Thursday, February 27, 2014

He Gone, A He Granger

Too Good For Us
So the Sixers came to an agreement, one that doesn't exactly surprise anyone who knows how these things go, to a buyout of Danny Granger's deal. Granger now gets to pitch the rest of the NBA, predictably among the playoff-bound teams, to hire him for the stretch run to pollute their bench minutes, the way he was polluting Indiana's. And the team did the right thing in getting rid of him as soon as possible, because it's not as if he was going to do anything even remotely useful for them in the final tanking stretch drive... but, um, still?

It rankles.

The Sixers are, for the information of people who have only watched basketball in this century, a franchise with a proud history. The all-time team is littered with iconic names that were among the best players in the history of the game, and into my adolescence, there was a clear understanding that this was the third-best franchise to be a fan of in the entire Association. OK, it was a long way back from Boston and LA, but still. There were good times. Honest.

And now, it's not just that the team is angling for the worst record in the league. That's understood and intentional. But it's that a guy who was never a big star, and who is about 2 to 3 years away from being out of the game entirely... pretty much considers the team to be beneath him. Granger employed the kind of behavior that you'd expect from a small child -- those guys are stinky! I don't wanna! -- and got exactly what he wanted.

Now, Sixers' general manager Sam Hinkie is smart enough to know how the game is played, and that calling Granger for what he is -- a spent overpaid non-entity that will be out of the league in 2 to 3 years -- isn't something he can do. Instead, he's got to how much he respects Granger, and that this a mutually beneficial result to him and the organization. He didn't trade for Granger; he traded for Granger's terrible contract, which comes off the books and has value, especially if the team is able to use that money to improve in Year Two, after the draft.

And, um, I guess... I'm glad that the Sixers are doing everything they can to lose every possible game and have more lottery balls than even Milwaukee. Hinkie, unlike Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. with the recent NCAA asshattery, understands that the NBA is a league of relationships, and that this might be a chit he can cash later.

Or, well, that the Sixers are just the worst team in the NBA now, and tearing everything down to below the roots. And that Danny Granger is free to crap all over a fan base that doesn't exist, and shouldn't until the demolition is done and the actual build-up begins.

In any event, Granger can now go on the honor roll of starting five of front court big names, acquired in trade, who pretty much never show up for the team. He joins Jamal Mashburn and Andrew Bynum in the front line of never, backed up by Chris Webber, Toni Kukoc and Jeff Ruland in the second unit of almost never.

And it's been a long, long time since anyone made the mistake of thinking that Sixer Fan had it third-best in the NBA.

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