The Indiana Pacers pulled off one more bold move before Thursday's (local time) NBA trading deadline.
Less than three weeks after signing Andrew Bynum, Indiana sent Danny Granger and a 2015 second-round draft pick to Philadelphia in exchange for former first-round pick Evan Turner and forward Lavoy Allen.
The teams confirmed the deal late Thursday after the NBA's league office approved it. The draft pick originally belonged to Golden State.
Indiana now adds two young forwards - players who could help them as they attempt to dethrone two-time defending NBA champion Miami and finally win their first NBA title. But they had to give up Granger, a fan favourite who was once considered the face of the franchise.
"We thank Danny for his 8 1/2 seasons with us and we appreciate everything he did for us in his time here," president of basketball operations Larry Bird said in a statement. "We felt we needed to make this trade to strengthen the core unit and our bench. 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."
What the rebuilding 76ers are getting is 30-year-old forward who missed all but five games last season with a knee injury and almost the first two months of this season with a strained left calf. Granger, who led Indiana in scoring for the five straight seasons before his knee injury, also has an expiring contract, and Philadelphia will get another pick in a draft many believe will be rife with talent.
The trade also could help teams on both ends of the NBA's spectrum.
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 lead the Heat by two games in the chase for home-court advantage.
Philadelphia, meanwhile, 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.
In a flurry of moves, the 76ers picked up a handful of draft picks, a few veterans and lost two of their top four scorers.
Turner, a 6-foot-7 guard, was the No 2 overall draft pick in 2010 after winning college basketball's player of the year award. He was averaging a team-high 17.4 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.7 assists and could become a free agent after this season. He has averaged of 11.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game in 3 1/2 NBA seasons.
Granger was averaging 8.3 points since returning from a strained left calf in mid-December, but he has career averages of 17.6 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.0 assists. He played in the 2009 All-Star Game and was voted the league's Most Improved Player in 2008-09.
The 76ers also sent Spencer Hawes, their top rebounder, to Cleveland earlier in the day. He was averaging 13.0 points and 8.5 rebounds in the final year of his contract.
But Philadelphia certainly loaded up on second-round picks.
In addition to getting Indiana's choice, the 76ers also acquired two second-round picks, forward Earl Clark and centre 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.
And the usually cost-conscious Pacers now look like they are loading up on big bodies for the playoffs.
They've added the 7-foot Bynum, a former All-Star who missed all of last season in Philly because of knee injuries. This season, he signed with Cleveland as a free agent before getting traded to Chicago and then released. Indiana signed Bynum on February 1 and though he has not played, coach Frank Vogel said he didn't expect Bynum to play for a few weeks.
Allen, a 6-foot-9, 255-pound forward, was averaging 5.2 points and 5.4 rebounds with Philadelphia.
To clear room on the roster, Indiana waived Orlando Johnson, a second-year guard they obtained in a draft night trade in 2012.
"Orlando is a great kid," said Bird. "We appreciate everything he's done for us and hope he has a long and successful career."
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