NBA Rumors: Pacers Would Be Wise to Hold on to Danny Granger

Mike MoraitisAnalyst IFebruary 21, 2013

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MAY 24:  Danny Granger #33 of the Indiana Pacers shoots against the Miami Heat in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on May 24, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana.The Heat defeated the Pacers 105-93 to win the series. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The trade rumors have been swirling around Indiana Pacers star Danny Granger as the NBA trade deadline approaches, but it appears that Indiana has no plans of dealing him.

Pacers general manager Kevin Pritchard has denied any rumors about a possible deal involving Granger, per Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld:

In response to the executive who said that Danny Granger may be traded, Pacers GM Kevin Pritchard said, "That executive would be wrong!!!"

— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) February 20, 2013

Earlier in the day, Kennedy tweeted that Granger was available, according to other executives around the league:

The Pacers no longer consider Danny Granger untouchable, according to rival executives. Granger could be moved:

— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) February 20, 2013

Granted, the Pacers GM wouldn't exactly come clean even if he had plans of trading Granger, but that was a pretty emphatic response to Kennedy's tweet.

Granger has been sidelined for the entire 2012-13 season thanks to a knee injury. However, he is almost ready to return and was slated to show up for the Pacers' Wednesday night showdown with the New York Knicks, although he ended up not playing.

According to Curt Cavin of USA Today, Pacers head coach Frank Vogel believes Granger is "very close" to returning, so it could be any day now.

Indiana has done a great job without Granger this season, as they currently sit atop the Central Division with a 33-21 record, which is good enough for the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference.

The major reason for the Pacers' success comes from the defensive end. Indiana is tops in the league in points allowed per game (89.9), and adding a defender with Granger's length could make them even scarier in that phase of the game.

The Pacers have had problems on the offensive side of the ball. Vogel's squad is ranked No. 28 in the NBA in points per game (92.8), but that isn't surprising considering the Pacers are without their leading scorer from last season.

Granger's insertion into the lineup will give the Pacers the scoring punch they need. Last season, Granger averaged 18.7 points and also grabbed five boards per contest. The 29-year-old also provides a huge threat from beyond the arc, thus helping to spead the floor for Indiana.

Indiana is playing some great ball right now, but they are lacking exactly what Granger brings to the table. With the talented small forward in the lineup, the Pacers will become a more complete team and have a better chance at competing for a NBA title once the playoffs start.