UPDATE: While Danny Granger expects to be back in Indiana's starting lineup next season, the Pacers may be better off with him in a different role.
Mark Boyle, the radio play-by-play voice of the Pacers, said on the Damon Bruce Show in San Francisco on Monday that the addition of Granger will help give the team depth, regardless of what role he plays. But he also felt that Granger would work well as a reserve, at least initially.
"Having seen this team play every night this season and in season's past, my opinion would be that they would be really well suited -- assuming that he can come back, which is not a give-in -- to play him off the bench, Boyle said. "The burden wouldn't be as big. The minutes wouldn't be as big. He'd be playing against second-line players. I think that would be a really good way to get him incorporated back into the mix."
On Wednesday, though, Pacers coach Frank Vogel may have thrown water on any potential controversy. According to this tweet by Fox 59 sports reporter Brittany Diehl. Vogel said, "If (Granger) returns to full health he will be the starter."
Danny Granger missed most of 2012-13, all but five games, due to a bad knee and after months of rehab he expects to be part of the first unit when training camp starts in the fall.
"I expect to be back in the starting lineup," Granger told The Indianapolis Star. "We really didn’t have a drop off from the team before in this team. We lost to the Heat again and my role is kind of secondary to my health."
Paul George had a breakout season in Granger's absence and next season the duo are going to be tough to defend. Granger will likely start at small forward, with George at shooting guard.
"It’s scary," says Granger. "I think it’s really scary what we can do when we play together.... For the most part, our future is very, very bright."
Granger's future might be in doubt since the Pacers may shop him and his 2014 expiring contract. Granger is set to earn $14.02 million next season. He and the team are a good fit, however they are facing tax issues in the coming years and he will only stay with them if he's willing to take a sizeable reduction in salary with his next deal.
"While Indiana should be eager to see how he meshes with the latest version of the Pacers (where he would not be the centerpiece), there might be some opportunities on the trade market, particularly if future finances become an issue. Did Indiana succeed despite the lack of Granger, or because of it? "