Today, NBA teams were scrambling up until the final minutes to make something happen before the 3pm trade deadline. The day is always filled with hype and hopes their team can make a blockbuster trade to either stockpile draft picks or build for a playoff run…but only minor deals were made today.
The biggest trade of the day was made between the Indiana Pacers and the Philadelphia 76ers. Indiana sent former All-Star Danny Granger and a future second-round pick to Philly for former Ohio State standout Evan Turner and backup power forward Lavoy Allen.
This marks an end of an era for the Indiana Pacers. Granger has been with Indiana since he was drafted in 2005. He was the face of the franchise after Reggie Miller retired that same year. I think his biggest accomplishment is that he survived the Jim O’Brien head coaching era (that was brutal).
How will Evan Turner be used in the Pacers rotation? What does this mean for Lance Stephenson’s impending free agency?
Danny Granger has been dealing with injuries the last two seasons. He missed most of last season with a knee injury and the team went on to have one of its best seasons. The team gelled and Paul George made it his team. The team moved on and Granger was left a bit out of place. Today’s trade needed to happen to improve the team right now and to get the team in a better negotiating position this offseason.
Lance Stephenson will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason. The Pacers are approaching the luxury tax threshold and as a small market team, they can’t afford to go over the cap. They signed Roy Hibbert, Paul George, George Hill and David West to multi-year contracts and has left them a bit short. It has been rumored that Stephenson could take a hometown discount to win a ring, but once teams start throwing out real money, that could change.
Evan Turner is a restricted free agent this summer and gives Indiana some insurance. Stephenson and Turner play the same position and has many of the same skills. Stephenson is a better defender and perimeter shooter, but if he becomes too expensive to keep in town, Turner will be cheaper and help ease the pain of losing him.
Indiana’s bench has drastically improved from last season. They have replaced the Hansbrough brothers, D.J. Augustin and Gerald Green with Luis Scola, C.J. Watson, Turner and Andrew Bynum. The bench still has issues working together and scoring points. Turner can score and handle the ball, so that will cut into Watson’s minutes.
The Pacers are setting themselves up for a postseason showdown with the Miami Heat. Unless one of these two teams pick up a ‘buy-out guy’, their rosters are now set. I can’t wait. It will be a fun series.
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.