By David Aldridge, TNT analyst
POSTED: Feb 26, 2014 5:01 PM ET
The Philadelphia 76ers and forward Danny Granger reached agreement on a buyout Wednesday that will allow Granger to sign with another team and be eligible for the postseason.
Granger will now choose between elite playoff teams looking to add the best possible player available. According to sources, Granger is looking at five teams: the Clippers, Rockets, Bulls, Heat and Spurs. He is expected to make his decision by Friday.
The Starters: Buyout Impact
"A trade is never easy, especially when you have been with one team your entire career," Granger said Wednesday in a statement to NBA.com "But, the professionalism, honesty, time and care the Philadelphia 76ers spent on my situation made me feel appreciated and confident we would reach a mutually beneficial resolution. I would personally like to thank the 76ers, General Manager Sam Hinkie, head coach Brett Brown and the rest of their organization for taking the time to get to know me, understand what I am looking for, and help me to find a result that makes the most sense for my future, as well as their own. While my time with the 76ers was brief, it was clear to me that they have the vision, leadership and plan to be very successful. I feel extremely grateful and wish the 76ers all the best."
Granger is looking for a team where he can rebuild his value after missing all but five games last season, including the playoffs, and the first chunk of this season rehabbing his surgically repaired knee.
Granger has relationships with each of the teams. His pre-draft workout was run by J.B. Bickerstaff, the Rockets' assistant coach. He has the same representatives, CAA, as the Clippers' Chris Paul, the Spurs' Tony Parker, and Miami's quartet of Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Udonis Haslem and Chris Andersen. He has respect for the Spurs' organization, according to a source. And the Bulls are in the Central Division with the Pacers, which would afford him a chance to play against his old team.
Players have to be released by their current team by March 1 in order to be playoff-eligible. They can sign with another team at any point afterward, even after March 1, and still be playoff eligible.
The 76ers acquired Granger along with a second-round pick last week in exchange for swingman Evan Turner, the second pick overall in the 2010 Draft, and forward Lavoy Allen. The deal bolstered the Pacers' drive for a championship this season, while continuing Philadelphia's rebuilding process with the inclusion of the Draft pick. The 76ers currently have five second-round picks in the June Draft to go with their own first-round pick and another first-rounder they received from the Pelicans in the Jrue Holiday deal. That pick is protected 1 through 5, meaning New Orleans will keep the pick if it becomes one of the top five picks in the first round. Otherwise, it is conveyed to Philadelphia.
Granger, the Pacers' first-round pick in 2005, became the face of a franchise that had been badly scarred by the Brawl at Auburn Hills in 2004. Fans abandoned the team in droves; attendance cratered as the Pacers went from middle of the pack in the league (15th-17th from 2003-05) to scraping the bottom (from 2007 through 2012, Indiana was 28th, 30th, 28th, 27th, 30th and 29th in attendance).
But Granger was a bright spot, becoming a star with a physical game that harkened back to his college days at New Mexico. He made his lone All-Star appearance in 2009, the year he finished fifth in the league in scoring at 25.8 per game.
In Granger's last full season, 2011-12, he averaged 18.7 points and 5 rebounds for Indiana. But since then, Paul George has exploded into superstardom. And though Granger and George were close throughout their time together in Indy -- George trained with Granger in the offseason -- it became obvious that Indiana's future was with the 23-year-old George, not the 30-year-old Granger.