Arron Afflalo Rumors

Trade Candidate: Arron Afflalo

January 26 at 3:59pm CST By Chuck Myron

Arron Afflalo has long maintained solid production that lacks sizzle, and he’s been one of the NBA’s most reasonably priced players for most of the time that he’s been on the five-year, $38MM deal he signed with the Nuggets shortly after the lockout. He’s the sort of guy teams like to have around but wouldn’t mind parting with for the right return in the right circumstances. So, it’s not altogether surprising that he’s ping-ponged from the Nuggets to the Magic and back to the Nuggets while the contract’s been in effect, nor is it a shock to see reports that Denver is open to dealing him and that multiple teams have called the Nuggets about trading for him.

NBA: Orlando Magic at Denver NuggetsThe end of Afflalo’s contract is in sight, as Afflalo holds a $7.5MM player option for next season, the final year of the deal. He sounded this past summer as though he intended to turn down the option and hit free agency at the end of this season, as Chris Dempsey of The Denver Post observed. Any team interested in trading for him will surely try to suss out his feelings about that option now. It wouldn’t be altogether difficult to find a replacement of Afflalo’s caliber were he to opt out and sign elsewhere, but if a team goes in believing he’ll come off the books this summer and he doesn’t, that extra $7.5MM could be crippling to a front office’s plans. The Hornets, one of the teams that Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com identified as a suitor for the 29-year-old shooting guard, already have uncertainties in the form of Al Jefferson‘s $13.5MM player option and a $6MM player option for Gerald Henderson. They’d have roughly $20MM in cap flexibility against a projected $66.5MM cap if both opt out, and virtually no cap flexibility if they both opt in. Trading for Afflalo would set Charlotte up for a worst-case scenario in which Henderson and Afflalo opt in and Jefferson opts out, leaving the team without the financial wherewithal to replace Jefferson if he signs elsewhere.

The Heat, another team Shelburne says has called about Afflalo, find themselves in a similar position with about $41.2MM in commitments, not including more than $28MM in player options for Dwyane Wade, Luol Deng and Danny Granger. Still, Miami’s primary focus is the summer of 2016, when Afflalo’s deal will be done regardless. The Clippers are also in the hunt, according to the ESPNLosAngeles.com scribe, but they have little chance of opening up any significant cap room in the offseason ahead, though Afflalo’s option would carry potential luxury tax consequences, particularly since the Clips are in line to pay the tax for the second year in a row this season. Another taxpaying year in 2015/16 would set the team up to pay the dreaded repeat-offender tax penalties that would test even Steve Ballmer’s deep pockets.

Afflalo’s play on the court makes him an intriguing option for a contender looking for a short-term upgrade on the wing. His scoring is off, predictably, on the Nuggets this year after the rebuilding Magic featured him in their offense the previous two seasons. His 15.2 points per game are identical to his scoring average from his last season in Denver, before the Nuggets sent him out in the 2012 Dwight Howard-Andrew Bynum-Andre Iguodala four-team blockbuster. More disconcerting is his three-point shooting. He’s taking more three-pointers than ever, despite his accuracy having fallen off last year’s 42.7% clip. He’s at 34.0% this season, below his 38.6% career rate. That suggests an uptick is in order for the second half of the season, particularly if he’s playing on a contender with better pieces to surround him than the Nuggets possess. Still, his increased emphasis on the three-point shot has cut his free-throw attempts to 3.1 per game, his fewest in four years, indicating that he’s more hesitant to drive and create contact.

John Hollinger’s PER metric has never been kind to Afflalo, who last year managed a number better than 15.0, the mark of an average player, for the first time. His PER has dropped from 16.0 this season to this year’s 12.1, a number beneath even his modest career 12.8 PER. Still, that doesn’t tell the whole story. The Nuggets are 4.5 points per 100 possessions better on offense with Afflalo in the lineup compared to when he sits, per NBA.com, and only 0.6 points per 100 possessions worse with him on the floor. That net rating of 3.9 is almost equivalent to the distance of 4.0 between the Nuggets and Cavs in net rating this season, NBA.com shows.

It’d be far-fetched to suggest that Afflalo could turn a mediocre team into a contender, but he could help the Hornets and Heat make the playoffs and perhaps push the Clippers over the top in the Western Conference title race. Much depends on what cost Nuggets GM Tim Connelly would demand in return. Connelly reaped two first-round picks when they relinquished Timofey Mozgov, so he could be excused for setting a high price. Teams have nearly sworn off trading first-round picks in-season the past two years, but this year, they’re changing hands with more frequency.

Afflalo came cheaply this summer, when Denver sent little-used Evan Fournier and a late second-round pick to Orlando for him, and while Fournier has blossomed with the Magic, the trade looked quite favorable for Connelly at the time. It isn’t just Fournier’s play that’s haunting Connelly now; other GMs will surely wonder why he might ask for more in return for Afflalo than he got, particularly if the shooting guard’s numbers are down this year. Still, desperation drives deals, as Connelly surely knows from Cleveland’s desire for Mozgov, and as the trade deadline approaches and playoff races become more well-defined, Afflalo’s price will surely escalate. It’d still be difficult for the Nuggets to come away with another first-rounder here, but if they can find a younger replacement with the promise of someday playing at or near Fournier’s level, Denver would be wise to bite.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Blazers, Clippers Interested In Wilson Chandler

January 14 at 1:36pm CST By Chuck Myron

WEDNESDAY, 1:36pm: The Blazers and Clippers are among many teams who have strong interest in acquiring Chandler, Dempsey reports, though coach Brian Shaw denies that the team is trying to trade either Chandler or Afflalo. Chandler says the Nuggets told him they wouldn’t trade him, Dempsey writes, echoing his earlier report, though the swingman doesn’t dismiss the possibility that the team would nonetheless deal him away. Shaw clarifies that while the team isn’t shopping anyone, the Nuggets won’t turn away offers of the sort that pried Mozgov loose. The Nuggets have been “flooded with inquiries” about nearly everyone on the team, Dempsey writes.

“I’d be willing to go out on a limb and say that anybody on our team and everybody on our team, if there were an offer that was too good to pass up, everybody would be expendable,” Shaw said. “If Phil Jackson came out of retirement and said he wanted to come coach the Denver Nuggets, I’m expendable. You know what I mean? It is what it is. We all have had to deal with it at some point in our careers. They’ll be fine.”

TUESDAY, 9:30am: The Nuggets are aggressively shopping Wilson Chandler in a future-focused pursuit of assets, TNT’s David Aldridge reports (Twitter link). It appears there’s plenty of interest from other teams in the eighth-year veteran, as Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com reported Monday that the Nuggets were receiving numerous calls about Chandler as well as Arron Afflalo. Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post also heard last month that the team had fielded multiple inquiries about Chandler, though he added that the Nuggets had told the 29-year-old that they preferred to keep him. That was before the team traded Timofey Mozgov last week in a deal that brought back two first-round picks.

The Thunder reportedly checked on Denver’s willingness to part with Chandler, according to a report from Chris Mannix of SI.com a month ago, though a trade last week may have changed the equation for Oklahoma City, too, since the Thunder have acquired Dion Waiters. Chandler wanted to play for the Pistons in the past, Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press tweets, though it’s unclear if that’s the case now. The swingman is making nearly $6.758MM this season, but next season’s salary of almost $7.172MM is only guaranteed for $2MM, putting him on an expiring contract of sorts.

Denver had been drawing closer to the realization that the playoffs are most likely out of reach, as Grantland’s Zach Lowe wrote last week, but the team has won four in a row. Still, the Nuggets are 17-20, three and a half games behind the Suns for eighth place in the Western Conference. A Chandler trade could help Denver escape mediocrity, as I wrote when I examined his trade candidacy.

Heat, Clippers, Hornets Eye Arron Afflalo

January 12 at 5:39pm CST By Chuck Myron

The Heat, Clippers and Hornets have all discussed Arron Afflalo as the Nuggets field numerous trade calls on Afflalo and Wilson Chandler, reports Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com (Twitter link). Afflalo has a player option for next season worth $7.36MM and was rumored to be interested in hitting the open market.

The Clippers were in discussions with the Celtics about acquiring shooting guard Austin Rivers. The team seems interested in adding depth at the guard position and there’s no word yet whether one move would exclude the other.

Charlotte has been linked to Afflalo since last season when he was a member of the Magic. The Hornets have won five games in a row and find themselves just two games behind the Nets for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference.

Miami is already in position to make the playoffs but would most likely need to add reinforcements if the team is to make any sort of deep postseason run. Mario Chalmers ($4.0MM) or Chris Andersen ($5.38MM)  seem like candidates to be in a trade for Afflalo based on their salaries, although that is just my speculation.

Afflalo is having a rough season so far. He is averaging 15.5 points per game and his player efficiency rating is down to 12.75. However, based on his past history, he should have plenty of interest from teams as the trade deadline approaches.

Chris Crouse contributed to this post

Bucher’s Latest: Kings, Pelicans, Cavs

January 9 at 1:10pm CST By Chuck Myron

It’s no secret that the Nets trio of Deron Williams, Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson are available on the trade market, and they’re among a long list of players that GMs say teams are open to trading as the February 19th deadline approaches, according Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher. Jeff Green, Brandan Wright, Lance Stephenson, Greg Monroe, Brandon Jennings, Goran Dragic, Nik Stauskas, Ben McLemore, Jason Thompson, Arron Afflalo and most of the other Nuggets are also on that list, with Bucher, in many cases, confirming earlier reports. Still, Bucher hears plenty of new rumbles, as he passes along in his piece, and we’ll hit the highlights here:

  • Kings owner Vivek Ranadive unilaterally made the decision to fire former coach Michael Malone, sources tell Bucher, even though GM Pete D’Alessandro claimed the decision as his own. Most of the Kings organization was pleased with the direction the team was headed in and believed the team was overachieving, though there were doubts that Malone was the long-term solution, Bucher writes.
  • Ranadive wanted to make a splash with Malone’s successor, but Kings front office executives prevailed upon him to keep Tyrone Corbin as head coach, according to Bucher. Ranadive would relish the chance to turn the screws on the Warriors, of whom he used to be a part-owner, by hiring Mark Jackson, the ex-Warriors coach, a source tells Bucher, who nonetheless believes that the team won’t hire Jackson during this season.
  • Talk “circulating around the league” suggests that Pelicans owner Tom Benson is eyeing former Pistons president of basketball operations Joe Dumars and former Mavs and Nets coach Avery Johnson if he decides to make changes, Bucher writes. Still, Pelicans sources tell Bucher that the club hasn’t contacted either Dumars or Johnson, and that there are no signs that Benson is definitively displeased with either GM Dell Demps or coach Monty Williams.
  • Several executives from around the league don’t believe the pair of trades the Cavs made this week assure the team of any more than a second-round appearance, according to Bucher. One exec tells Bucher that the Cavs “overinflated” the market with what they gave up for Timofey Mozgov.

Western Notes: Ballmer, Rockets, Canaan, Afflalo

October 26 2014 at 10:33am CST 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 2014 at 9:17pm CST 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 2014 at 8:25pm CST 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 2014 at 8:02pm CST 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 2014 at 11:36pm CST 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 2014 at 10:36pm CST 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.