Apparently Larry Bird isn’t the only one who likes Danny Granger’s game. Bird, who heads up player operations for the Indiana Pacers, has previously said he has little interest in trading Granger.
That hasn’t kept other teams from inquiring as the Feb. 18 NBA trade deadline approaches. The most recent inquirer is familiar to the Pacers.
David Kahn, former right hand man under Donnie Walsh during his days in Indy, came calling earlier this month. Kahn, now the general manager of the Minnesota Timberwolves, offered up Al Jefferson for Granger, easily the Pacers MVP.
Bird declined, still intent on making Granger the cornerstone of his rebuilding effort.
Kahn then denied to the Minnesota press corps that he dangled Jefferson. While Jefferson, 25, has plenty of potential, he is coming off a serious injury and is still working himself into shape.
Sources said it will take a lot more than a player like Jefferson, who is averaging just below 18 points per game so far this season, to get Bird to part with Granger. Jefferson has three years and $42 million left on his contract after this season.
Granger isn’t the only Pacers player getting interest as the trade deadline approaches.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are looking to add a power forward with shooting range to its roster, and Pacers’ Troy Murphy has caught the Cavs' attention. Cleveland also is hot for Washington’s Antawn Jamison.
Sources close to Murphy said the Notre Dame graduate would welcome the trade to the playoff contending Cavs. And why not? Who would pass on the opportunity to play alongside LeBron James, even if it’s only for one season.
The Cavs have reportedly dangled center Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who has an expiring contract, for Murphy. But Bird wants more. The Cavs have offered J.J. Hickson for Jamison, but didn’t want to give that much up for Murphy.
One thing is certain, with a record closer to the bottom of the Eastern Conference than the top, Bird is taking all calls, and probably making a few, as the trade deadline approaches.