weaknesses.
If Houston is going to do any deal, it’s more than likely going to be for front court help that can aid them in addressing their interior defense. Considering they have Omer Asik locked up for the next two seasons, the Rockets would most likely be interested in acquiring a better power forward than Patrick Patterson or Marcus Morris.
Granger isn’t that, and would command a sizable amount of their cap space to add a guy with health issues that possesses very little trade on value at 29-years old.
Rumors are rampant at this time of year. Some are true, some are pure conjecture. A few will actually go through that make absolutely no sense and a few will happen that completely change the makeup of the parties involved. But to anyone with a basketball mind like Rockets general manager Darryl Morey, this rumor isn’t one that will even be considered to come to fruition.