NEWS OF THE MORNING
No. 1: Sixers’ decision on Granger buyout coming soon — Newly acquired Sixers forward Danny Granger has yet to suit up in a game for Philadelphia, and questions remain as to whether or not that will actually ever happen. According to Dei Lynam of CSNPhilly.com and Christopher A. Vito of the Delaware County Daily Times, the Sixers and Granger are working to resolve his future with the team, which may soon lead to a buyout of Granger’s contract so that the veteran can sign with a contender before the March 1 deadline.
Danny Granger, who was acquired in a trade with Indiana last Thursday, is in Philadelphia but is not at the Wells Fargo Center for the Sixers’ game against the Bucks tonight.
“The discussions and meetings are continuing on with Sam [Hinkie],” Brett Brown said prior to tipoff. “I spoke with him yesterday and that really is the latest update.”
Brown called his discussion with Granger a “private meeting” giving no indication if Granger had any thoughts of playing for the Sixers for the remainder 25 games after tonight.
A buyout of his contract is thought to be the topic of discussion but that is speculation based on Granger not yet being with the team despite having passed his physical.
“In the next short period of time, maybe even in the next 24 hours and announcement will be made on the direction our situation with Danny Granger will go,” Brown said.
Danny Granger’s status with the 76ers remains unresolved, though it appears both sides could be working toward a buyout arrangement.
Granger is not with the Sixers. He was not at Wells Fargo Center for Monday’s game against Milwaukee, Sixers coach Brett Brown said, and there was no locker room stall arranged for the ninth-year forward.
“He’s in the city of Philadelphia. Go find him,” Brown said. “He’s got a fake wig and sunglasses on.”
Granger finished his physical examination Sunday, meeting with Brown after doing so. He also sat down with Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie sometime over the weekend.
Brown wouldn’t divulge what was discussed when he spoke with Granger.
Acquired from Indiana at the Feb. 20 trade deadline, Granger does not seem to have any interest in playing for the foundering, rebuilding Sixers. If he seeks a buyout of the remainder of his expiring contract, it’d be for roughly $4 million. Brown insists that “there’s still more going on with the discussions,” however.
“He most definitely wants to play basketball this year,” Brown said of Granger, the one-time All-Star. “The obvious stuff is assessing his goals at this stage of his career. He’s a player and he wants to play. Just trying to sort out what’s going to be best for both parties has yet to be determined.”
But Granger and the Sixers are at a critical juncture: the 30-year-old Granger has to be signed by a team by March 1 to be included on that club’s playoff roster. That gives him and the Sixers a small window within which to complete the buyout process.
There have been multiple reports that Granger, upon his release, will opt to sign for a championship contender like Miami or San Antonio.
If Granger’s brief tenure with the Sixers plays out the way it looks like it will, the Sixers will have come up almost completely empty-handed on their deadline day deal with Indiana. They acquired Granger and a 2015 second-round draft pick from the Pacers, in exchange for forwards Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen. And since the Pacers are expected to contend for at least another few years, that second-rounder from Indiana will likely fall between the 50th and 60th overall choices.
No. 2: Celtics plan to ask Rondo about Sacramento absence — Last Friday, the Celtics took on the Lakers in Los Angeles with Rajon Rondo in the starting lineup at point guard. Rondo finished with six points, six rebounds and 11 assists in 34 minutes of work in a 101-92 loss. After the game, the Celtics were due to take on the Kings in Sacramento the next night, but Rondo did not play in the game. The official word was the Rondo didn’t play so he could rest his still-recovering knee, but he did not accompany the team to Sacramento and it may have created an issue the team has to address, writes Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald:
The Celtics are not taking it as a major issue, but the team is still hoping to straighten things out with Rajon Rondo after his decision to stay in Los Angeles and not accompany the team to Sacramento for Saturday’s game.While some were displeased by the move, for which Rondo did not receive official permission, others pointed out he was not scheduled to play in the game anyway (on the second night of a back-to-back), and that he may have simply been making some assumptions based on precedent. Multiple sources say he remained in LA for a birthday celebration. He turned 28 on Saturday.
The captain didn’t want to get into the matter before last night’s 110-98 loss to the Jazz.
“We already talked about it,” Rondo said. “There’s nothing to talk about.”
That doesn’t appear to be the case. President of basketball operations Danny Ainge said yesterday he is still looking into the situation.
“I plan on talking to Rondo when he gets back into town,” he told the Herald. “I’ll find out more about what went into it, and then we’ll handle it internally. We handle all of those kind of issues internally.”
Among that which could have factored into Rondo’s thinking was he had been left home from the trip to Milwaukee for the Feb. 10 game on the end of a back-to-back as he returns from a torn right ACL. Then there was the birthday plan.
“His wife and kids were with him in LA, and there were some other people who came in,” a source said. “I think he felt obligated to them, too, and what they had planned for his birthday.”
No. 3: Davis expected to make Clips debut Wednesday — The L.A. Clippers signed veteran forward Glen “Big Baby” Davis yesterday in what they hope is a move to provide more frontcourt depth for a run to the Western Conference finals and beyond. Davis is happy to be reunited with coach Doc Rivers, who coached him when both men were in Boston, but he sat out last night’s win over the New Orleans Pelicans. Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com reports that Davis is expected to get into the Clips’ mix sometime this week:
Glen Davis arrived at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans after signing with the Los Angeles Clippers but will not play Monday night against the Pelicans.The Clippers said Davis will take a required physical exam Tuesday and should play Wednesday at home against the Houston Rockets.
“We were on the phone with him and just told him what we offered and I’m sure the other guys did that,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “I do think that it helped a little bit that we have a relationship. He knows me and I know him. I think that’s the situation he wanted to be in and that’s good.”
Davis, 28, reached a buyout with the Orlando Magic on Friday and was waived. The Brooklyn Nets had also shown interest in Davis, but decided to sign Jason Collins, feeling that they were out of the running on Davis.
“I just really felt the Clippers were heading in the right direction,” Davis said. “They’re young, they got a great coach, a great point guard, a great rising star like Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan and guys that you can build around and I feel like I’m one of those types of guys, a glue guy.”
No. 4: Knee woes may force Billups to retire — If he never plays another minute in a Detroit Pistons uniform, Chauncey Billups‘ legend and legacy with the team is complete. That’s a good thing to realize as it seems his career may be nearing its end sooner than expected. Billups has been out since having minor knee surgery a few days ago and his timetable to return is 2-3 weeks. But according to the Detroit Free Press‘ Vince Ellis, Billups’ knee injury problems may lead him to retire early:
After Chauncey Billups finished speaking to the media late Monday night, he was asked if Father Time had him up against the ropes.
Billups just smiled and said: “The gas light is on. I don’t know if there’s 15 miles or 30 miles left.”
His response caused an eruption of laughter — the only laughing going on in the Detroit Pistons locker room after the latest loss — a 104-96 loss to the Warriors.
Billups, 37, spoke to the media for the first time since he had minor left knee surgery several days ago.
The diagnosis is 2-to-3 weeks of rehab before a possible return, but Billups said he isn’t going to rush back.
So with only one year left (a team option) on his deal, is retirement a possibility?
“It all kind of just depends how this feels, how things are with the knee,” Billups said of a return next season. “If the knee is fine, sure I would like to come back. But if it’s not, I don’t want to come back to this.
“It’s tough to do this and we’re not a winning team at this stage. It’s tough to do that, but hopefully in a perfect world and my knee is fine … I feel like if my knee was fine we probably wouldn’t be in the position that we’re in.”
SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Chinese league star Lester Hudson is drawing some interest from a couple of contenders as the playoffs’ stretch run nears … Wizards seem likely to sign veteran big man Drew Gooden to a 10-day deal as they try to offset losing Nene for 4-6 weeks to injury … Clippers may have some interest in bringing the recently bought out Metta World Peace in for a deal, but don’t expect to see MWP in Brooklyn … The Jazz are simply better when Derrick Favors plays …
ICYMI(s) of The Night: Dirk Nowitzki played hero last night against the Knicks with a game-winning buzzer-beater at MSG. That was great, but we also don’t want to overlook a pair of behind-the-back passes leading to power jams, the first one from O.J. Mayo to Brandon Knight and another from Brandon Jennings to Greg Monroe …