Danny Granger is close to coming back, sometime right around the start of February. On the surface that suggests the Pacers could get better — they have the best defense in the NBA but the 29th ranked offense (using points per possession). Granger gives them scoring and good wing defense, put him in the mix and in theory the Pacers get a lot better.
Or, they may just trade him instead.
That’s the buzz from a few places. ESPN.com’s Marc Stein wrote this:
Interesting comments recently from Indy’s Paul George about how past Pacers teams all “had an ego to them” but how this one is “putting the team first.” Hard to imagine that the Pacers could find a trade taker for Danny Granger in the next 24 days before the deadline, given that Granger (knee) has missed the entire season so far, but it seems safe to suggest the end of the Granger era in Indy is drawing closer and closer.
ESPN’s Chad Ford ads this:
If they can get him back into the swing of things quickly — and get his trade value up — expect them to try to flip him fast now that Paul George has replaced Granger as the alpha dog of the team
Pulling off a deal at the deadline will be hard because teams will be skeptical and not offering a ton after he missed months with a knee injury. Plus, Indiana is a team based around chemistry and fit where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. You have to defend well, you have to buy into the system and not every player fits what they do.
But look for the buzz to start heading into the deadline. A deal could happen.
I’d say a summer deal is more likely, but that also might depend on how the Pacers play during the playoffs — a deep run can change perspectives and plans. Just something to keep an eye on.
Tommy Hawkins passed away recently at the age of 80.
The former NBA player was the first black athlete to earn All-America honors in basketball at Notre Dame (he still holds the school’s total rebounds record), was drafted in the first round, and went on to have a 10-year NBA career playing for the Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers as well as the Cincinnati Royals. Los Angeles fans may also remember him as the long time director of communications for the Los Angeles Dodgers after his playing days ended.
The NBA put together this well done video look back at Hawkins’ career.
Isaiah Thomas said he expects to be ready for the Celtics’ training camp next month. The guard’s All-NBA season came to an early end in the playoffs when he aggravated a labral tear in his right hip initially suffered back in March. At least the injury did not require surgery.
Players are also about the worst judges of when they will recover from an injury. They pretty much all think they are invincible and will be healthy faster than doctors predict.
Coaches tend to be more pragmatic. Take Boston’s Brad Stevens, who told Chris Mannix on The Vertical Podcast that tests in a couple of weeks will show if Thomas is ready for camp.
“He has another follow-up and another scan in the early part of September. Obviously, it’s been a lot of appropriate rest, a lot of rehab. There have been some good strides here certainly in the last month or few weeks, but we’re not going to know that until after that early September timeframe.”
The Celtics are understandably going to be cautious with Thomas, while Thomas wants to prove he is healthy and has no ill effects from the injury as he enters a contract year (one where he expects to get PAID). Also, the Celtics could use him in camp as they start to figure out how he and Gordon Hayward can share playmaking duties.
Still, from the outset, the timelines have suggested he should be ready for camp in late September. Coaches are just cautious on these things by nature.
LeBron James has four NBA MVP trophies in his case. (Does he keep that case in his home in Akron or the one in Los Angeles… that’s a question for another day.) Only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (six) and Michael Jordan (five) have more.
Could LeBron James add a fifth to his case this season?
Allen Iverson said yes at last weekend’s Big3 playoffs in Seattle.
LeBron was fourth in preseason odds to win the MVP at 15/2, behind Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, and Kawhi Leonard.
To me, LeBron could be a good bet. If/when Kyrie Irving is traded, the chances of LeBron getting the MVP go up. If LeBron puts up impressive numbers (again) and leads a depleted Cavaliers team to a top two seed in the East, he is certainly going to be in consideration. And should be.
It’s a long season, and personally, I think you need to get midway through the season before seriously considering the year-end awards. But history says LeBron will be in the mix, and Allen Iverson could be proven prophetic.
With the cooler-than-I-expected solar eclipse on Monday came a lot of bad solar eclipse jokes on Twitter. Because that’s what Twitter does. Especially the NBA Twitterverse. We knew a lot of “where on the flat earth will Kyrie Irving watch the eclipse?” jokes were coming.
There were a couple of good ones, however.
Appropriately, the Phoenix Suns won the day.
One personal favorite here, an old meme that never goes out of style.