In a last-minute deal that woke up a lackluster trade deadline, Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Indiana Pacers moved former star Danny Granger to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen.
On Friday, Granger took time to say goodbye to a team that he helped build into something special.
The emotional goodbye was no surprise. Granger had been with the club for the entirety of his eight-year career. Candace Buckner of The Indianapolis Star reports that Paul George took the news especially hard:
Danny Granger just made a surprise appearance inside the #Pacers practice facility. Players stopped and hugged him. "I love you, bro." - PG— Candace Buckner (@CandaceDBuckner) February 21, 2014
Paul George often used the word "hurt" to describe his feelings about losing Danny Granger and Orlando Johnson but said team has to move on— Candace Buckner (@CandaceDBuckner) February 21, 2014
Paul George, as downcast as I've ever seen him, on Granger trade: "It's tough but I'm going to have to find a way to get through it."— Candace Buckner (@CandaceDBuckner) February 21, 2014
George and the rest of the Pacers will find a way to move on soon enough. The team currently ranks atop the Eastern Conference and should only benefit from the arrival of Turner, a versatile swingman who's especially adept at making plays and rebounding for his position.
By all accounts, it's Granger who has reason to be upset. After spending over a year recovering from injury and finally getting an opportunity to play, he won't be playing in Indiana.
Danny Granger was "pissed" when he learned he was traded to the Sixers, per league source.— Jake Fischer (@JakeLFischer) February 21, 2014
The Sixers have the second-worst record in the league and are pursuing a rebuild that feels an awful lot like tanking. According to ESPN's Marc Stein, Granger is looking to be bought out by the organization, but Stein also notes that such a move isn't "automatic" by any means.
In the event that he isn't awarded a buyout, Granger will have all the more reason to miss his teammates in Indiana.
Prior to the trade, Granger was averaging just 8.3 points and 3.8 rebounds in 22.5 minutes per game for the Pacers. Between returning from injury and playing behind George, Granger never had much opportunity to develop a rhythm and return to the shooting form for which he'd become known.
If he stays in Philadelphia, he'll certainly have ample opportunity to do just that. If he's moved, however, he'll likely have a chance to pursue a title with a contending team like the Miami Heat, Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs or Los Angeles Clippers.