It’s become pretty popular around Pacers Nation to bash Larry Bird.
Indiana hasn’t made the Playoffs in years. The team turned into a laughingstock full of criminals on (at least half) his watch. And the official address of Conseco Fieldhouse became “12 Salary Cap Hell Lane” about four years ago. All in all, things aint good.
So, sure, feel free to rip the guy for certain things.
It should be noted, however, that the Danny Granger extension was handled about as perfectly as a negotiation can go, and the result is that the Pacers star player is now one of the best values in the entire NBA. In no way is that more apparent than if you compare Danny’s deal to that of some of his peers — particularly two deals that just occurred.
Joe Johnson is about to re-sign for $119 million over six years in Atlanta.
Rudy Gay is about to re-sign for $82 million over five years in Memphis.
Danny Granger re-upped for $60 million (up to $65 million with incentives) over five years in Indiana.
Now, I think the majority opinion would be that Joe Johnson is a slightly better basketball player than Danny Granger. I disagree with that (mainly cause Joe needs the ball and is sort of a watered-down version of other guys who need the ball but are better than him whereas Danny is an off-the-ball specialist at his core and does a lot of things within an offense that very few people in the NBA can bring to the table). Regardless of semantics, it is close, and I think even those on the Joe side would agree that neither player is head and shoulders above the other. Dollar-for-dollar, however, the scale for sure tips in Grangers direction. Rudy Gay? Well, he’s the runt of the litter here and that deal is just insane.
So … a guy who is arguably the best player of the three is now playing for the least amount of money.
Let’s look at a few more:
Andre Iguodala re-signed for $80 million over six years in Philly in 2008.
Luol Deng re-signed for $71 million (up to $80 million with incentives) for six years in Chicago in 2008.
Hedo Turkoglu signed for $53 million for five years in Toronto in 2009.
Gerald Wallace re-signed for $57 million (up to $67 million with incentives) for six years in Charlotte in 2007.
Lamar Odom re-signed for $33 million over four years with the Lakers in 2009.
Caron Butler re-signed for $46 million over five years with the Wizards in 2005.
Again, you can argue about how these players compare to one another. But, by and large, these are Danny’s peers in the NBA.
And aside from the deal that LA gave Lamar Odom, who is several years older and obviously didn’t want to leave the Lakers after winning his first NBA championship, it would be hard to argue that anyone on this list has/had a more favorable contract for their team that the one that Larry Bird got Danny to sign. Caron’s was pretty good, too, and Gerald’s should be fair provided he doesn’t, ya know, have to retire due to getting eight more concussions and/or collapsed lungs over the next 12 months.
Yeah … I’ll take Danny, please and thank you.