Arron Afflalo is one of the many free agents the Denver Nuggets could lose this offseason, but due to his restricted status, the team is eligible to match any offers other NBA teams bring to the swingman and his agent. Those offers could come fast and furious when free agency officially opens on Friday morning, however, as Afflalo has earned a great reputation around the Association.
Afflalo is a solid defender, a good shooter and seems to be a team player -- three traits that are rare to come by in the same player. Considering he shot better than 40 percent from beyond the arc last season, numerous teams are interested in acquiring him during the lockout-truncated offseason according to ESPN's Marc Stein.
Sources told ESPN.com that the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers, despite possessing no cap space to bid for the 26-year-old swingman, will continue to press the Nuggets to see if they're amenable to sign-and-trade discussions. Sources say New Jersey and Minnesota, meanwhile, are among the teams with salary-cap space weighing whether to extend an offer sheet after free agency officially starts Dec. 9 that the Nuggets will have three days to match to keep Afflalo.
The 26-year-old also got high marks from SB Nation's Tom Ziller. When ranking the top NBA free agents, Afflalo came in at No. 8 ... and ahead of proven veterans like Jason Richardson, Shane Battier and Andrei Kirilenko.
Afflalo isn't going to win a lot of style points, but he's a solid and versatile defensive-minded wing who is focused on efficiency above all else on the offensive end. His 12+ points came on just nine shots a game last season, and he turned the ball over just once per 33 minutes played.
George Karl has a way of getting the most out of this flavor of wing -- remember Dahntay Jones? the Pacers' cap sheet does -- but there's little to indicate Afflalo plans to invoke his inner Al Harrington and transform himself into a volume scorer going forward. He's a pretty safe bet, assuming teams don't expect him to become a third-option on offense or something.
In the right situation, Afflalo could end up being a steal for a contending team. Whether the Nuggets allow him to leave as a restricted free agent, however, is a whole 'nother story.