Pacers’ Granger out indefinitely with sore knee. Not good.

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Last season part of the reason Indiana burst on to the scene was health — they got very little out of their bench but their starters remained remarkably healthy all season.

But just like everything did for Jerry Seinfeld, injuries have a way of evening out. Which is not good for the Pacers. And it starts with this news from the Pacers:

If that makes you nervous Pacers fans, it should.

Granger said tweaked his knee during the Heat series last playoffs, it seemed better with rest then became irritated during offseason workouts in California. He had off-season platelet rich plasma therapy to help his knee heal. The Pacers said they were taking it slow with him in the preseason as a precaution, as a lot of teams tend to do with their stars when the games don’t count.

But it is more than that. Injuries that linger like this in the knee are trouble. We’ll see what another doctor says.

Granger averaged 18.7 points per game last season and was at the heart of the Pacers offense, this season they were going to lean on him more and ask him to be more efficient with his scoring.

Without him, a lot more is going to fall on guys like David West, Paul George and George Hill to create shots outside the paint while Roy Hibbert will have to dominate inside. But the Pacers offense will take a big step back without Granger.

The Pacers open the season at Toronto on Halloween and have a soft start to the season, with only three of their first 10 games against playoff teams from last season.

Report: Lakers ‘longshot’ to sign LeBron James

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong
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Preeminent NBA reporter Adrian Wojnarowski called it “likelyLeBron James would sign with the Lakers or Clippers next summer. The Clippers have since been somewhat debunked as a LeBron destination. There’s circumstantial evidence linking LeBron to Los Angeles.

Ramona Shelburne and Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

So imagining James’ last act coming in purple and gold isn’t without basis. But as of now, it’s also a longshot, according to league sources.

Shelburne and Windhorst are highly credible. I doubt they’d report this without connected sources.

LeBron’s agent, Rich Paul, and manager, Maverick Carter, have recently publicly downplayed the importance of Los Angeles to LeBron. That felt like a coordinated attack on the LeBron-Lakers rumors, and this fits as a continuation.

But why wage that campaign? To keep the Cavaliers focused while LeBron still plays for them, even if he might leave after the season? To lower expectations among the Lakers’ massive fan base, so as not alienate those people (potential customers of the many LeBron-connected brands) when LeBron inevitably signs elsewhere? Both could be true, but there’s obviously a difference between each driving LeBron’s camp.

DeMarcus Cousins barrels in for powerful putback dunk over Bucks (video)

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When DeMarcus Cousins builds up a head of steam like this… poor John Henson (and kind of Khris Middleton).

This helped the Pelicans pull away for a 115-108 win over the Bucks last night.

Enraged Jason Smith restrained from Mario Chalmers (video)

AP Photo/Nick Wass
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During the Wizards’ win over the Grizzlies last night, Mario Chalmers tried to stop Jason Smith from shooting after Smith had been called for travelling. It’s a fairly common tactic, one pioneered by Kevin Garnett. Players don’t want their opponents to gain confidence by seeing the ball go through the net, even after play stops.

But Chalmers held onto Smith’s arm, and Smith took umbrage.

NBC Sports Washington:

I think it’s more likely, after halting Smith’s shot, Chalmers was trying to hold up Smith rather than yank him down. But I can’t know Chalmers’ intentions, and holding up a falling person by his arm isn’t very effective.

The double technical foul called seems about fair.

PBT Extra: Two months from trade deadline watch DeAndre Jordan and… Paul George?

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The NBA trade deadline got moved up this season to Feb. 8 so the league can avoid the spectacle of DeMarcus Cousins being traded during the All-Star Game and then doing an uncomfortable press interview afterward where he had to be told of the situation.

That means we are less than two months away from the trade deadline, and in this PBT Extra I look at the big names that could be on the market.

The Clippers seem likely to move DeAndre Jordan, the only questions are where and what will they get back? But three other teams have big decisions to make about their stars: Oklahoma City with Paul George, New Orleans with DeMarcus Cousins, and Memphis with Marc Gasol. Right now none of those guys are on the market, but that could change.