What Should The Suns Do With Danny Granger?

Dec 29, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat forward Danny Granger (22) is pressured by Orlando Magic guard Evan Fournier (10) during the first half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 29, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat forward Danny Granger (22) is pressured by Orlando Magic guard Evan Fournier (10) during the first half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /

At the 2015 NBA Trade Deadline, it was hard for fans to get excited about the return the Phoenix Suns got for the face of the franchise, Goran Dragic. Dragic’s brutally honest comments gave the Suns time to ensure they got something in return for the Dragon, but it was hard to be enthused about two future draft picks and Danny Granger.

It’s been a lot harder to get excited about Danny Granger when Danny Granger has yet to show up to the Valley of the Sun.

According to Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic, the Suns are still waiting on their recent acquisition to report to the team after the Miami Heat dealt him to Phoenix 15 days ago.

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If he had been bought out by the Suns, he could have signed with a playoff contender by this past Monday. But according to Coro, now that a buyout seems unlikely with the Mar. 1 deadline passed, the Suns have reached out to Granger and expect to have him in Phoenix sometime soon.

This brings up the question of what to do with him. After being an All-Star and the star player of the Indiana Pacers, Granger’s recent years have been plagued by injury problems. This season with the Heat, he averaged 6.3 points in 20.4 minutes per game in 30 appearances. He shot 40.1 percent from the floor and 35.7 percent from three-point range.

In his best NBA season, Granger averaged 25.8 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game while shooting 44.7 percent from the field and 40.4 percent from downtown. Unfortunately, those years appear to be long gone since he hasn’t played more than 41 games in a single season since 2011-12.

It’s hard to see how Granger fits with the Suns this season. Phoenix sits two games out of the eighth spot in the Western Conference standings and has lost 10 of its last 14 games, but the Suns’ goal for the season is still finding a way to make the playoffs.

With P.J. Tucker playing the best basketball of his career, not to mention Marcus Morris and T.J. Warren also occupying the small forward position, Granger probably wouldn’t crack the rotation even if he did have something to offer the Suns in their playoff pursuit.

However, that’s not to say that the Suns should’ve bought him out either.

There’s little incentive for either party to have the 31-year-old Granger suit up for the Suns this season, but that doesn’t mean he’d serve no purpose. It’s hard to see how that logjam at the three-spot clears up over the summer, but if anyone’s capable of resurrecting what’s left of Danny Granger’s career, it’s the Phoenix Suns’ training staff of athletic trainers/warlocks.

Granger has a $2.1 million player option on his contract for next season, and he’ll likely want to decline it so he can sign with a title contender this summer.

But for the time being, the best course of action for both parties would still be getting Granger to report to the team as soon as possible.

Why? Well, because it’s mutually beneficial — more so than the current stalemate, at least. For Granger, he might not get many minutes with the Suns (nor should he), but he’d be working with the league’s best training staff to try to revitalize his career for next season.

He wouldn’t even have to play with the team, since he could simply decline his player option and sign with a playoff contender next season once he’s been resurrected by the Suns’ warlocks.

For the Suns, it’s hard to get excited about the benefits of Granger reporting to Phoenix. If he doesn’t report to the team soon, they’d have the right to put him on the suspended list. That means he wouldn’t get paid for the remainder of his 2014-15 salary until he checks in.

Granger was on the books for $2 million this season, so the remainder of his contract would be chump change for both parties. Putting him on the suspended list serves no positive purpose for the Suns other than trying to motivate Granger to come on down.

If Granger were to report to the team, however, the Suns would add a much-needed locker room leader to the roster. The miracle scenario where the training staff revives his legs and turns him into an All-Star again is a one-in-a-million chance that only Lloyd Christmas would take seriously, but at the very least Granger would be a good locker room presence for the fourth youngest team in the league.

Even if Granger somehow decided he wanted to exercise that $2.1 million player option to stay with the Suns next season, that’s a tiny amount of cap space anyway. If he chooses to move on next year, the Suns will have gotten a few weeks of a solid locker room presence, and maybe have built some positive karma in the process by doing what they can to help his injury-prone body.

That may not sound like much, but the possible benefits for both the young Phoenix Suns and Danny Granger outweigh the current situation.

Next: Phoenix Suns: 5 Reasons To Stop Being Depressed

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