When the trade deadline came and went for the Los Angeles Clippers, a couple players were moved, and a couple roster spots opened...
Enter Danny Granger, the "Grangerist."
He is known as one of the most dynamic small forwards in basketball, able to play point forward, along with the stretch-four position. In recent years, Granger has been battling knee issues, which had limited his game for the past two seasons. He has bounced back from his calf injury this season, crafting his game to suit him better as he advances along in his career.
"Five years ago, I was younger, more athletic, and probably a little more dumber too. I see the game a lot slower now, than I did back then," Granger said of his current game. "I think most young players have to go through that. I can still score the ball the same level in the past, minus a little athletic ability."
For nearly a decade, Danny Granger, an All-Star forward, had been a member of the Indiana Pacers and the face of their franchise. Only San Antonio's Big Three, Kobe Bryant, and Dirk Nowitzki have been with their franchises longer than Granger had been with the Pacers.
However, minutes after the trade deadline passed, Twitter was searing with the sizzling scoop: Danny Granger had been swapped to the Philadelphia 76ers!
"I wasn't totally expecting it, but I knew it was a possibility going into this season; it was the last year of my deal," Granger said about being traded. "When you a have an expiring contract a lot of teams will use that to get you off the books. I knew it was a possibility, but when it happened I was kinda shocked."
In professional sports, loyalty doesn't exist as it did years ago. Larry Bird found a deal that he thought worked better for his organization, and Granger -- a long-term member of the team, was no longer a member of the team.
"It's a business, you know there is not much loyalty in professional sports. That's just the nature of business," Granger said.
Philadelphia is in team tank mode with one of the worst records in the NBA. For Granger, who is in a contract year, playing for a losing team didn't do much. Prior to the March 1st waiver deadline, Granger was bought out by the
76ers, which allowed him to improve his stock in the offseason in free agency, but most importantly gave him the opportunity to try to win a championship.
Most people believed that Granger, once a franchise player, would jump on with Miami, OKC, or the Spurs. The Spurs seemed to make sense, as they're led by Greg Popovich and he has a knack for getting the most out of players. Luckily it was Clipper Nation that was the dark horse, which came in to swoop Granger off his feet in a perfect storm:
"I think the Clippers seemed like the best fit. It was in L.A. I've lived here in the off seasons for the last six or seven years, so I'm familiar with the city," Granger said about choosing the Clippers. " I love the way Doc coaches; I love the style he plays. I just wanted to be a part of that."
Granger is also more than just a basketball player; he is a father and a family man. So he packed up his family and came from Indiana with his family to play in Los Angeles.
"A typical day for me -- I wake up, feed my kids, then usually practice," Granger talked about his average day. "Once I'm back home, I'm with the kids again, I've got twins, so they take up ninety percent of my time."
Another love besides basketball and his family is the Sci-Fi world. He once thought about creating a "Bat Cave" to pay homage to the Batman franchise. Anything in the Sci-Fi world, Granger gravitates to.
"I'm a big Sci-Fi guy, I love Star Wars," Granger said regarding Sci-Fi. "I love anything out of this world. Love Avengers, Marvel, you know all that stuff."
Family and hobbies aside, Granger was brought to the Clippers to help them win a championship. It isn't as if Granger came from a team that was subpar; he came from Indiana, a squad that is competing for a championship. He has played for one the best teams in the league and brings a certain pedigree.
"I think it's nice that he came from a serious organization and a serious team," Clippers Head Coach Doc Rivers said of Granger. "I know that sounds crazy, but I think that's good because he came in serious. He just left a group where their only goal is to win the title and to join us, and that's good. He is very serious about his approach, he is very serious on doing well," Clippers Head Coach Doc Rivers said.
Coach Doc Rivers was another reason that Granger chose the Clippers. Since Doc's arrival in Los Angeles, he brought his track record and his swagger,
along with Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, to recruit players. Rivers is a coach that demands the utmost respect, a significant characteristic to net a player of Granger's caliber.
"It's phenomenal, he is a player's coach, 100 percent. To have him coaching us is one of those things you always want to experience," Granger said about being coached by Doc Rivers. " I always heard players talking about how great it is to play for Doc, and I'm glad to get the opportunity to do it."
Being thrown into the Clipper fire is one thing that Granger has dealt with since being added to the Clippers. He was a part of certain system for years, now he is trying to find his new role with the Clips.
"The biggest adjustment has just been trying to pick up everything as far as their philosophies, offensively, defensively," Granger said of his adjustments with the Clippers. "It is literally completely different from what I was used to in Indiana."
Already Granger has been putting his stamp things. Without the chance to practice much due to the Clippers schedule, Granger has been thrown into the games and the lineup and forced to learn on the fly. He has shown his great shooting touch from ‘three-point land' and his ability to post up as well. On the defensive end, his length gives shooters fits, and also allows him to get blocks on taller players like Warriors' Center Andrew Bogut . With the league being so wing-dependent, to have a player of Granger's stature is almost a requirement to win.
Given his experience, Granger is player that really fits the mold for a Clipper team that is relatively young. Come playoff time, he is one of those players that could really make a difference for a long run to the Finals in June. He fits the bill as a great player and teammate, which every team needs to win a championship.
When asked about his most important qualities Granger added: "My experience, I have played a lot of years, done a lot things. My scoring ability, my defensive ability, I think it is really invaluable. When you add a veteran to a team like this much talent, it can really put them over the top."
When the dust settles on the Clippers' season, Los Angeles could possibly be a place where the Grangers call home permanently-- not just as a pit stop or a visit to a summer home.
"Ideally, I would want to stay with the Clippers, but a lot things have to match up," Granger said of his future. "It will be one of those times that will be a whirlwind, so we'll see what happens."