One championship contender saw Danny Granger as expendable, but plenty of others are now lining up for his services, hopeful that the 30-year-old could be their missing piece.
Update: Friday, Feb. 28, 12:35 a.m. ET
It would appear the Clippers are going to win the Granger Derby, per the Indianapolis Star's Candace Buckner and ESPN Los Angeles' Ramona Shelburne:
Just heard from a source close to Danny Granger that he's going to the Los Angeles Clippers. Will be there tomorrow.— Candace Buckner (@CandaceDBuckner) February 28, 2014
Danny Granger has decided to join the Clippers, source says. Should be wrapped up in the morning— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) February 28, 2014
Best of luck in Los Angeles, Granger. It's certainly warmer than Philadelphia!
--- End of Update ---
A last-minute trade-deadline swap sent Granger from the Indiana Pacers to the lowly Philadelphia 76ers. He didn't stay in Philadelphia—or at the bottom of the standings—for very long, however. For the second time in less than a week, the former All-Star forward was bought out, coming to terms of release with the 76ers:
"Given Danny's future goals and his desire to pursue them, we worked to fulfill his requests and have come to a resolution that we feel is mutually beneficial to both Danny and our organization," 76ers general manager Sam Hinkie said in a statement released on Sixers.com.
Granger won't clear waivers until Friday, but he may already have his next destination picked out. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, the Los Angeles Clippers "have emerged as the frontrunners" to sign Granger.
League sources told Wojnarowski, L.A. is selling Granger "significant playing time and championship contention," while the San Antonio Spurs are trying to lure him in "on a modern-day variation of the Robert Horry role."
ESPN.com's Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne had previously reported there was "mutual interest" between Granger and San Antonio. Alamo City seems like the logical fit considering the Spurs rarely miss an opportunity to add talent, and their veteran-heavy roster would help bring Granger up to speed quickly.
The Miami Heat, one of Granger's main adversaries during his Indiana days, have long been linked to this race. By shedding Roger Mason Jr. at the deadline, the Heat have a roster spot open and an eye on the waiver wire.
That eye isn't necessarily locked in on Granger, though. Swingman Caron Butler is reportedly working toward his own buyout with the Milwaukee Bucks, via Stein, and may have even more interest in Miami.
"Heat players would clearly prefer Butler," Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald wrote. "He and Dwyane Wade are close from their days as Heat teammates, and Granger irritated the Heat's stars by getting in their faces after fouls in the 2012 playoffs."
Which rumored suitor would be the best fit for Granger?
Of course, if Pat Riley tabs Granger as the better option, I'm guessing the Heat players wouldn't argue.
If teams are hoping for Granger's previous All-Star form, they're bound to be disappointed. He's averaged just 7.9 points on 34.9 percent shooting in 21.4 minutes since the start of the 2012-13 season.
He can still provide a big lift, though. He has postseason experience, a defensive mindset and probably has a chip on his shoulder from that deadline deal. He is also working on an expiring contract, meaning he will join his new ball club with plenty to prove.
No matter where he latches on, though, it seems like he'll find his way back into the postseason race.