NBA: Pacers swap Granger for Turner on trade day
NEW YORK — The Indiana Pacers decided Evan Turner gave them a better shot against Miami than Danny Granger.
Many other teams decided there wasn’t much worth doing.
Big names and big deals were mostly absent Thursday from the NBA’s trade deadline, with the Pacers’ late-day swap with Philadelphia the one that could have the biggest impact on the playoff race.
Indiana sent Granger and a second-round draft pick to Philadelphia in exchange for Turner and Lavoy Allen.
It gives the Pacers a potential upgrade in Turner, the former No. 2 overall pick whose average of 17.4 points is about twice that of Granger, who is still working his back from a series of injuries.
“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.”
Kevin Love, Pau Gasol and Rajon Rondo spent weeks in trade rumors, but the only mention of Love on Thursday was when he denied that he had already told Minnesota Timberwolves president Flip Saunders that he wouldn’t stay once he became a free agent after next season.
“At the end of the day I just want to play basketball,” Love said. “I don’t want to think about, you know, whether or not I’m going to be here or somewhere else in 2015-16, whenever it is.”
Gasol stayed with the Lakers and Rondo with the Celtics, two of the many teams around the NBA focused much more on the future.
With the potential for a loaded draft in June, a 2015 free agent class that could include Love and Rondo, and stricter penalties in the collective bargaining agreement, many teams weren’t eager to add salary, especially with so few of them having a realistic chance to win the NBA championship.
The Pacers do, so they traded away their former leading scorer to add Turner after recently signing Andrew Bynum. They entered Thursday two games up on Miami but haven’t been sharp lately and hope Turner can provide a spark.
Andre Miller finally 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.
The 76ers also dealt Spencer Hawes to Cleveland, which needs a big man while Anderson Varejao remains out with a bad back. Atlanta has even bigger woes in the frontcourt and will try to address them by convincing 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. The Brooklyn Nets did the same when they traded Reggie Evans and Jason Terry to the Kings on Wednesday 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.
Heat 103, Thunder 81
OKLAHOMA CITY — LeBron James scored 33 points before leaving in the fourth quarter with a bloody nose and Miami beat Oklahoma City on Thursday night.
James went down with 5:50 remaining after he was struck by Oklahoma City’s Serge Ibaka on a drive to the basket. James finished the dunk, but was bloodied and left the court with a towel over his face.
Dwyane Wade had 24 points and 10 assists and Chris Bosh added 24 points for Miami, which won its fourth straight and avenged an earlier loss to Oklahoma City.
Kevin Durant scored 28 points for Oklahoma City. Russell Westbrook, who had missed the previous 27 games after having a surgery on his right knee, started and scored 16 points.
Nuggets 101, Bucks 90
MILWAUKEE — Kenneth Faried continued his recent hot streak, scoring 26 points to carry Denver past Milwaukee.
Wilson Chandler scored 15 while J.J. Hickson added 14 points and 10 rebounds in a matchup of two teams left short-handed by deals they made before Thursday afternoon’s trade deadline.
Faried, the No. 22 overall pick in the 2011 draft, has been impressive this February. Coming off a 21-point, 10-rebound performance against Phoenix, the forward also scored a career-high 28 against the Los Angeles Clippers earlier this month.
Warriors 102, Rockets 99, OT
OAKLAND, Calif. — Stephen Curry made a tying layup with 3.2 seconds left in regulation and finished with 25 points, and the Golden State outlasted Houston in overtime to halt Houston’s eight-game winning streak.
Just after James Harden hit a go-ahead jumper, Curry came back with a left-handed layup over Dwight Howard to send the game to the extra session. The Warriors got a big boost in overtime when Jermaine O’Neal, who was filling in for injured center Andrew Bogut, blocked Chandler Parsons’ baseline dunk attempt at the rim.
Curry followed with two free throws to give Golden State a 98-95 lead with 15.9 seconds left. The teams traded free throws as the Rockets ran out of time.
Harden scored 34 of his 39 points in the second half and OT.
By wire sources