JUNE 23RD: The deadline for Afflalo to opt in was Monday, and since that’s lapsed, he has officially opted out, The Oregonian’s Joe Freeman reports. Player options require players to say when they’re opting in, but they don’t have to give any notice if they’re opting out.
JUNE 21ST: Afflalo is expected to opt out, tweets David Aldridge of TNT.
MAY 7TH: It’s still too early to say definitively that Afflalo will opt out, sources tell The Oregonian’s Joe Freeman, who writes in a roundtable report that examines the shooting guard’s brief time with the Blazers and whether the team should bring him back for next season.
MAY 1ST: Arron Afflalo intends to turn down a $7.75MM player option for next season and become a free agent this summer, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.com. That’s even though a shoulder injury forced him to miss the initial two games of Portland’s first-round series against the Grizzlies and seemed to limit him the rest of the way. Afflalo went scoreless over about 29 minutes of play across the final two games of that series, which the Blazers lost 4-1. As the end of the regular season neared, he was reportedly ready to let his postseason performance dictate what he would do with the option, with the plan seemingly having been to opt in if he didn’t play well, so it appears the Sam Goldfeder client has changed course.
The Blazers gave up a first-round pick, among other assets, to acquire Afflalo from the Nuggets at the deadline, but it looks like yet another key member of their team will hit free agency. Fellow shooting guard Wesley Matthews, LaMarcus Aldridge and Robin Lopez are also among the Blazers who can choose to leave this summer. GM Neil Olshey said Thursday that he has contingency plans for each in case they don’t re-sign, and it seems increasingly likely that he’ll have to employ his plan for Aldridge, who no longer appears the safe bet to re-sign that he once was. Portland only has about $23MM in guaranteed salary for next season against a projected $67.1MM cap, so the Blazers have no shortage of flexibility.
Portland has Afflalo’s Bird rights, though unless the Blazers are willing to insert a fifth year in the 29-year-old’s next contract, that will matter little, since he’s not a contender for a maximum salary. The Blazers can offer 7.5% raises instead of 4.5% raises, but another team can offset that with a higher salary in the first year of the deal. Afflalo was the Magic’s leading scorer in 2013/14 with 18.2 points per game, but his scoring was off significantly, from 18.2 points per game last year to 13.3 this season, despite a much less profound dip in the number of his field goal attempts. He was better defensively this season, as Basketball-Reference’s Defensive Box Plus/Minus shows, but he had a woeful 8.2 PER in his 25 regular season games as a Blazer.