Updates from Monday, July 14
The Miami HEAT announced today that they have signed forward Danny Granger. Per club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“One of our main priorities this offseason was obtaining a proven veteran like Danny with All-Star experience,” said HEAT President Pat Riley. “We expect him to be a multi-position player and have a very successful season in our system.”
After spending his first eight full seasons with the Indiana Pacers, Danny Granger is poised to represent his fourth different franchise in less than a year.
Granger agreed to a two-year, $4.2 million contract with the Miami Heat on Monday, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, a move he undoubtedly hopes will allow him to re-enter the upper echelon of NBA forwards.
The Heat later released a statement on Granger from Pat Riley:
Miami HEAT President of Basketball Operations Pat Riley announced today that the team has been engaged in negotiations with free agent forward Danny Granger and intends to sign him to a contract at the conclusion of the NBA Moratorium Period.
A former All-Star, Granger's prime has been cut short by debilitating knee injuries. He has missed 118 games over the last two seasons, splitting time with the Pacers and Clippers. Granger was also briefly a member of the Philadelphia 76ers after Indiana traded for Evan Turner. The Sixers negotiated a buyout, allowing the 31-year-old a chance to play with a contender in Los Angeles.
It didn't go as well as Granger or head coach Doc Rivers envisioned.
Joining a roster already gluttonous in hoarding shoot-first wings, Granger initially acquitted himself well. He averaged eight points per game on 42.9 percent shooting, in line with his career average, before a hamstring injury cost him the last nine games of the regular season.
Though it seemed he had initially won a spot in the playoff rotation, Granger's minutes varied wildly from night to night after his return. Rivers would go back and forth on a night-to-night basis with his wing rotation, mostly going with the hot hand.
As he struggled to return from injury, Granger's hand was rarely hot. He shot 27.5 percent and averaged 2.6 points in 10.3 minutes in the Clippers' 13 postseason contests.
The Clippers defense was more than 16 points per 100 possessions better with Granger on the floor during the playoffs, though, per NBA.com, and his inconsistent playing time was often confounding. While Granger never found his stroke from distance, the Clippers got little contribution from any of their bench wings.
Injuries have sapped most of his athleticism, but Granger was a solid team defender on a team that sorely needed help. Rivers should have played him more—especially in small-ball lineups.
It will be interesting to see how Erik Spoelstra chooses to deploy Granger next season. When he came to Los Angeles, Granger made it very clear he still fashions himself a starter. He is more than a full year younger than Dwyane Wade, is only two years removed from being nearly a 20-points-per-game scorer and is one of the league's best bench guys.
The Pacers' collapse and constant infighting after Granger's departure was no coincidence. He's a good all-around guy and a veteran leader—even if his assessment of his own skills at this point is overstated. The flip side of the Indiana argument is that it wouldn't have traded such a beloved internal fixture without the feeling his days as a contributor were over.
If Miami can get the player Granger was in his 12-game regular-season audition with the Clippers, he'll be a value for 15 to 20 minutes a night. If Granger comes in with starter expectations or performs the way he did in the larger sample with Indiana last season, this has the potential to go bust in expedient fashion.
Tim Bontemps of the New York Post said perhaps another Miami target might have been a better option: Anthony Morrow.
For now, Granger is a well-respected veteran signing a short-term deal. From a financial perspective, it's not going to hurt either way. From a basketball standpoint, putting eggs in the Granger basket at this point in his career is a risk Miami will need to pay off.
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