The Indiana Pacers will likely end up with the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, but the team has gone through a tumulus last couple of months since the NBA All-Star break, in which the team has gone 15-14 and has the worst offense in the league.
Some of that has been credited to Larry Bird’s trade deadline deal of Danny Granger for Evan Turner. The move was supposed to improve Indiana’s average offense and add a scoring spark to come off the bench. Since the deal, Indiana’s offense is scoring the fewest points per 48 minutes in the NBA, just below 93 points.
According to Dan Le Batard of the Miami Herald and ESPN, the Philadelphia 76ers first offered Turner to the Miami Heat for Udonis Haslem.
And do what you will with this: The Heat was offered Evan Turner before Indiana. All they had to give up was Haslem, who wasn’t even playing. Haslem, like Danny Granger, has spent his basketball life with only one team, and he talks a lot about the Heat way and family. The Heat didn’t make the trade at least in part because it didn’t like how the message contradicted what it was selling James when it met him, or what it might do to the locker room.
And Haslem, the old pro who has twice given up in excess of $10 million to stay in Miami, never once said a negative syllable from the bench, telling anyone who would listen that a time would come when he would be needed. And, as the Pacers continue an uncommon short-circuiting since the Granger-for-Turner trade, that was the undersized Haslem pushing around Roy Hibbert, the giant who called his teammates selfish, in the most recent game to help decide the Eastern Conference’s best team.
This is an especially strong story due to the recent resurgence of Haslem and his place in the starting lineup.
I recommend reading the entire piece, which covers Riley’s approach to building up the family dynamic of the organization.