In the absence of any new information on the Lance Stephenson free agency front, the Miami Heat's signing of two former Pacers provides a little added drama in what has been an otherwise quiet day for the Blue and Gold. Just minutes after news broke that Carmel product Josh McRoberts had agreed to a four-year contract with Miami using the team's full mid-level exception, Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Danny Granger would be joining his former teammate in South Beach:
Free agent Danny Granger has agreed to a two-year, $4.2 million deal with the Miami Heat, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 7, 2014
Returning from major knee injury, the Pacers' former All-Star struggled with his lift and mobility throughout the course of the regular season. Appearing in just 29 games for the Pacers prior to being traded, he averaged just 8.2 points and 3.2 rebounds. After eventually signing on with the Los Angeles Clippers for the remainder of the the season, Granger recorded career lows in the playoffs, chipping in just 2.6 points while shooting 27.5% from the field in a little over 10 minutes per game.
Whether or not adding Granger along with McRoberts will move the needle closer to Miami for LeBron James and Chris Bosh remains, as of now, unknown. If the band does decide to get back together, expect Granger to play a similar role to that of Rashard Lewis on next year's roster, while McRoberts will likely be utilized as an additional stretch-shooter and coveted added playmaker.
Beyond just the sub-plot of Granger seemingly playing the role of Ray Allen in this year's Miami Heat free agency saga, Pat Riley's purposeful recruitment of two players that have been known agitators of LeBron James certainly brings another added element of intrigue.
Although it was not ruled a flagrant foul at the time, Josh McRoberts dealt LeBron what seemed to be a fairly hard elbow to the throat during Game 2 of the Heat's first round playoff series against the then Charlotte Bobcats:
Questioned about the nature of the hard foul, McRoberts replied after the game that the blow, "looked a lot worse that it was."
Granger, of course, has also had some rather infamous run-ins with James during the Pacers' various playoff meetings with the Miami Heat:
Additionally, known to be in need of an additional wing scorer capable of spelling Dwyane Wade, the Miami Herald reported mid-season that several members of the Heat's roster may have not been too keen to the idea of adding Danny Granger, after he had been waived by the Philadelphia 76ers:
So who would be better for Miami? Heat players would clearly prefer Butler; he and Dwyane Wade are close from their days as Heat teammates, and Granger irritated the Heat's stars by getting in their faces after fouls in the 2012 playoffs. At the time, LeBron James called Granger's conduct "stupid."
Any and all animosities aside, the two-time NBA champions have proven themselves time and time again to be more than willing to welcome former rivals (if there is such a thing in today's NBA) with open arms from across enemy lines. Of course, whether or not such niceties are even necessary remains to be seen given that LeBron, Wade, and Bosh have yet to actually re-sign with Miami. If the current version of the Heat's roster remains intact next season, the image of Granger donning a Heat uniform will likely be a lot tougher for fans of the lifelong Pacer to witness than when he had simply relocated to Lob City.