It’s a homecoming for Afflalo, but is it longterm?
Arron Afflalo is going back to Denver in exchange for Evan Fournier and the 56th pick in the draft. While a minor trade at the sight of things, this actually shakes a lot of things up. With rumors earlier about the Magic trading Afflalo, the #4 pick and the #12 pick for the #1 pick, this trade can effectively put those rumors to rest. This trade does raise some eyebrows for Denver who had been rumored to have offered Afflalo, Wilson Chandler and Kenneth Faried for Kevin Love. Now that they have acquired Afflalo while retaining the #11 pick, it’s likely the Nuggets will now offer their more valuable package to Minnesota for Kevin Love.
Denver made an excellent deal with this trade. Arron Afflalo that’s been on the cusp of All-stardom for years. He’s coming off of his best offensive year of his career, where he averaged 18 points on 42.7% shooting from downtown. In addition to his offensive abilities, Afflalo is a strong perimeter defender. Evan Fournier was a good player last season, but nothing special. With average offensive talent and lacking defensive skills, he showed no promise to become anything close to Arron Afflalo. The Nuggets have now solidified the shooting guard position – a clear weakness of theirs last season. The Nuggets also managed to pull this trade off without giving up the #11 pick. The question now is if this was a trade made for Kevin Love or made for the team. The original offer on the table was Afflalo, Faried and Chandler for Love. The Timberwolves were reportedly reluctant because there were no draft chips involved – the assumption earlier was that if the Nuggets acquired Afflalo, they’d give up the #11 pick in the process. Clearly they didn’t, which certainly beefs up their offer to the Wolves, which is probably the best one on the table at this point for Flip Saunders. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Nuggets acquired Love tonight at the draft. On the other hand, it’s possible the Nuggets keep Afflalo and simply take the improvement at the shooting guard position and move forward without a trade. The Nuggets gave up virtually nothing for Afflalo and now with the #11 pick they can focus their eyes on someone other than a shooting guard.
What? What? Why? Afflalo was Orlando’s best player last season, and yes, he was likely to opt-out of his 7.5 million dollar contract in 2015-16 and become a free agent next summer, but I expected the Magic to get some respectable value in return for the shooting guard. Fournier is a decent player and without giant upside it’s unlikely he’ll become more than that. They didn’t even acquire the #11 pick which the Nuggets have. What’s more confusing about this deal is that earlier today there was a consensus that the Magic were front-runners for the #1 pick as they had offered Afflalo, and the #4 and #12 picks to grab the top spot. Now that Afflalo is gone, the Magic have forfeited any chance of drafting 1st tonight. So not only did they lose their best player for little value in return, but they now crossed themselves out as suitors for the #1 pick. On the bright-side they cleared around 6 million in cap space. If the Magic don’t guarantee any of the unguranteed contracts on the books, and let restricted free agent E’Twaun Moore go in free agency, the Magic are now looking at around 26.3 million on the books heading into this off-season. That’s enough for a max contract… That’s enough for LeBron… Maybe this trade is more complex than we think. Maybe it’s an effort to clear cap space to bring in a major free agent this summer. Who knows? Immediate thinking is the Magic messed up. But who knows if this is part of a more elaborate plan.