We mentioned Arron Afflalo as a potential replacement for Dahntay Jones. Afflalo is not a free agent, but we wondered if Detroit may be interested in trading him now that Ben Gordon is in town. Apparently, Detroit is hoping to move Afflalo:
There’s a good chance the Pistons are looking to clear another $2 million off their payroll. That would give them close to $4 million to pursue another frontcourt player in the wake of Antonio McDyess going to the San Antonio Spurs. Brandon Bass (Dallas Mavericks) and Glen Davis (Boston Celtics) are two possibilities.
To clear the space, the Pistons most likely will try to move Arron Afflalo and Sharpe.
I do not know what Detroit is looking for, but Denver can easily fit Afflalo into one of their trade exceptions and if Detroit is really motivated to make a deal perhaps a second round pick could be enough. If not, a massively protected first rounder (say 22 or lower) might be worth it. Keep in mind since Denver traded their first round pick in 2009 to Oklahoma City they cannot trade away their 2010 pick.
In other free agent news Grant Hill is looking more and more like a pipe dream for the Nuggets. They are never mentioned as one of the teams pursuing him by the media, and New York and Phoenix are both being very aggressive in their courtship of him.
The Knicks have supposedly offered Hill his choice of a one year, $5 million contract or a three year, $10 million deal. Both are more than Denver can offer without agreeing to a sign and trade with Phoenix. The Suns have not given up on bringing Hill back as owner Robert Sarver, GM Steve Kerr and coach Alvin Gentry were all in Orlando trying to talk him into returning to the desert.
If Denver is out of the running for Hill I agree with the opinion that Denver should move on to Hill’s Phoenix teammate Matt Barnes. He is a versatile, athletic high energy player who is an adequate three point shooter, solid defender and can run the floor like a personal injury lawyer chases an ambulance. Barnes will be cheaper than Hill and will fit better on defense and in the running game. He is not the creator that Hill is, but he is a decent passer (far better than Linas Kleiza).
On the Channing Frye front there has not been much news since he visited Cleveland. I think it is pretty good news that he left town without signing a deal. With the Nuggets only having $2.1 million of their midlevel exception remaining to offer Frye, and a sign and trade is out of the question as pointed out by runningdonut in the comments of a previous post, he may be a long shot to come to Denver. Still, the money should be close between Denver and Cleveland as the Cavs have reportedly signed Anthony Parker with a portion of their midlevel exception. (Update: According to Cavs beat writer Brian Windhorst the Cavs signed Parker to a two year, $6 million contract so they probably have $700,000 more of their midlevel exception than Denver does. Windhorst has also tweeted that the Cavs are currently not close to singing any other free agents. That also leads me to believe if the Cavs want to add Kleiza, it will have to be via sign and trade since they can only offer him a starting salary of $2.8 million, which is barely more than his qualifying offer.) Phoenix is also in the picture for Frye and probably offers the most playing time of the three teams and the Suns are his “hometown” team (his family moved to Phoenix when he was seven) so Frye will have to decide if he wants to play for a contender or if he wants to play for Phoenix.
Update: As reported by Chris Tomasson Johan Petro is not out of the picture just yet:
The Nuggets didn’t pick up the qualifying offer on Petro, making him an unrestricted, rather than restricted free agent. However, his agent, Sam Goldfeder, said that’s not necessarily an indication Petro won’t return to Denver. Goldfeder said he’s talked to both Warkentien and Karl and “they’re big fans” of his client.
However, any deal in which Petro were to return to Denver likely would be for the minimum.
As I mentioned in my piece on Petro, you probably do not like him at nearly $3 million a year, which is what his qualifying offer would have been for, but at or near the minimum he is a nice roster filler.