‘Indiana Pacers 2.0′ Begins Now


VIDEO: Reggie Miller talks about the Pacers trading Danny Granger

MILWAUKEE – Once the shock subsided, the speculation began: If suddenly former Indiana Pacers forward Danny Granger works out a buyout from the Philadelphia team to which he was dealt at the NBA trade deadline Thursday, he conceivably could sign with the Miami Heat. Or the San Antonio Spurs. Or the Dallas Mavericks or some other playoff team.

If that happened -– particularly if he landed in Miami –- the Pacers in their championship quest this spring could find themselves staring right at Granger, their longtime leading scorer and face of the franchise with a new, sizable chip on his shoulder. Imagine Granger hitting a game- or series-clinching shot that spoils Indiana’s marvelous season…

Gulp. The possibility is so ironic, so emotional, it’s almost unthinkable. It would be like Ray Allen in Game 6 – only against the Celtics.

Know, though, that the Pacers’ locker room is a gulp-free zone.

“We’re competing for a championship,” Pacers All-Star wing Paul George said. “Not a friendship.”

George considers Granger exactly that, a friend and former mentor. He ascended to Granger’s status and beyond while the veteran was waylaid by injuries for more than a year, and he hated to see him go in the deal for the 76ers’ Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen. But friendships and relationships criss-cross this league in endless connections, via countless paths.

The chip that matters most to George, the one that could define his and the Pacers’ season, is the big one that comes only in June. The line to that is straight and true.

Said George: “It’s bigger than… Y’know, everything on the floor – I’ve got friends in the league and people I looked up to in the league – but when it comes to a ballgame, that’s where [our business] is.

“I think Larry [Bird, Pacers president] made the best move for this team. We all wish Danny could be here. But Larry knows basketball and if that’s the move Larry wanted to make, we’re all behind him. … We understand we’re ‘all in.’ “

People talk about chemistry and how tight the Pacers have been, circling their wagons first in an overlooked-and-underloved way that works so well for teams in flyover markets, then in the flatly stated goal of the postseason’s No. 1 seed for homecourt advantage. They’ve grown – up and together – the old-fashioned way, step-by-playoff-round-step the past three years.

They’d done it in spite of Granger’s setbacks, allowing him enough time to return and search for value he could bring off the bench. Only now he’s gone, Bird deciding that Turner’s livelier game offers more. Who’d know better than Bird that chasing championships isn’t for softies?

“Danny was one of the main reasons I came here,” power forward David West said. “So the idea that he’s not going to be around what we’re trying to do is a little tough to deal with. But it’s a part of the business. And if he happens to go to a team whether it’s in the West or the East, if he doesn’t stay in Philly and we’ve got to compete against Danny, then we just have to do it.”

Welcome to Pacers 2.0, a group that added pieces Thursday and, as it did, steeled its resolve. They might seem to have a lot of variables in play, too many given their impressive first half this season: a 9-6 record since Jan. 20, the Andrew Bynum experiment that’s just begun, the loss of Granger and the indoctrination of Turner and Allen.

But it gives them chores, a to-do list to take their minds off Miami in a tightened race for the East’s best record. With the promise of something special.

“Y’know, this is a starter-owned team, so there’s not variables in that regard. It’s just the parts that are around them,” coach Frank Vogel said. “I think there’s room to improve.”

Bynum practiced Friday briefly, after spending his All-Star break in Indianapolis working on his game and conditioning. There’s no penciled-in date for his game debut, but Vogel said the slack in his team’s schedule this week will mean more practice for the 7-foot center, adrift when he signed Feb. 1 after a spotty half season in Cleveland and a lost year with Philadelphia.

Evan and Allen didn’t join Indiana in time to face and beat the Bucks Saturday but are expected to play Tuesday against the Lakers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. It will be on them, especially Turner, to shake off the cobwebs of Philadelphia’s 15-42 for a team with a mirror record and ambitions.

“He’s going to have to be able to adjust early and find his way,” said George, who went eight picks after No. 2 Turner in the 2010 Draft. “I think we’re going to do a great job of pulling him in and helping him along the process.

“He’s a good friend of mine, so I’ll be one of the first people to help him through this process. … In big games, he’s one of those guys who can impact it in so many ways. He guards on the other end, he has the ability to make shots and can get into the paint at will.”

Bird surely did his homework on Turner, a talent with spotty production in his first three-plus seasons who has been putting up numbers for a bad team. George knows him well. And West did a little reconnaissance, having played at Xavier for the same coach – Thad Matta – Turner had at Ohio State.

“We’ve got a little background on him,” West said. “I definitely talked to coach.”

Turner got a taste of the playoffs in his first two seasons. But he’s never had an opportunity like this one.

“That’s what I’m banking on,” West said. “Those guys have been in tough situations and they’re coming to a winning and strong basketball culture. Hopefully it helps them thrive and gives them some pride. I know Turner’s a competitor. He’s given us trouble when we’ve played against him in the past.

“Hopefully he knows the plan here is to play into June.”

66 Comments

  1. ko0kie says:

    danny granger will certainly not end up in miami… he and lebron hate each other…

  2. Cripple Rapist says:

    Granger already stated that he will join a contending team , not a rebuilding one…. speaking of being a contender, everyone knows it already where Danny Granger will end up…. (MIAMI or San Antonio) If I we’re Danny I choose MIA, quickest route for payback…. But that ain’t simple, GodFather Don Riley must pick him…. And if that happens, He will have loudest last laugh against the pacers.

  3. Nate Dog says:

    Yes, I agree with thespectator. It’ll definitely be the Pacers best SHOT with (aging) PF David West. He’s carried the Pacers for the past two years with his NBA-caliber jump shot on Offense and Defense. Most importantly, he’s been the unequivocable LEADER of this team and has set a HIGH standard in both games, practice, and the locker room. Without David West, the Pacer young guys like Paul George and Lance Stephenson (especially) (and even George Hill)would NOT be developing the tough-as-nails NBA mindset that’s required to excel at this level. David West will also help MOLD young Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen. Hell, even Andrew Bynum appears to be ‘buying in’ to what the Pacers are all about. David West is the key to THIS team!!!!

  4. thespectator says:

    the heat released roger mason jr and i believe got some money space…they gonna go after another piece, wonder who its gonna be…as far as the pacers go…this is prolly the best shot they have to go to the finals..if they cant do it this year, forget it

  5. jamey aebersold says:

    The Pacers have to STOP turning the ball over.

  6. Guest says:

    The Sixers have now gone from pretty bad team to really bad team. Danny Granger probably isn’t even going to suit up for the Sixers with his knee and all that and his contract is probably going to get bought out

  7. Nate Dog says:

    NBA and Pacer fans will be in for a nice surprise when Andrew Byum, Lavoy, and Evan start playing 15-18 minutes on the Pacer’s 2nd unit starting this week and realize that two of these guys (ET and Lavoy) were major role players on the Sixers and Andrew Byum had been a major role player on the Lakers team before knee injuries curtailed his career into a likely backup role and minutes. If Bynum had been healthy, all three of these guys could have easily played major minutes together on the Sixers team both last year and this year. The Sixer former coach (Dough Collins) has even admitted that Byum could have signed a 5yr contract worth easily $100 million if he’d been completely healthy. When Luis Scola reportedly having a ‘sore elbow’, Lavoy Allen (who’s definitely more athletic and younger at age 26 than Scola) may get some much needed reps with the 2nd unit in get in synch with the Pacer offense and along with Evan will definitely increase our ‘defensive prescence’ on the 2nd unit plus they’ll undoubtedly get minutes with the 1st unit as well since all three players have NBA starter skill sets….especially Bynum and Evan. I strongly believe that Lavoy Allen will surprise Pacer fans with his skill set of ‘tough defense’ and the ability to play ‘pick and pop’ basketball with surprising accuracy on his mid-range jump shot.

  8. Iverson is the Best says:

    he should go to San Antonio an beat the heat or go to the bulls with Rose for a long term deal. Low move from Indiana, he didnt deserve that

  9. Dem says:

    Nobody in this team is gonna give a good motivation speech when they loose their momentum in a playoff game since they traded 2 of their veteran players. This team is packed but one important thing is missing!. A LEADER!. Coaches doesnt motivate you, its your teamate/friend/leader that motivate this young players!.

  10. Detective conan says:

    good luck to indiana lol you dont treasure granger hope miami get him…….

  11. Blazer Fan says:

    RIP City Danny, period.

  12. dustydreamnz says:

    Even though Granger has just had a serious injury he’s only 30, would be a seriously good pick up.
    Turner is an underrated player, Bynum will be watched closely.

  13. Ed says:

    Granger to Miami!!!!! 3-peat in the bag!!!!!

  14. CLIPPER_BOY says:

    Wow no loyalty Pacers..thats cold blooded after all the years he gave when no one cared about the Pacers.

  15. Miami with Pride says:

    Granger should definitely go to MIami and not just because of depth of the 3 spot. Granger is versatile, and can come in for LeBron or even start for D-Wade so he can get some rest.

  16. mojo says:

    I wish Larry come down to locker room and make some strong statements to all guys – you have to sacrifice to be champions…put away emotions just focus on the goal…I think Vogel need a word from Larry too – start using copeland solomon hill and put Scola for DNP for several games use Allen instead or copeland at 4 – if Vogul not give playing time now to the bench players than it will be deadmeat again in playoffs…I wish we could have waive Donald Sloan instead of Orlando who can be decent back up point guard as he played in College for his team…I wish we could release Bynum right before playoffs so he could not sigh with anyone and sign Ron Artest and Beno Udrih…Ron could counter if Danny signs with Miami as Ron owe some debt to Pacers and he could have chance to pay his dues for the team who he left after Brawl….I wish Danny to sign with Spurs where will be perfect fit for him

  17. Brian I.C says:

    To the WEST. To the SPURS!!!!!

    Go Spurs Go!!

  18. PHX SUNS says:

    GRANGER TO HOUSTON!
    go west!

    • BIGMatta says:

      Harden 36-40 minutes a game…Parsons – 35-40 minutes a game? How exactly is that a good fit?

      • Eric says:

        Actually I think he would fit nicely because i personally believe that Harden and Parsons looked overworked at times. If they take 5-8 minutes off of parsons and Harden he could have 10-16 minutes a game. We wouldn’t need him to take over the team but instead give us some quality D and take some quality shots. Dont know the salary situation but I would love to see him there.

  19. pacerfan1981 says:

    granger to Houston, that would be a nice fit…….

  20. Troy says:

    If Pacers think they are the best why they keep getting new players. I personally think it is not a smart move at this point to include new players especially if they are planing to use the new player in starting 5……

  21. justsayin says:

    Hey Danny the Clips need a starting SF – don’t know why heatiots think they need three.

    • BIGMatta says:

      this is a good move. Only thing is, the Clippers are Hard Capped and can only spend $1.96 mill. That’s why they are going after Davis first, they need a big.

  22. lBJSouthBeach says:

    Where’s the loyalty. Indiana so desperate to win a title that they would sell their hearts to win, and that’s just what they did. Granger was the heart of that team for a long time. How do they repay him. They trade him. Go to the Heat Danny. Show those traitors in the Eastern Conference Finals why they are not worthy of the title, while winning a ring before any of those losers. GO HEAT AND GRANGER!!!

  23. BIGMatta says:

    The Pacers second unit of – CJ Watson – Rasual Butler – Evan Turner – Luis Scola – Andrew Bynum…could probably make the playoffs in the East this year.

  24. Granger to Miami by March 28

  25. NBA fan says:

    If Granger and Bynum goes to Miami then it proves that NBA teams cannot win championship with out buying allstar caliber roster /starter …. Only spurs team could change any mediocre player to above average players… They pick the Right Drafts , train and develop players, built legacy and do Best team performance …. Lebron , Wade , Bosh ( Bought Dynasty) MIAMI , Duncan, Parker, Ginobili , Popovich ( Built Dynasty ) SPURS

  26. Mike Hayes says:

    If Granger goes to Miami, the league should be even more scared than they already are. If Bynum goes to Miami too, bye.

  27. enrico says:

    go to heat danny

  28. JC says:

    Wrong from Paul George , A team is a business , a good team is friendship and business but a winner team and perfect team is friendship , happiness and business . Pacers need these 3 factors together to win a champion title , but they can’t
    win a champion title meaning feeling , emotions, heart more than business .
    say goodbye the the champion Title this year , you and your team members that put the in the sport only business never will get a title

  29. richard says:

    Gulp! indeed.. if he works out a buyout with Philly, and is on the free agent market at this moment when Lebron is out? gulp.. I know how much Miami loves players who can shoot from the outside and penetrate and play small ball and.. Danny seems to fit perfectly well.. and when the playoffs comes around, and Lebron’s back.. here’s what it should look for the Heat..

    Chalmers, Wade, James, Battier, Bosh
    Cole, Allen, Granger, Beasely, Andersen
    Douglas, Jones, Lewis, Haslem, Oden

    that’s real deep… 15 man deep..and to keep it interesting, how about this lineup being run at one moment..

    James, Wade, Granger, Bosh, Oden

  30. and if they lost in this season?. they gonna make a big changes again and the writer of this article wrote another article tittled INDIANA PACERS 3.0 BEGINS!!

  31. Garraspero says:

    Indiana hipoetca the championship with this transfer, brings a media player category without personality, a leader, than any other team will be a star next year goes.

  32. Bil says:

    why shuffle your roaster if you believe?

  33. drob50 says:

    Danny could get solid game time in Dallas as the 3rd option behind Dirk and Ellis. But why are the bulls interested?…. Warriors are loaded at the 3 so nope.. I recon he will go to one of the Texas teams. SA will push hard for him, they try mighty hard every time a vet 3 man comes on the market but they either get snubbed (J.Howard & C.Butler) or they get duds (R.Jefferson & S.Jackson, both good player but overpaid and JAX had an attitude) … Detroit would love him and his 3 ball but would he go there??…

  34. okc2014 says:

    Speaking of the Indiana Pacers being stacked, where is Andrew Bynum? I distinctly remember hearing Larry Bird state they never acquired Bynum, just so that the Heat could not. Is this team statement coming next? …” Bynum has been excused from team activities to deal w/ personal issues.” LOL

  35. jaykash says:

    i think he should go to the bulls

  36. hammar says:

    Indiana will make the best run since Reggie was there. Looking forward to the playoffs….but one step at a time.

  37. they gamble their chemistry i wish indie lose again to miami so they can learn
    from their mistake they are too greedy! and ambitious! sure they will pay the price!
    for sure if they didnt trade granger he will stay for the pacers! because its the only that can win
    a title another team than the east!
    so stupid! pay the price losers!

  38. Txema says:

    I would love to see Larry coaching again.

  39. Bball7 says:

    Lol imagine if the Heat picked up Granger…

    • HeatfanSinceWade says:

      That would be payback lol. Also imagine if Granger wins a title with Miami and Pacers lose again. Its not going to happen but I would love it if it did LOL.

  40. kc jones says:

    Good move for pacers adds a player that can come off the bench for a 1 or 2 guard and sometimes a small forward.A Young player that can run the floor and become a better ball player with a championship contender.

  41. Roy says:

    Indiana is even more stacked than Miami now, which is a crazy thing to say. With a fully healthy and well oiled roster I don’t see any team that could beat them in a best of 7.

    • Troy says:

      If Oden can give 20 good minutes to Miami Heat than Miami will beat Pacers in that series. Greg Oden 13 min 5 rebounds 5 points today against Chicago. He keeps getting better.

    • HeatfanSinceWade says:

      Pacers gave up a former All-Star! All you Pacer Fans saying that this move is a good move will Regret it. You dont Mess with Chemistry. Miami will 3 Peat! Bird got greedy LOL

    • LOL says:

      Right Roy right Indys more of a stacked team lol

  42. Gillsy says:

    I would love to see Granger go to the Warriors he could sure up the bench scoring and provide some more veteran leadership. I can understand the Pacers thinking cause it was a possibility that they could have lost Granger and Stephenson in free agency. But will it cost hem a ring this year.

  43. Cawnbred says:

    Because last year wasn’t a serious title run for the Pacers? Silly article title.