Danny Granger

Pacers president Larry Bird says he’s not looking to trade Danny Granger

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Danny Granger returned to action for the Pacers on Friday, playing 22 minutes off the bench in his team’s blowout win over the Rockets.

Exactly how much Granger can contribute to Indiana’s efforts at title contention this season remains to be seen, but whether he produces near his previous levels or he doesn’t, his situation is an interesting one for the team to consider.

If Granger becomes a cog in the machine that fits in seamlessly and legitimately boosts his team’s championship chances, then it’s likely the club will ride him through the end of the season and into his status as an unrestricted free agent this summer. But the team will also look at trade options, considering that Granger’s deal is an expiring one that could net the team assets which would help continue the run with the rest of the league’s elite.

For now, however, Indiana is content with seeing what they have in Granger, and isn’t looking to trade him anytime soon.

From Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star:

“I’ve talked to Danny, talked to his agent; I’m not looking to trade him,” team President Larry Bird said Saturday. “But you never know. If the right thing came along that would help the franchise, I would have to look at it, but I’m not out there looking at deals.”

If the Pacers did deal Granger —and he’d have to be healthy for anybody to want him — they’d have to take back $14 million in salary commitments. That means bringing back guys who are in the final year of their contract, along with trade exceptions.

“We couldn’t take back guys who are going to be $14 million next year,” Bird said.

The luxury tax is a real concern for a smaller market team like the Pacers, and Bird’s mandate right now is that the team cannot pay it. Now, that’s not to say that they wouldn’t pay it under the right set of circumstances, but all signs now point to Indiana dealing within the boundaries of the league’s salary cap.

Granger wants to stay in Indiana, but the question becomes at what price. The level he plays at moving forward will have a lot to say about that, but for now both Bird and his player seem content to play out the season and deal with contracts and personnel issues only when absolutely necessary.

One more look back: Top 10 clutch shots of season to this point

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The opening weeks of the season have seen some dramatic finishes — and for a Saturday night, why not watch a compilation of them? What else were you going to do? You’ve got 3:30 to sit through these.

Who got the top spot? Marc Gasol? Damian Lillard? Al Horford? John Henson? If we told you it would just destroy the surprise.

Like crossovers? Check out Top 10 handles of NBA season so far

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It’s not really fair if you ask Nemanja Bjelica to cover Stephen Curry in space, but it does make for a good highlight.

On a nice slow Saturday afternoon around the NBA, let’s take a look at the top 10 handles moves of the season so far, courtesy NBA.com. Of course, there is some wickedness from James Harden, Derrick Rose, and Chris Paul, too. But I’m good with Jordan Clarkson in the top spot.

Watch Giannis Antetokounmpo find Jabari Parker for the slam

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I want the Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker combo to work better than it does. The Buck get outscored by 2.3 points per 100 possessions when those two are on the court together, with neither end of the court working terribly well.

And yet, there are flashes — like the play above — where you think this could start to work. It just may need more time (and getting Khris Middleton back in the mix would help).

Antetokounmpo is having a phenomenal season, and is making plays.

Draymond Green fires back at league: “It’s funny how you can tell me… how my body is supposed to react”

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It’s not hard to find out how Draymond Green felt after picking up a flagrant foul Thursday night when his leg flew up after a foul and caught James Harden in the face. Just go to his Twitter feed.

Saturday at Warriors’ practice, Green expanded on the subject, here’s the video via Anthony Slater of the San Jose Mercury News.

If you prefer to read are Green’s comments transcribed:

“I just laugh at it. It’s funny how you can tell me how I get hit and how my body is supposed to react. I didn’t know the league office was that smart when it came to body movements. I’m not sure if they took kinesiology for their positions to tell you how your body is going to react when you get hit in a certain position. Or you go up and you have guys who jump to the ceiling. A lot of these guys that make the rules can’t touch the rim, yet they tell you how you’re way up there in the air which way you’re body (is supposed to go). I don’t understand that. That’s like me going in there and saying, ‘Hey, you did something on your paperwork wrong.’ I don’t know what your paperwork looks like. But it is what it is. They made the rule. Make your rule. I don’t care. But if you’re going to say it’s an unnatural thing, an unnatural act, no offense to James Harden, but I’ve never seen nobody up until James started doing it that shoots a layup like this under your arm (sweeps arms in a demonstration). That’s really not a natural act either. That’s not a natural basketball play either. But, hey, if you’re going to make a rule, make a rule. But if you’re going to take unnatural acts out the game, then let’s lock in on all these unnatural acts and take them out the game. I don’t know. Let them keep telling people how their body react I guess. They need to go take a few more kinesiology classes though. Maybe they can take a taping class or functional movement classes. Let me know how the body works because clearly mine don’t work the right way.”

Two things.

First, Green should know that the ultimate hammer on NBA fines is Kiki Vandeweghe — former NBA player, two-time All-Star, who also coached in the league. You want a guy with a players’ perspective making the call? You already have it. And Vandeweghe played in a far more physical era than this one.

Second, the flagrant was not issued because of intent but because of the action — if you kick a guy in the face, it’s a flagrant foul. There’s no gray area here, and officials shouldn’t have to guess a player’s intent. When Green went up he was fouled by Harden, and to maintain his balance Green flailed his legs out, something he has done plenty and other players going back decades have done too. That doesn’t mean it’s not reckless. That doesn’t mean a player is still not responsible for his body. Ask soccer officials about this same issue — get your leg above the waist with other players around and it can be called a “dangerous play.” In the NBA, if your leg flies up and hits a guy in the face, it’s a flagrant foul. Whether or not you meant to do it.

Green knows the league is cracking down on this. He knows he’s a target. It’s on him to change. One would think the Finals would have taught him that lesson.