So, you see, it’s dubious to assume.
As they begin to formulate their plans for 2013-14, however, the Pacers have the same feelings about Shaw and Granger – one is moving on, while one will be back.
The feelings about Shaw are stronger. Those about Granger should be tempered.
Shaw already has been given permission to interview for head coaching openings with the Nets and Clippers. He is been linked to the opening in Detroit because his former mentor, Phil Jackson, is in the Pistons’ employ as a consultant and is playing a role in the coaching search. Philadelphia could also be in the mix. Denver may also be in the picture after reportedly firing Coach George Karl today. Shaw’s experience in a team-first concept would fit well with the Nuggets’ All-Star-free roster.
“I do have the anticipation we will have to replace him,” Frank Vogel said at his year-end press conference Wednesday. “If we don’t, there’s some poor decisions being made by some teams out there because he’s going to be one of the great coaches this league’s seen.”
Vogel indicated he would take some time to find Shaw’s replacement and that the priorities are a depth of experience — preferably as a head coach — and the ability to develop young players. Getting a former player would be a bonus but not a requirement.
“There’ll be a heavy slant,” Vogel said, “on who’s best to help our young players develop. “
Losing Shaw is akin to losing a premium free agent. His rapport with the players, his ability to translate and support Vogel’s message, his gentle but firm touch in dealing with young players such as Paul George, Roy Hibbert and Lance Stephenson were integral to the Pacers’ growth.
Vogel said he “learned how to win” from Shaw.
“If you’re going to talk about Brian Shaw, that’s the first thing you have to think about because he’s a winner and he understands this league as well as anybody,” he said. “He’s seen it all from every different situation with multiple teams. He was instrumental in helping develop the winning culture we’ve created here.”
As certain as they are about Shaw’s pending departure, the Pacers must be equally uncertain about Granger’s return.
Just when the team he had led through years of mediocrity was poised for a major breakthrough season, Granger’s knee betrayed him. Two rounds of Platelet Rich Plasma and four months of rest did not solve the problem, so surgery became the best — and quite possibly last — option.
“I told him that if he returns to full health and the ability that he’s exhibited throughout his career that he’ll be the starter,” Vogel said. “But I’ve also challenged Lance Stephenson to not let that happen.”
The Pacers already have been burned by the best-case mindset once, choosing not to make a move for a shooter in February because they believed Granger would be back. They cannot fall into that same trap this summer.
Granger has little trade value – at least until February, when teams looking to clear cap space will covet his $14 million expiring contract. No, the best option is to stick with the plan and hope he comes back strong.
While hoping for the best-case scenario, they must plan for the worst.