After officially agreeing to a contract buyout with the rebuilding Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday, former Indiana Pacer, Danny Granger, was rumored to have drawn interest from several of the league's top contenders including the San Antonio Spurs, Miami Heat, Los Angeles Clippers, and Houston Rockets, along with the playoff-hopeful Dallas Mavericks. With Granger free to chose his own destiny, early reports indicated that his priority in free agency would be to find a landing spot that would provide him the opportunity to both contend and play meaningful minutes.
Although, earlier this season, ESPN reported that the reigning NBA Champions were in search of an additional wing scorer that could spell Dwyane Wade, a report from the Miami Herald this week alluded to the notion that various members of the Heat may not have been thrilled by the prospect of adding Granger to their roster:
So who would be better for Miami? Heat players would clearly prefer [Caron] 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."
Whether rivalries had anything to do with Granger's final decision is, of course, unknown, but what is certain is that he ultimately felt that his best fit would be with the Los Angeles Clippers.
Which means that after nine long years wearing the Blue and Gold, Danny Granger will be donning a different uniform and may be suiting up as early as Saturday when his new team faces the New Orleans Pelicans at Staples Center. According to the team's official website, the freshly signed Clipper agreed to sign with the team formally known as Lob City because, ""I'm very familiar with the way Doc (Rivers) coaches," said Granger. "I've always had the desire to play with a point guard the caliber of Chris Paul. In the West, it's a really tight race out here. I just thought I would be able to help this team the most."
When choosing between the above mentioned contenders, there is no doubt that Danny signed with the team that will provide him with the most playing opportunity. Prior to the season's start, the Clippers traded away back-up point guard Eric Bledsoe in exchange for small forward Jared Dudley and sharp shooter J.J. Redick. Since the swap, Dudley has failed to find his fit in Los Angeles averaging just 7.5ppg on .443% shooting - his lowest marks in three seasons. With Dudley struggling, Doc Rivers has tried to fill the hole on the wing with numerous free agents including Stephen Jackson, Hedo Turkoglu, and Sasha Vujacic, none of which exactly panned out. Perhaps, for Rivers and Granger, the fourth time will be the charm.
When asked about how he expects to fit-in with his new team, Danny told the team's official website, "I just bring another dynamic. I'm a bigger small forward and I can play the 4 as well. I can shoot the ball and when you add that to the type of offense that the Clippers play -- kind of up tempo, shoot a lot of the 3s, space the court -- it's the type of offense I would thrive in."
Granger, of course, struggled to regain his mobility and explosiveness, as well as, his shooting touch with the Pacers this season. After returning to the court from injury, he shot just .359% from the field and .330% from behind the arc. However, in a new faster paced system with the opportunity for increased minutes, it is possible that Granger could improve those marks even if he is unable to fully bounce back physically.
As for the Pacers, having beaten Granger's new squad in both meetings this season, they will not be facing off against their former teammate again, during the 2013-2014 season, unless they face the Clippers in the NBA Finals.