Is it possible to have too much star power in today's NBA?
Superstars have littered the league's championship bouts of late, but each decorated winner has had a clear-cut hierarchy. Alpha players like LeBron James, Dirk Nowitzki and Kobe Bryant grabbed the reins of their respective franchises, while the rest of the rank-and-file fell in line behind them.
To that end, it's not out of the question that the Indiana Pacers can find an effective role for former All-Star Danny Granger. The eighth-leading scorer in franchise history, via Basketball-Reference, he could add a needed scoring punch to this defensive juggernaut.
But figuring out where and how he'll land those blows is an exhaustive exercise.
Hard-nosed defender Lance Stephenson has done nothing to lose his starting spot. Newcomer Chris Copeland, who NBA.com's Scott Agness reports is crushing his rehab, will handle the second team's floor-spacing duties. Rookie Solomon Hill projects strongly as a reserve glue guy who, like Granger, has the size to man either forward spot.
If he's healthy—he missed all but five games with a nagging knee injury last season—he could still add value to Indiana's roster in 2013-14. But would he be an expensive redundancy on a roster that showed its championship grit without him last season?
It's certainly possible. So, too, is the fact that he'd be an ideal addition for the following seven franchises.
Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov is trying whatever he can to buy an NBA championship.
The team's financial forecast is so cloudy that simply signing journeyman Alan Anderson to a veteran's minimum deal will reportedly cost the team more than $4 million in salary and luxury tax hits, via ESPN's Marc Stein.
If Anderson, and his career 8.6 scoring average, is worth that kind of impact on Prokhorov's pockets, then Granger, and his career 18.1 points per game, would be a relative bargain with his expiring $14 million deal.
Nevermind the fact that Brooklyn's forward crop is well stocked with players like Anderson, Paul Pierce, Andrei Kirilenko, Kevin Garnett and Reggie Evans. If Granger pushes the club even a half-step closer to a title, Prokhorov will be ready to sign off on the deal.
The Charlotte Bobcats have been searching for the fast track out of the NBA's cellar.
That meant rewarding Al Jefferson, a low-post scorer at one end and admitted liability at the other (via Grantland's Zach Lowe), with a three-year, $40.5 million contract. It meant valuing NBA-ready production over potential in June's draft, as Charlotte grabbed the relatively safe Cody Zeller with the No. 4 pick as high-upside players Nerlens Noel and Ben McLemore slid down the draft board.
If Charlotte wants to keep hope alive for a low-end playoff spot, Granger would only help realize that goal. He'd assume Steve Clifford's starting forward spot, giving Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Jeffery Taylor another year of seasoning before Granger's contract comes off the books.
Between Granger, Jefferson and third-year point guard Kemba Walker, Charlotte might have a three-headed attack capable of competing for one of the final postseason berths in the East.
Despite the team's obvious need for more talent and the stacked 2014 rookie class promising just that, it seems like the franchise would consider this one-and-done playoff showing a win.
The Dallas Mavericks hit the offseason trails in search of a superstar presence. They came back with Jose Calderon, Monta Ellis and a collection of similarly uninspiring players.
Even though he has reasons to consider bolting, Dirk Nowitzki told USA Today's Sam Amick, "I really want to finish my career in Dallas."
It's time for Mark Cuban to give the future Hall of Famer a puncher's chance at relevance in his twilight years.
Granger's future is admittedly questionable, but it's certainly no worse than those of Nowitzki's current running mates Shawn Marion and Vince Carter. Granger's only one season removed from pouring in 18.7 points per game and just two years removed from a 20.5 scoring average.
He wouldn't move the needle much for the Mavericks, but who besides Nowitzki will?
Kobe Bryant gave the Los Angeles Lakers a two-tiered plan of attack for this offseason.
Step one involved re-signing perennial All-Star Dwight Howard, while step two centered around adding the speed, length and athleticism he felt was lacking on last season's roster, via Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times.
Well, Howard went running to the Houston Rockets, and that speed, length and athleticism arrived in the forms of Chris Kaman, Nick Young, Wesley Johnson and Jordan Farmar. The new Lakers might technically fill Bryant's criteria, but it's hard to imagine these were the additions he had in mind.
Granger was never the fleetest of foot. And at 30 years old with a history of knee problems, he's not selling athleticism to potential suitors. But the 6'8" sniper (career 38.4 three-point percentage) fills the stretch-forward role that Mike D'Antoni is now trying to force blue-collar bruiser Jordan Hill into.
Granger's a little short on excitement at this point, but he's still outpacing Young, Johnson and Farmar in that regard.
The Memphis Grizzlies already took one step toward solving their long-ball issues (34.5 team three-point percentage, 25th in the NBA) by grabbing a hobbled marksman, Mike Miller, off one Eastern Conference power's scrap heap.
Why not follow that same pattern here with Granger?
As long as they can avoid too much overlap between Miller's and Granger's annual training room trips, Memphis could patch together a formidable collection beyond the arc.
With Quincy Pondexter (39.5 three-point percentage last season), Mike Conley (36.2) and Jerryd Bayless (35.3) already on board, the Grizzlies would have an outside chance—no pun intended—at turning this weakness into a strength.
Granger has played on a defensive power in Indiana, so Memphis' "grit-and-grind" approach should come as second nature. He's not a savior for this team by any stretch, but like Miller, he'd provide added insurance behind the aging Tayshaun Prince.
The Minnesota Timberwolves are running out of time to bring Kevin Love the success he so desperately craves. The walking double-double can opt out of his current contract after the 2014-15 season.
Minnesota knows this, and new president of basketball operations Flip Saunders has acted accordingly this summer.
He added a dominant backcourt scorer in Kevin Martin on the free-agent market, gambled on another in rookie Shabazz Muhammad and locked up blossoming big man Nikola Pekovic on a five-year deal that could be worth as much as $68 million, via Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune.
But Saunders has yet to solve the small forward spot vacated by Andrei Kirilenko. Chase Budinger re-signed after his injury-plagued 2012-13 campaign, while journeyman Corey Brewer was brought on board to challenge for the spot.
Both have Father Time on their side compared to the 30-year-old Granger—Budinger is 25 and Brewer is 27—but neither can match his pedigree. With 22 playoff games on his eight-year NBA resume, Granger has the experience to guide the Timberwolves to the postseason and the talent to keep them there.
Carmelo Anthony asked the New York Knicks to find him a "bona fide secondary scorer" this summer, per Marc Berman of the New York Post.
New York returned with former draft bust Andrea Bargnani, a 7'0" shooter whose scoring star never shined as bright or for as long as Granger's.
Anthony's reason for the request was simple: As currently constructed, the Knicks face an uphill battle to reclaim a top-four seed in the East. Between Derrick Rose's return to the Chicago Bulls and the roster upgrades of the Indiana Pacers and Brooklyn Nets, the Knicks need more than Bargnani and Metta World Peace to threaten the Miami Heat's conference supremacy.
Granger would come with more question marks than even Bargnani, but if he's healthy he'd be the perfect complement to Anthony. He can defend either forward spot and demands enough defensive attention to allow Anthony to continue thriving on the offensive low block.
Granger had a firsthand view of Indiana's six-game dismantling of New York in the 2013 Eastern Conference Semifinals. He could be the missing piece that helps the Knicks avoid a similar fate the next time around.