A report from Sam Amico has made the rounds alluding to a purported interest by the Rockets in one Danny Granger of the Indiana Pacers. States Amico:
Houston is one team reported to have a keen eye on Indiana forward Danny Granger. The Pacers aren’t totally against keeping the 29-year-old forward, who has missed all of the season with a knee injury. But following the emergence of All-Star Paul George, they are taking and making exploratory calls.
A deal for Granger would fit the same rationale as would one for Pau Gasol: he expires in the summer of 2014. An acquisition of either forward would not be with the intent of landing ‘the final fit.’ It would be with the hope of upgrading the team in the interim and making it appear an attractive destination when bigger names become available. Lebron James can become a free agent in 2014; Kevin Love in 2015.
As I’ve stated before, the Rockets have a few choices. They can splurge now–or this summer–on the lines of Josh Smith or Paul Millsap . Such an acquisition would upgrade the team but lock it in indefinitely with little flexibility for future change. They can stay put and save their pennies, hoping to see what comes of their promising rookies while they wait until 2014. Or, they can make a Gasol type rental as a placeholder until they find the player they really want. (There is of course the Dwight Howard/Chris Paul route which is perhaps too unlikely to list as a viable option.)
Granger would seem to fit the Rockets offense beautifully. A career 38% 3-point shooter, he’d benefit directly from the open looks created by guard James Harden.
The question becomes one of how much it would take to get the Pacers to bite. We just saw Memphis struggle to unload a healthy, 26-year-old Rudy Gay, settling for the promise of Ed Davis. Houston can offer Indiana savings and one of its rookie forwards. If the Pacers asked for Chandler Parsons, Daryl Morey would likely walk away.
This seems a situation where, as always, Rockets management has gone bargain hunting, looking to cash in on other team’s financial problems. Morey will get what he can, but he won’t overpay. But the important thing to remember is that, if added, Granger wouldn’t be serving as “the final piece.” He’d be a two year rental to upgrade the team until the guys they really want next to Harden become available.