With trade winds still swirling around Kyle Lowry, here’s a trade worthy of consideration. Before I get into the nitty-gritty, I would prefer to keep Lowry a Raptor, but if he is unwilling to resign, losing him for nothing is not a very pleasant option.
To Indiana - Kyle Lowry, Landry Fields and Steve Novak
To Toronto – Danny Granger & C.J. Watson
Rumors are swirling around Danny Granger to the effect that he’s no longer welcome in Indiana. I suspect the Pacers like the idea of giving up a talent like Granger for nothing about as much as I relish the idea of Kyle Lowry leaving in the summer. It is true that Granger is expensive, but he is on the last year of that deal, and if he is willing to resign for a more reasonable figure (Maybe 6-8M) and help the further development of the soaring Terrance Ross I believe this would benefit the Raptors greatly (and improve the bench depth even further). Granger off the bench is averaging 22 Minutes and 8.2 Points per Game, and a career worst 31% from 3 point range (although that is likely due to adjusting to coming off the bench and playing his first season since his injury, and should improve).
C.J. Watson proved he is quite a capable point guard when he ran the Chicago Bulls two years ago during Derrick Rose’s injury. At 29 years of age with a contract through 2014-15, he would be coming to the Raptors during the end of his best productive years before age would start to catch up with him. I would argue he could slide into the starting rotation (or be first Point Guard off the bench behind Greivis Vasquez). Watson is averaging 18.8 Minutes, 6.3 Points per Game and 34% from 3 Point range.
Verdict: The Pacers are looking for an upgrade to George Hill, but Frank Vogel has still got a lot of respect for Hill. This trade would allow the Pacers to move Hill to the bench behind Lowry. Trade Machine gives the edge to Indiana in this trade putting them up 4 wins and the Raptors down 11 wins, although I think the Raptors may weather better than the trade machine suggests.
Likelihood: 10%. This deal will only happen if the Pacers are truly willing to get rid of Granger at all costs in an effort to topple the Miami Heat in the NBA Playoffs. There is no doubt that the Pacers’ bench would not be quite as good at the Small Forward with Fields and Novak behind Paul George rather than Granger. The Pacers would gain more depth at the Point Guard position and an improved starting Point Guard.
WWMD [What Will Masai Do?]: I think Masai Ujiri will continue searching until the final hour before pulling the trigger on a trade like this. There is no guarantee that Granger would resign (the bright side is $14M would come off the books for next year’s free agent frenzy) so that gives the Raptors little in return. This trade may be for the rest of the season only and equivalent to losing Lowry for nothing but gaining a little more Salary Cap room.
What do you think, Rapture Nation? Pacers fans, I encourage your comments as well.