We hear all the time about how sports are a business, which they are, but there's also a personal side to things. Paul George of the Indiana Pacers indicated as much when publicizing his feelings on a recent trade that sent Danny Granger to the Philadelphia 76ers for Evan Turner.
George turned to his Instagram account on Thursday night, venting about the swap and how he'll miss Granger's presence.
On a serious note upset day for me losing a big brother and mentor hate to see him leave us.. You helped me so far along the way big bro! Still one of my toughest match ups.. Nothing but love for you geezy!
In a lot of respects, it makes sense that George would be upset by the move. Ever since he came into the league as part of the 2010 draft, Granger has been his teammate. Along with Roy Hibbert and Lance Stephenson, Granger was the only player remaining from George's rookie season. Now he's gone.
But as George implied, it wasn't simply that the two of them had been teammates for three-plus seasons. Granger also took him under his wing.
With George now one of the best players in the world, it's easy to see how he might feel Granger is somewhat responsible for that. For one, when George joined the Pacers, Granger was unquestionably the team's best player. In fact, he was one of the best players period, coming off of back-to-back seasons averaging at least 24.1 points.
Beyond that, though, as wing players, George got a chance to work directly with Granger in practice. Instead of watching from afar, he got to learn his craft from the veteran and apply some of the tricks of the trade he gleaned from him.
All of that created a close relationship between the two of them. Yet, with the NBA being the business it is, the Pacers had to do what's best for their franchise. Swapping Granger for Turner was part of that. As Insider ESPN's Tom Haberstroh points out, Turner can help Indiana in ways Granger could not, even if his overall production takes a hit (subscription required):
But Turner won't be asked to be the Pacers' horse and that may spur more growth for the 25-year-old. Turner saw his usage rate bump to a career-high 24.2 percent this season and the flood of shots propelled his scoring average to new heights. But his lukewarm efficiency never warranted all those shots. In Indiana, Turner won't have to bear that burden anymore. He'll likely come off the bench and anchor Indiana's second unit, where he can stay in his lane and inject some playmaking where Granger could not.
The emotional side of things is clearly taking a toll on George now. But if the Pacers made the right business decision in swapping Granger for Turner and it pays off with a championship, it'll probably be a lot easier for George to cope with.
Unless indicated otherwise, all stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference.
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