will be free to sign with the contender of his choice. (Ron Hoskins/NBAE/Getty Images)
The 76ers officially announced the release of Danny Granger on Wednesday, bringing a formal end to the former All-Star's six-day career in Philadelphia.
Granger technically became a member of the Sixers organization at last week's trade deadline, when he was dealt along with a second round pick for Evan Turner, Lavoy Allen, and a conditional second round pick that's unlikely to convey. From Philadelphia's perspective, the trade provided the means for picking up another draft pick; Turner and Allen were both set to be free agents at season's end, and neither figured much into the team's long-term rebuilding plans. Granger was merely expendable enough for Indiana to give up and well-compensated enough (at $14 million in salary this season) to make the finances of the deal work.
"Following the completion of the trade on Thursday night, Danny traveled to Philadelphia and we had an opportunity to meet with him here," Sixers GM Sam Hinkie said in the team's release. "These were in addition to the open lines of communication with his agent Aaron Mintz and CAA while we worked through the next steps. Given Danny's future goals and his desire to pursue them, we worked to fulfill his requests and have come to a resolution that we feel is mutually beneficial to both Danny and our organization."
There was little motivation for Philadelphia to hold on to Granger beyond that point, save for the purpose of completing a potential sign-and-trade in the offseason. Granger was clearly willing to surrender that possibility (and the Bird rights that would have made it possible), thus freeing him up to complete a buyout and sign with the team of his choice upon clearing waivers. The market is reportedly robust for Granger, with the Clippers now leading a pack of suitors that also includes the Rockets, Bulls, Heat and Spurs. He could be a potential help to any of those five teams in a minor role, though the impact of his addition should not be overstated.
In 29 games for the Pacers this season, Granger averaged 8.3 points and 3.6 rebounds in 22.5 minutes. He shot blanks, fell behind in defensive coverage, and failed to conjure any of his previous ability to create offense. One would expect his shooting (36 percent from the field and 33 percent from three-point range) to bounce back at some point, but to date this season Granger has roundly failed to capture any of what once made him an intriguing scorer. His infrequent attempts to create for himself in isolation have been a disaster, and he made just 32 percent of his spot-up threes while playing off of a talented Pacers core. If the Granger of old is hidden away beneath the rust, not so much as a sliver of it could be seen in Indiana.
Yet the buyout market is a low-cost gamble, particularly when a player like Granger will likely be vying for the veteran minimum. At that paltry sum, a contending team can afford to bring in Granger as a shot in the dark. Maybe a change of scenery will energize him. Perhaps a bit more playing time might right his errant shot. The variables don't matter so much as the result; any help Granger can offer is pure profit, and any minutes he can fill are a boon without basketball cost. He would cost no asset to acquire save the rental of a roster spot, and in theory
he could be more useful the rest of the way than he was for the Pacers.