With the deadline approaching and trade rumors heating up (Granger for Al Jefferson? Granger for McGrady? Granger for Varejao? Okay, maybe not the last one), it's time to look at how it should play out to keep the best longterm interest for the on the floor product, the development of the young guys, and the team's financial wellbeing. This is a great opportunity for Bird to make some solid moves. But they should all be small moves.
There's absolutely no reason to go for the long ball with the team 12-25, and currently somewhere between an 6.3% and 8.8% chance of landing John Wall. This team is already on pace to accomplish what they would be best served accomplishing: getting the high draft pick that can immediately help the team out of the doldrums.
But moves still need to be made this year. And the rumors flying about are the ones that should be taking place.
No, not Granger for six expiring deals, more along the lines of moving Jeff Foster to Denver, who wants him. Or Troy Murphy to Cleveland, who seems to be playing footsie, but kind of have a crush on some other players as well. It seems pretty obvious, but to make obvious moves in this situation works for the team, when getting tricky and savvy is not necessary.
As long as the moves involving these two players bring us back expiring deals or relief in some form or another, they should be done on that context alone. Or rather, they should be moved on that idea, knowing that all we should expect to get in return is relief, not talent, and that any talent (J.J. Hickson? Ty Lawson??) would be an absolute premium we cannot count on.
Moving Foster opens up the crowded Pacers frontcourt to allow more room for Hansbrough, Solo, and McRoberts to get minutes to work with. Honestly, bringing in Solomon Jones didn't make sense in keeping Foster anyway, who deserves to chase a ring with a contender in his final years and then return to Indiana to work with the franchise in the long run. While there's little to no doubt Jeff will be a part of this franchise for a long time, and will always be a Pacer, his departure in the next month could be a benefit still tangible when Jeff returns to the Pacers under whatever capacity he is involved.
Moving Murphy opens up Roy Hibbert, who apparently seems to really hit a wall when playing alongside Murph. And since Murphy isn't in the team's long term plans, we shouldn't be standing by while we let him hold up any progress Hibbert may be making, especially if we believe Hibbert is in fact in the team's long term plans, and he is showing such. Murphy's been playing great ball as of late, but I can't be alone in wanting to see Roy getting a larger, more set role with the team.
But most of all, in addition to any young talent the Pacers might receive, be it long term pieces or simply test drives, it doesn't improve the team in the capacity that would sabotage the pace they're on right now, a painful, losing pace, one that stands a shot at being rewarded with a high draft pick on a sure thing.
Be a seller, Larry, but keep it on a small scale. This current base of this roster can still be salvaged. It can still work. The focal point for the rest of this season should be finding some cap relief and hoping for a little luck in the lottery. It's not fun losing, but this team isn't in the position to make a franchise changing move that works from every angle anyway. Let's not swing for the fences when working the pitch count for a walk could be far more beneficial right now.