Arron Afflalo Rumors

Western Notes: Ballmer, Rockets, Canaan, Afflalo

October 26 at 10:33am CDT By Chris Crouse

Steve Ballmer brings enthusiasm and loyalty to the Clippers as their new owner, writes James Rainey of the Los Angeles Times. Ballmer wants to be the NBA version of the Seattle Seahawks, whose fans are widely known as the 12th man for being the most passionate in the NFL. “We want better energy. I do. The players do. Doc [Rivers] does. Everybody does,” Ballmer said. “More. Better. We would love to be known for the most energetic fans in the NBA.”

Here’s more from the Western Conference:

  • Isaiah Canaan, who’s so far secured a roster spot with his preseason play, hopes his hard work translates into playing time in the regular season for the Rockets, writes Jenny Dial Creech of the Houston Chronicle. “I have to be strong in practice so that the coaches will feel like they can trust me out there,” Canaan said. “And when I get out there, I need to do my best, work hard and prove that I belong on the floor.”
  • The return of Arron Afflalo brings major changes to the guard rotation in Denver, writes Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post. Because of his improved game, Dempsey notes, Afflalo will surely take on a bigger role with the Nuggets than he had in his first stint with the team two years ago.
  • A lack of depth on the bench could be the Rockets‘ Achilles heel, opines Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio. In his season preview, Amico wonders whether there is talent on the roster to fill the void left by the departures of Chandler Parsons, Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik. 

Trade Retrospective: Dwight Howard To Lakers

August 5 at 9:17pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

It’s an enormous gamble for franchises to trade away their superstars because there’s almost no way to get back equal value in return. Teams usually have to settle for quantity over quality, and have to bank on the returns panning out down the line, or being able to in turn, flip the acquired assets for another team’s star player in another deal. It’s a gamble either way you look at it, and might help in explaining the turnover rate of NBA GM’s.

The current Kevin Love situation playing out in Minnesota is a great example of this. Team president and coach Flip Saunders is still trying to decide whether or not to pull the trigger on the deal, and if he does, which package provides the best return? There’s no way to get equal value for a player of Love’s caliber, at least not for the coming season. If Saunders lands the right package it will benefit the Timberwolves more in the seasons to come, rather than during the 2014/15 campaign. This is true even if they do in fact land Andrew Wiggins, as most of the current rumors suggest.

Minnesota’s quandary made me want to take a look back at some other blockbuster trades where superstars changed hands, and to examine how the trades worked out for both sides. Since we’re discussing a big man, I decided to begin this series with a look back at the August 2012 deal that sent Dwight Howard from the Magic to the Lakers.

First let’s recap the trade, and all the assets and teams involved:

  1. The Lakers received Dwight Howard, Chris Duhon, and Earl Clark from the Magic.
  2. The Nuggets received Andre Iguodala from the Sixers.
  3. The Sixers received Andrew Bynum from the Lakers, and Jason Richardson from the Magic.
  4. The Magic received Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington, a 2014 first rounder from Denver via the Knicks (traded to Sixers for the rights to Elfrid Payton) and a 2013 second-round pick (Romero Osby) from the Nuggets; Maurice Harkless and Nikola Vucevic from the Sixers; Josh McRoberts, Christian Eyenga, a top-five protected first rounder in 2017, and a conditional second-rounder in 2015 from the Lakers (protected for picks 31-40).

Looking back at the trade from the Lakers’ perspective, it’s not as bad a deal as one would have thought, considering Howard ended up being a one-year rental. During Howard’s lone season in Los Angeles, he averaged 17.1 PPG, 12.4 RPG, and 2.4 BPG in 76 appearances. His time was most notable for his displeasure with then coach Mike D’Antoni‘s offensive system, and the perception that Howard wasn’t satisfied with being the second biggest star on the team after Kobe Bryant.

Los Angeles went 45-37 in Howard’s only season, earning the seventh seed in the playoffs, where they were swept in the first round by the Spurs. Howard then left the Lakers to sign a four-year, $87.59MM contract with the Rockets.

In retrospect, the Lakers didn’t surrender all that much for their one season of Howard. At the time giving up Andrew Bynum, who was coming off of a season where he averaged 18.7 PPG, 11.8 RPG, and 1.9 BPG, seemed like a gamble, considering re-signing Howard wasn’t guaranteed, but Bynum ended up missing the entire 2012/13 season, and he’s only appeared in a total of 26 games since then.

Josh McRoberts has turned out to be a valuable bench contributor, but he’s not a player who would have significantly changed the fortunes of the purple-and-gold. McRoberts was subsequently traded by Orlando to the Hornets for Hakim Warrick midway through the 2012/13 season, and most recently signed a four-year, $22.65MM deal with the Heat.

The biggest loss from the trade could turn out to be the 2017 first-rounder that went to Orlando. It’s top-five protected, which gives Los Angeles some margin for error. But unless the Lakers make a splash in free agency the next two summers, the loss of the pick will cost them a much needed cog in the rebuilding process, and will negatively impact the franchise. I would say that setback wouldn’t be worth the single season of Howard they received. The record the Lakers have compiled since the trade is 72-92, hardly the result they intended when making the deal.

The Nuggets received a big boost from Iguodala in his one season with the team. He averaged 13.0 PPG, 5.3 RPG, and 5.4 APG while appearing in 80 contests. Denver went 57-25 that year, securing the third seed in the playoffs, before getting ousted by the Warriors in the first round.

Iguodala then left the Nuggets in a sign-and-trade deal with the Warriors that netted them Randy Foye. The Nuggets also swapped 2018 second-rounders with Golden State as part of that trade.

Foye had a decent season last year, averaging 13.2 PPG, 2.9 RPG, and 3.5 APG in Denver. He actually outperformed Iguodala’s totals in Golden State, thanks to Iguodala being slowed by injuries for much of the year. Still, in the long term, Iguodala is a much more valuable player, especially on the defensive end.

From Denver’s perspective this trade wasn’t a great success. The one season of Iguodala cost them two excellent years from Afflalo, who averaged 16.5 PPG, 3.7 RPG, and 3.2 APG in 2012/13, and 18.2 PPG, 3.6 RPG, and 3.4 APG during the 2013/14 season, numbers that surpassed anything that Iguodala has provided in Denver or Golden State. Afflalo was re-acquired by Denver this summer in a trade with Orlando which sent Evan Fournier and the No. 56 pick (Devyn Marble) to the Magic. Since the 2012 trade, the Nuggets record is 93-71.

From the Sixers’ perspective, this trade wasn’t a great deal–unless you are on board with their perceived tanking, and the assets they are gathering as a result. The acquisition of Bynum, which at the time was looked at as a win, turned out to be a disaster. Iguodala was a team leader, extremely popular in Philadelphia, and arguably the team’s best player at the time. Bynum had injury and motivation issues, and he ended up being far more trouble than he was worth during his brief stay in Philadelphia.

The loss of Harkless and Vucevic also doesn’t help the trade look any better from Philadelphia’s perspective. Harkless hasn’t set the league on fire, but he averaged 8.2 PPG and 4.4 RPG during the 2012/13 campaign, and 7.4 PPG and 3.3 RPG in 2013/14. He’s still only 21 years old and could develop into a valuable rotation piece down the line.

Vucevic, still only 23 years old, has turned out to be a very productive big man for Orlando. He put up 13.1 PPG and 11.9 RPG in 2012/13, and then 14.2 PPG and 11.0 RPG last season, far better numbers than anything from either Bynum or Richardson, who averaged 10.5 PPG and 3.8 RPG during his one healthy season in Philly.

The Sixers have gone 53-111 since the trade, a ghastly mark that stands in stark contrast to what they were envisioning when making the deal. They couldn’t have anticipated the injuries to Bynum, but that’s the risk a franchise takes with any transaction.

Finally, we come to the Magic. They were in a similar position to the one that Minnesota now finds itself in. They had a disgruntled superstar who wanted out, and they didn’t want to risk losing Howard for nothing if he left as a free agent. So, they made the difficult decision to deal away their franchise player.

After running through what the other teams received, and the minimal returns those assets provided, this might be one of the rare cases where the team trading away the best player actually came out on top.

As I’ve previously mentioned, Afflalo gave them two solid seasons, and Orlando probably should have retained him for another year, considering his talent level and affordable contract. Harkless has given Orlando decent production, and he hasn’t reached his full potential yet.

But the big prize was Vucevic. Productive big men are at a premium in the league, and he is still improving as a player. The problem will come after this season. Vucevic is eligible to sign an extension this summer, or he’ll become a restricted free agent in 2015. He won’t come cheap, and the Magic will have to decide if he’s worth the $10-15MM per season he will most likely seek in his new contract.

The final piece to this trade is Payton. If he can develop into a reliable starter, this trade will look better from Orlando’s perspective. Payton’s presence will allow Victor Oladipo to return to his natural position at shooting guard and reduce his ball-handling duties. The knock on Payton is his lack of a reliable jump shot, and with his questionable mechanics, it might not be a part of his game that will ever stand out. But if he can improve his defense, stay away from turnovers, and facilitate the offense effectively, he’ll be a valuable piece of the puzzle going forward.

Despite “winning” this trade, it hasn’t been reflected in the standings. Orlando has gone 43-121 since dealing away Howard. So, despite acquiring some intriguing building blocks, it also proves that one star player is far more valuable than a roster of good ones. Minnesota, take heed. You might have no choice but to trade Love, but no matter the return, your ranking in the Western Conference most likely won’t improve over the next few seasons.

Western Notes: LeBron, Warriors, Mavs

July 6 at 8:25pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

The Warriors could have dealt Harrison Barnes to the Magic for Arron Afflalo and a future first-round pick, a source tells Ric Bucher of 95.7 The Game (on Twitter).  The Warriors passed, but such a deal would have eased losing Klay Thompson in a Kevin Love trade.

More from the west:

Zach Links contributed to this post.

West Rumors: Sterling, Williams, Afflalo, Miller

June 30 at 8:02pm CDT By Zach Links

A new doctor has declared Clippers owner Donald Sterling mentally fit after a comprehensive medical examination in Las Vegas over the weekend, a source with knowledge of the situation told Shelby Lin Erdman of CNN.  The testing was arranged by one of Sterling’s attorneys and conducted with one of the top dementia and Alzheimer’s disease specialists in the country.  More out of the West..

  • Free agent Mo Williams has no meetings set with other teams and his “only goal” is to sign a new deal with the Blazers, a source tells Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com (on Twitter).
  • New Nuggets guard Arron Afflalo sounds intent on exercising his opt out after the 2014/15 season.  “It’s probably something that I always anticipated, even beyond when I first signed this deal with Denver,” Afflalo told Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post. “I knew my game, I knew my maturity, I knew I would grow as a player. And I wanted to have that option as I got older and I progressed as a player. So hopefully I’ll out-perform my contract and put myself in a better situation. That was my intent from the beginning, even before this year, was to play out the four years and progress as a player.”
  • Grizzlies swingman Mike Miller tells Ronald Tillery of the Commercial Appeal (via Twitter) that he’s meeting with his agent tomorrow in Los Angeles before talking with four or five clubs.  Meanwhile, the Grizzlies can prevent him from looking around if they come to him with the right deal.
  • A source tells Sean Deveney of the Sporting News (on Twitter) that there are four or five suitors out there for Jordan Hill, including the Rockets and Mavs.  He’s not ruling out a Lakers return and will take his time through the process with an eye on a longer deal.
  • Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak says the club is putting Julius Randle through a series of physicals this week to test his foot though, right now, he doesn’t expect surgery, tweets Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com.
  • There is strong mutual interest in Vince Carter‘s return to the Mavericks, but several playoff teams are expected to express interest in the 37-year-old swingman, writes Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com.  The Heat, Thunder, Blazers, and Raptors are among the playoff teams that are seen as potential fits for VC, according to a source.
  • Warriors coach Steve Kerr is discussing an assistant coaching job on the staff with Luke Walton, league sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter).
  • Lakers unrestricted free agent Kent Bazemore is expected to draw interest from the Hawks, Celtics, and Suns among others, tweets Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders.

And-Ones: Embiid, Draft, Trade Exceptions

June 27 at 11:36pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

The Nuggets absorbed Arron Afflalo into Andre Iguodala‘s $9,868,632 trade exception in Thursday’s trade with the Magic, reducing its value to $2,368,632. Still, the deal lets them make a new exception worth $1,422,720, equivalent to Evan Fournier‘s salary, and offloading Anthony Randolph in Thursday’s pick swap with the Bulls allows the Nuggets to create another new trade exception worth $1.75MM.

More from around the league:

  • Colin Ceccio of USA Today broke down the salaries for this year’s crop of draft picks.
  • Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today looks at the winners and losers from Thursday night’s NBA Draft.
  • GM Sam Hinkie anticipates Thaddeus Young remaining with the Sixers, tweets Tom Moore of Calkins Media. When asked if Young would remain with the team, Hinkie said, “I do. I like everything Thad’s about.
  • NBA.com collected all the various draft grades the Hawks were given for their work on Thursday night.
  • The estimates for when Joel Embiid will be able to return to the court for the Sixers have changed, reports The Toronto Sun (hat tip to the Sports XChange). Embiid is predicted to be out five to eight months, instead of the originally reported four to six months.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Western Notes: Nuggets, Blazers, Wolves

June 27 at 10:36pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

Trail Blazers GM Neil Olshey will be busy once the free agent signing period begins, writes Joe Freeman of The Oregonian. Olshey will look to upgrade his bench and he will have the team’s mid level exception which would allow Olshey to spend as much as $5.305MM on a player for up to four years, and a biannual exception that will allow him to spend roughly $2.1MM on a player for up to two years, the article notes. Freeman also looks at some of the free agent possibilities the team might entertain signing this summer.

More from the west:

  • According to Nuggets GM Tim Connelly, both Jusuf Nurkic and Gary Harris are “long term plays,” writes Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post. Connelly also said, I think Brian [Shaw] is an open competition coach, and if those guys come in and earn minutes, great, but I like what’s in front of them and I like the guys they are going to be able to learn from.”
  • Shaw is happy with how the Nuggets roster is currently constituted, writes Dempsey in a separate article. Shaw said, “In terms of our team, I think we got better yesterday. It’s tough. Evan Fournier is a young guy that had a lot of promise and had tremendous upside. But I think (the Arron Afflalo trade) gives us a legitimate starter at the two position. In terms of the depth of our team… we wanted to wear them down with the first unit and wear them out with the second unit. We never got an opportunity to get to that because of the injuries.”
  • If Kevin Love is traded this summer, the Timberwolves will move from an offense centered on his versatility and shot-making to one built around passing and a dangerous transition game, writes Jon Krawczynski of The Associated Press. The article examines how the draft night selections of Zach LaVine and Glenn Robinson III fit into that plan.
  • Rod Beard of The Detroit News examines what Nik Stauskas will bring to the Kings.

Southeast Notes: Magic, Afflalo, McRoberts, Heat

June 27 at 4:14pm CDT By Chuck Myron

Thursday’s trade that sent Arron Afflalo to the Nuggets in exchange for Evan Fournier and No. 56 pick Devyn Marble also gave the Magic a chance to reap an additional asset. It allows Orlando to create a $6,077,280 trade exception representing the difference in salary between Afflalo and Fournier. Of course, it might not last long if Orlando, which has been technically operating above the cap in spite of its diminutive payroll, elects to use cap space this summer. Still, it’s one more arrow in GM Rob Hennigan‘s quiver, and it helps explain another decision he made, as we detail below amid the latest from the Southeast Division:

  • The Magic fielded offers that would have allowed them to obtain a first-round pick for Afflalo, but they elected to take the package from the Nuggets instead, as Grantland’s Zach Lowe reveals.
  • Hornets GM Rich Cho contends that the team’s decision to draft big man Noah Vonleh at No. 9 doesn’t affect Charlotte’s designs on re-signing Josh McRoberts, as Cho told reporters today, including Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer (Twitter link).
  • It was a surprise when Caron Butler signed with the Thunder instead of the Heat this past season, but he said in a recent radio appearance on FM 104.3 The Ticket that the Heat approached him after he’d already committed to joining Oklahoma City. Joseph Goodman of the Miami Herald has the highlights from the interview, in which the soon-to-be free agent confirmed that he’d consider signing with Miami this summer.

Nuggets Acquire Arron Afflalo

June 27 at 12:18am CDT By Zach Links

FRIDAY, 12:18am: The deal is official, the Magic have announced via press release.

THURSDAY, 12:18pm: The Magic have agreed to send Arron Afflalo to the Nuggets for Evan Fournier and the No. 56 pick, league sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter).  The Nuggets appear to be absorbing Afflalo into a trade exception, Zach Lowe of Grantland tweets.  A quick glance at this summer’s outstanding trade exceptions would indicate that Denver is using the $9.868MM exception from the Andre Iguodala deal to take on Afflalo.NBA: Playoffs-Denver Nuggets at Los Angeles Lakers

Afflalo is set to earn $7.56MM this season and has a player option for 2015/16 at $7.75MM, but it seems likely that he’ll opt out, effectively making his deal an expiring contract.  The haul for the guard may seem light, but that fact could have weighed down his trade value.  Afflalo put up a career-high 18.2 PPG this season in 35 minutes per contest.  His ~46% field goal percentage was right in line with his career average and his 16.0 PER was a full three points higher than his mark last season.

The deal is something of a homecoming for Afflalo, who played for Denver from 2009/10 through 2011/12.  The reunion won’t be short lived, as a source tells Chris Dempsey of the Denver Post (on Twitter) that the 28-year-old will not be flipped to another team in a trade.  Afflalo has been mentioned as someone the Nuggets were interested in acquiring for the purposes of flipping him to the Wolves in a Kevin Love deal.

Fournier averaged 8.4 PPG, 2.7 RPG, and 1.5 APG in 19.5 minutes per night in 76 games last season.  The shooting guard showed flashes of brilliance in his rookie campaign but didn’t take significant strides forward in 2013/14.  Even though he shot well shot well from downtown, his field-goal percentage dropped to 41.9%, down 7.4 percent from the previous season.

Orlando surely likes Fournier but the real motivation for the deal comes in additional flexibility. Following the trade, the Magic have roughly $27.5MM in guaranteed salary on the books for 2014/15.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

And-Ones: Clippers, Afflalo, Duncan

June 24 at 11:27pm CDT By Ryan Raroque

The Clippers engaged the Magic in discussions about trading for Arron Afflalo this past spring, but were rebuffed after Orlando didn’t find L.A.’s trade offers enticing enough, reports Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com. However, there was some sense that the two clubs could later re-visit talks if they managed to get a third team involved in discussions. The Clips have been eyeing Afflalo for quite some time and came close to landing the former UCLA shooting guard last summer, according to Shelburne, who also mentions that Donald Sterling eventually nixed the negotiations.

You can find more of tonight’s miscellaneous news and notes below:

  • Spurs icon Tim Duncan revealed on “The Late Show with David Letterman” that he had briefly considered retirement shortly after winning his fifth NBA championship. “I thought about calling it a career…But I felt I could at least do one more year. I felt I was still effective. I felt I could still play and help the team” (transcription via Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News). 
  • Some NBA executives believe that the Cavaliers’ reported interest in Jabari Parker could just be a smokescreen to get other teams to ante up their trade offers for the No. 1 pick, tweets Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated. Among those teams is the Jazz, who are said to covet Parker if they acquired the top pick.
  • Both Howard Eisley and Brian Scalabrine are candidates to become assistant coaches for Doc Rivers, according to Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter links). Eisley has been serving as a players skills coach for the Clippers, while Scalabrine spent the latter portion of last season as a coach for the Warriors’ D-League affiliate.
  • Timberwolves president/head coach Flip Saunders said he’s in contact with other NBA teams on a daily basis, but was coy when specifically asked if those discussions involved Kevin Love, writes Andy Greder of the Pioneer Press. As Greder points out, Saunders said he’s comfortable with the current roster, including Love. “I don’t know about the prospects of us trading anybody by Thursday night…I feel comfortable with the guys that we have. If we can get something that makes our team better, we’ll do it. If we don’t, we’ll stay pat and move forward and enter into free agency on July 1.”

Draft Rumors: Cavs, Wolves, Afflalo, Jazz, Sixers

June 24 at 12:45pm CDT By Chuck Myron

The Cavs had been favoring Jabari Parker, but his poor performance in a workout for the team coupled with a stirring audition from Andrew Wiggins has left Cleveland torn with just two days to go before the draft, according to Jeff Goodman and Chad Ford of ESPN.com. The time left before Thursday night’s draft figures to be full of back-and-forth, with uncertainty seemingly surrounding all 60 picks. Here’s the latest:

  • The Wolves are willing to give up J.J. Barea, Corey Brewer, Alexey Shved and the No. 13 pick in an effort to either land a higher draft pick or a veteran, as Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders writes in his NBA AM piece. The Bulls have their eyes on the 13th pick, according to Kyler.
  • The Hornets, who have a longstanding interest in Arron Afflalo, are on board with surrendering the No. 9 pick and a player for the Magic shooting guard, Kyler writes in the same piece.
  • The Jazz are targeting Wiggins as they attempt to move up rather than Parker, and they’re actively shopping pick No. 23, according to Kyler.
  • The Sixers‘ reason for seeking a third top-10 pick is so they would still be able to emerge with two top-10 picks from the draft if they package the third and 10th selections to move up, sources tell Kyler.
  • The Kings have three deals in the works involving the No. 8 pick, according to Andy Katz of ESPN.com.
  • The Bucks are not actively shopping John Henson, in spite of heavy interest from other teams, but they are open to the idea of trading him for a lottery pick, reports Sean Deveney of The Sporting News.
  • Milwaukee is listening to offers for the No. 2 overall pick, though Bucks GM John Hammond said today that “it would take something very special,” to prompt him to give it up, tweets Matt Velazquez of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
  • It’s “highly unlikely” that the Blazers, who are without a pick in either round on Thursday, end up trading for one, as Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com hears (Twitter link).