The Sixers acquired Granger from the Indiana Pacers in a trade deadline buzzer-beater that saw Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen go to Indiana. There was some speculation that Granger would stay in Philadelphia in order to showcase himself and also preserve his Bird rights heading into the offseason, but instead he'll look to join a contender.
Tanking too hard?
Tanking too hard?
Aldridge reports the Los Angeles Clippers, Chicago Bulls, Miami Heat, Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs will be in the running once Granger's buyout is complete. ESPN's Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne mentioned the Spurs and Clippers as leading suitors for the veteran forward. Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski reports that Los Angeles leads for his services considering their title aspirations and the immediate playing time available.
Granger has gone through some tough times over the last few seasons. Just a few years ago, he was the top dog on an up-and-coming Pacers team. But after degenerative knee problems kept him sidelined for nearly all of last season, Paul George took those reins. Granger has had further injury issues this year, and since returning, he has looked like a shell of himself.
On the season, Granger is averaging 8.3 points and 3.6 rebounds while shooting 35.9 percent overall and 33.0 percent from three. That's simply not very good, so any of these contenders would be hoping to catch lightning in a bottle by signing him. With all of this in mind, let's take a look at how the 30-year-old fits on each of the reported suitors.
When healthy, the Spurs are one of the deepest teams in the NBA. But staying healthy has been a bit of an issue this season. On the wing, Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green and Manu Ginobili have all missed time, with Ginobili's hamstring problems being the most worrisome going forward. When all of those players are in the lineup, it's hard to envision Granger getting consistent playing time. But if Ginobili's hammy flares up again or there's another injury, Granger could slide in and perhaps take on an increased role. Austin Daye was just acquired to assist with depth, but Granger would be a better option than Daye.
Browsing for bargains
Browsing for bargains
The Clippers have a bit of a logjam on the wing, although Granger could carve out some playing time for himself, at least as long as J.J. Redick remains out of the lineup. With Redick likely sidelined for nearly the remainder of the regular season, Jamal Crawford and Matt Barnes currently man the 2 and 3. Behind them are some questions marks, and Barnes is a bit volatile in his own right. Willie Green doesn't offer much at this point, Reggie Bullock is a rookie and Jared Dudley has been a major disappointment. Hedo Turkoglu is a veteran with playoff experience, but do the Clippers really want to rely on him down the stretch and into the postseason? Granger is obviously a huge question mark as well, but he may have more upside than most of the other players on the wing depth chart.
The Bulls are an interesting option. Out of the five teams listed, they have the worst chance at a championship. However, Chicago could also represent one of the situations with the most available playing time, which could be important as Granger gears up for a new contract in the offseason. With Luol Deng gone, Tom Thibodeau has been playing Jimmy Butler and Mike Dunleavy heavy minutes. Butler routinely plays over 40 minutes, and he often comes close to playing the full 48. However, the third-year wing has dealt with several different injuries this season, and it would be nice to have another option behind him to help ease some of the load. Rookie Tony Snell has shown some promise, but Granger is a more veteran presence who could help improve a Bulls offense that ranks as one of the worst in the league.
Granger signing with the Heat after getting dealt from the Pacers would be quite the story. Miami and Indiana have developed a rivalry over the past two seasons, and the two teams are on a collision course for a second straight Eastern Conference Finals matchup. With Ray Allen and Shane Battier showing signs of age and Michael Beasley not being the most trustworthy of players, the Heat could use some more help on the wing. Signing Granger to help beat their rivals and his old team may sound appealing to Miami, but they reportedly have their eyes on the soon-to-be bought out Caron Butler, who was drafted by the Heat in 2002.
The Rockets are one of the best offensive teams in the league, but they still could stand to shore up their wing depth. Francisco Garcia has really struggled this year and has fallen out of the rotation, while Omri Casspi has seen his playing time fluctuate a bit. Houston did just trade away Aaron Brooks in order to acquire Jordan Hamilton, who had a nice showing in his first game with the Rockets on Tuesday night. Houston's run-and-gun style may not be the best fit for the oft-injured Granger, but if he found his three-point stroke, he could be a welcome addition to a team that loves to chuck treys.