The Portland Trail Blazers have acquired veteran shooting guard Arron Afflalo from the Denver Nuggets, according to Adrian Wojnarowksi of Yahoo! Sports. In return, Denver is receiving power forward Thomas Robinson, wing Will Barton, forward Victor Claver and a first-round draft pick in 2016.
It seems like Afflalo has been on the trade block since Denver acquired him from the Orlando Magic this summer in return for guard Evan Fournier. The move was widely viewed as a steal for Denver at the time, but Fournier has shown promise in Orlando while Afflalo has been up-and-down for a struggling Denver team.
There's no question that Afflalo can still be a contributor for a good team when Afflalo is playing at his peak. He's a quintessential 'three-and-D' player that can shoot and guard his position without demanding the ball. He should immediately boost a Portland bench that has been considered one of the weakest among playoff teams for the last two years.
Afflalo turns 30 before next season, and has a $7.5 million player option after this year. Portland is hoping he can bolster a wing rotation headed by Wesley Matthews and Nicolas Batum. Veteran wing Alonzo Gee is also headed to Portland.
What are the Blazers getting?
Afflalo has long been one of the more underrated players in the league. Shooting guard is a thin position to begin with, and Afflalo is one of the few two-guards in the NBA who can produce on both ends of the floor. On offense, Afflalo can create off the dribble and hit from long range. This season he's been averaging more than 15 points-per-game, and though he's only shooting 34 percent on three-pointers, last year Afflalo hit 43 percent of his shots from behind the arc and he's a 38 percent three-point shooter for his career.
At 6'5 and 215 pounds, Afflalo can also defend bigger wing players. That said, Afflalo is 29 and his numbers are down across the board. But that drop-off has been a small one a change in scenery could be all he needs. Afflalo has a one-year, $7.5 million player option for next year. Chances are Afflalo decides to opt-out of his contract this summer.
How does Afflalo fit Portland?
The Blazers have a strong starting lineup, but the bench needed some help, especially on the wing. C.J. McCollum, Will Barton and Allen Crabbe are all unproven, so Afflalo will add some scoring punch to that group.
Nabbing Afflalo will also provide some insurance in case Batum continues to struggle or gets hurt again. Batum's offensive numbers have plummeted this season, thanks in large part to some nagging injuries.
Looking forward. Afflalo could potentially slide into the starting 2-guard spot in the off chance Matthews goes elsewhere next summer. However, Afflalo has a $7.5 million player option for next season, and he could easily decline that and go elsewhere himself.
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What is Denver getting?
A future first-round pick is a nice haul for Denver. Remember that Blazers star forward LaMarcus Aldridge is a free agent after the season. If he switches teams, this deal could look even better for the Nuggets.
The young pieces coming from Portland are intriguing in their own way, too. Robinson was the No. 5 pick in the 2012 draft, but hasn't been able to live up to the potential he showed at Kansas. This will be Robinson's fourth team in four seasons, but he's still only 23 years old. At 6'10, 240 pounds, he's a big, active body who will mostly make his presence felt on the glass.
The 24-year-old Barton could be a nice piece, too. A former second-round draft pick out of Memphis, Barton never received consistent playing time in Portland. He did have a nice showing in the playoffs last season when he got the opportunity to see the floor, scoring 17 points in Game 4 against the Spurs.
Claver was a first-round pick in 2009 for Portland, but hasn't done much since arriving in the NBA. He has started 16 games for the Blazers this season, averaging under four points per game.