PHILADELPHIA -- The chess game continues, or so it appears.
Acquired in a trade at last Thursday's deadline, former Indiana Pacers swingman Danny Granger has yet to put on a 76ers uniform and it is unclear if he ever will.
The holdup appears to be several things. Granger, who has battled knee problems that have drained him of his star status in the league, might rather play elsewhere; say, for a team contending for a championship. In order for that to happen, the Sixers would have to buy out the remainder of his $14 million contract.
But that would do nothing for the Sixers, meaning the trade that sent Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen to Indiana basically got them the Pacers' second-round pick in the June draft, which could be one of the last three picks. That is not exactly great compensation for someone like Turner, who was taken with the second overall pick just four years ago.
If the Sixers do keep Granger, they could possibly work out some kind of sign-and-trade for him at the end of the season, which could bring them more assets moving forward. Granger would retain his Bird rights, meaning teams could go over the salary cap to sign him.
As of Monday night, the two sides were still meeting. A decision was expected to be announced Tuesday.
Granger, who will be 31 in April, played in 29 games this season with the Pacers, averaging 8.3 points. He averaged 25.8 points in 2008-09, the first of three straight seasons in which he averaged better than 20 a game. But a knee injury forced him to miss all but five games last season and he has become a shell of what he once was. Still, the Sixers are looking at him, and need him to be, a somewhat valuable commodity.
"The discussions and the meetings are continuing on," said coach Brett Brown. "I talked with him (on Sunday). It was a private meeting and we talked about a bunch of things. I think in the next short period of time, I suspect maybe even as early as 24 hours, an announcement will be made on what direction our situation with Danny will go."
Brown was then asked if Granger wants to play this year. His response was direct: "He most definitely wants to play basketball this year. The obvious stuff is assessing his goals, at this stage of his career. He's a player and he wants to play. I think just trying to sort out what's going to be best for both parties is yet to be determined."
Should Granger and the team come to an agreement and he stays, whether he plays or not, that is beneficial in that some sort of compensation will be coming their way.
But if the decision comes to buy him out, this trade blows up in the face of the Sixers organization. Consider this: What if the team never made the trade and held onto Turner and he played out the rest of the season? What if he had finished out averaging close to 17 points and six rebounds?
The deadline to render his qualifying offer of $8.7 million is July 1, days after the NBA draft. Would it have been beneficial for the Sixers to hold on to Turner, look to trade him on draft night, when teams seem more apt to wheel and deal? Could they have maybe packaged Turner with the first-round pick they'll get from New Orleans and gotten something big, maybe a pick better than the one they'll receive from the Pelicans?
Even if they couldn't get anything for the Ohio State product, that's not much worse than the pick they got from the Pacers, is it?
Speculation is the norm when it comes to trades, in any sport. But the fact is, if the Sixers wind up having to buy out Granger, which would cost somewhere around $4.6 million, they basically dumped Turner for nothing.
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