Near the NBA season’s midpoint, the league-leading Indiana Pacers appear to be in the driver’s seat in virtually every way.
Already emboldened by their league-best 35-9 record, the Pacers are now deciding if they want to take up any of the slew of largely unsolicited offers the team is now getting for former All-Star forward Danny Granger as the February trade deadline nears.
According to Fox Sports’ latest NBA trade rumors, Granger is netting “heavy interest” from around the league, with his expiring $60 million contract being a major factor in it all as teams salivate at the prospect of being able to use at least a portion of the $14 million he’s owed this season to create more salary cap space. The report didn’t mention any particular teams that have reached out to the Pacers by name.
Granger long ago lost his starting job to the emerging Lance Stephenson, himself an impending free agent who is expected to command a multi-year deal in the neighborhood of $8 to $10 million a season.
With the oft-injured 30-year-old former All-Star having played in just five games last season and already missing nearly two months of action this year, there’s no question the Pacers have zeroed in on Stephenson as their long-term answer at the small forward spot.
But, for what it’s worth, Granger is letting it be known he too wants to remain in Indiana, recently telling USA TODAY “we’re in first place right now and we’re such a deep team that the benefits of being that deep team, it comes in the playoffs.”
In 19 games this season, Granger has averaged 8.7 points and 3.6 rebounds in just over 22 minutes. At the height of his career, the nine-year veteran averaged at least 19.6 points per game for four consecutive seasons, including a career best 25.8 in 2008-09.