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Heat’s Danny Granger: LeBron leaving ‘isn’t a terrible thing for me’

Portland Trailblazers v Indiana Pacers

INDIANAPOLIS - FEBRUARY 7: Danny Granger #33 of the Indiana Pacers looks on during the game against the Portland Trail Blazers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on February 7, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and condition of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: 2014 NBAE (Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE/Getty Images

Danny Granger was once an All-Star and the face of the Pacers franchise who averaged a career-best 25.8 points per game during the 2009 season.

Injuries have decimated his career, however, especially over the last two seasons.

Indiana gave up on him at the trade deadline, and sent him to Philadelphia in exchange for Evan Turner -- which seemed like a good idea at the time, but ultimately didn’t work out for the Pacers. Granger’s contract was bought out, and he spent the remainder of the year with the Clippers, but wasn’t able to substantially impact L.A.'s roster.

The Heat locked up Granger on a two-year deal this summer, as part of the effort to add some free agents -- any free agents -- to show LeBron James that the team was improved to the point where re-signing in Miami actually made sense.

James bolted for Cleveland shortly thereafter, and Granger could have reconsidered since the contract had not yet been signed. But he chose to stay in Miami, partially because of the expanded opportunity he’d have to earn playing time now that James was gone.

Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel:

He opted for less money in exchange for the opportunity to play alongside LeBron James.

And then, four days after Granger committed to Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra, James committed to a return to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Able to rescind or even restructure his two-year, $4.2 million agreement, Granger kept his commitment.

“It’s two-fold,” he said. “Yeah, I think everybody would like a chance to play with LeBron. But in the same aspect, a guy like me, who’s trying to reestablish myself, him leaving isn’t a terrible thing for me. It gives me an opportunity to play more, affords to do more of what I used to do. My initial reaction was to come to play with him, but once he left, it still was a good situation for me.

“I reassessed a little bit, myself and my agent. But at the point where I was at, it was more about me reestablishing, rather than the money or something like that. I’ve made a bunch of money. I just want to reestablish myself as the player that I was previously.”

Granger is probably the only one in Miami that is feeling better about his position with LeBron out of the picture. But the opportunity to reestablish himself, and regain the form he once had means more to him at this point in his career than does making the most money possible, or contributing very little to a team with championship aspirations.