Pacers team president Larry Bird isn’t putting Danny Granger on the trade block, but he’s willing to listen to offers from other teams, as Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star observes. Bird doesn’t want to add salary for next season in any such deal, since Granger is on an expiring contract and Lance Stephenson is also hitting free agency in the summer.
“I’ve talked to Danny, talked to his agent; I’m not looking to trade him,” Bird said. “But you never know. If the right thing came along that would help the franchise, I would have to look at it, but I’m not out there looking at deals.”
Granger made his regular season debut Friday after recovering from a strained calf, and he missed all but five games last year with knee trouble. When healthy, he’s given to slow starts, something Bird believes is a product of Granger not preparing hard enough in the offseason. The soon-to-be free agent says he wants to stay in Indiana, where he’s played ever since becoming the 17th overall pick in the 2005 draft.
“It’s really important for me to remain a Pacer,” Granger said. “I feel like I’ve been a big part of the building, gone through a lot of the bad years and now the good. I’d love to stay, but I understand the business of basketball and I understand that I might be a trade commodity.”
The Pacers are less than $2MM shy of the luxury tax threshold, limiting their flexibility for any trade. They have more than $60MM in commitments for next season already on the books, which explains Bird’s reluctance to take on any long-term salary. Bird acknowledged that owner Herb Simon doesn’t want to pay the tax, though the Hall-of-Famer suggested that he’d welcome a dialogue on the issue if Simon were to approach him.