INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Pacers pulled off one more, bold move before Thursday’s trade deadline.
Less than three weeks after signing Andrew Bynum, Indiana agreed to a trade that will send Danny Granger, its longest-tenured player, and a second-round draft pick in 2014 to Philadelphia in exchange for former first-round pick Evan Turner and forward-center Lavoy Allen.
We felt we needed to make this trade to strengthen the core unit and our bench, Pacers president of basketball operations Larry Bird said in a statement released Thursday night after the trade became official. In Evan and Lavoy, we think we got two really good players that can help us and we look forward to what they can bring.
The Pacers get two more young forwards – players who could help them dethrone two-time defending NBA champion Miami and finally win their first NBA title.
The rebuilding 76ers are getting an injury-prone 30-year-old forward, his expiring contract and another pick in a draft many believe will be rife with talent.
Indiana has now picked up three former 76ers this month – Bynum, Turner and Allen – in an effort to add more scoring punch for their expected playoff showdown with Miami. The Pacers already have the best record in the East (41-13) and led the Heat by two games in the chase for home-court advantage entering Thursday.
To clear room on the roster, Indiana waived Orlando Johnson, who played three games with the Mad Ants this season averaging 13.7 points.
Orlando is a great kid, Bird said. We hope he has a long and successful career.
Philadelphia went into Thursday with the second-worst record in the league at 15-40 and now appears poised to make a run at surpassing Milwaukee for the worst mark in the NBA.
Turner, the No. 2 overall draft pick in 2010, was averaging a team-high 17.4 points, 6 rebounds and 3.7 assists. He could become a free agent after this season.
Granger, who has played his entire nine-year career in Indiana and made the All-Star team in 2009, has been hampered by knee and leg injuries the past two seasons, causing him to miss more than 100 games. He was averaging 8.3 points since returning from a strained left calf in mid-December.
The 76ers also sent Spencer Hawes, their top rebounder, to Cleveland earlier in the day. He was averaging 13 points and 8.5 rebounds in the final year of his contract.
In addition to getting Indiana’s choice, the 76ers also acquired two second-round picks, forward Earl Clark and center Henry Sims in the deal with Cleveland and added guard Eric Maynor from Washington in a three-way deal that netted a 2016 second-round pick from Denver and a 2015- second-round pick from New Orleans.
With the potential for a loaded draft in June, a 2015 free agent class that could include Kevin Love and Rajon Rondo, and stricter penalties in the collective bargaining agreement, big names and big deals were mostly absent from the trade deadline.
Andre Miller got out of Denver and landed as John Wall’s backup in Washington, while Gary Neal can help Charlotte chase a playoff spot after getting traded from Milwaukee. Atlanta will try to convince Antawn Jamison to accept a trade from the Clippers.
The Clippers freed up room to sign a player, as did the Heat when they dealt Roger Mason to Sacramento. Brooklyn did the same when it traded Reggie Evans and Jason Terry to the Kings for Marcus Thornton, and Jason Collins is one of the players being considered for it.
Collins worked out for the Nets in California during the All-Star break, and would become the first openly gay active NBA player if signed.