The Denver Post is reporting that the Denver Nuggets are indeed discussing the possibility of acquiring Arron Afflalo from the Detroit Pistons. Chris Dempsey writes that Afflalo is “limited a bit defensively,” but I disagree. I do not watch a lot of Pistons games, but my eyes tell me Afflalo can D it up pretty well at shooting guard and I am not the only one who thinks so. Here is the first line from his DraftExpress profile:
Arron Afflalo is first and foremost a tough competitor. He prides himself in many different areas of his game, most notably his defense, and always wills himself to improve.
The more I think about it the more I suspect the Nuggets can get him for a second round pick. They will have a high to mid second round pick available next season thanks to the Los Angeles Clippers second rounder that Denver has the option on in 2010 from the Marcus Camby deal. Afflalo was a (late) first round pick in 2008 and it might seem Detroit deserves a first rounder in return based on his play, but what Detroit wants is cap space and the benefit they receive by trading Afflalo is the extra cash the deal would open up for them. Because the Nuggets are giving them salary relief there is no need to give up a first round pick as part of the deal.
One other thing to keep in mind is the Nuggets have two trade exceptions they can choose from to use to trade for Afflalo. They own a $9,790,625 trade exception that was originally created in the Camby trade, but was recharged in the Billups deal. It expires on November 3, 2009. They also have a smaller, but still sizable $3,240,000 from the Chucky Atkins trade that expires on January 7, 2010.
If Denver does complete this trade, I think it will be interesting to see which exception they use. The $9.8 million exception will expire first and they can extract Afflalo’s nearly $1.1 million salary from it and still have a big chunk of it still available (David Lee sign and trade anyone?). On the other hand if they want to preserve the $9.8 million in its entirety they can pull the money out of the smaller $3.24 million exception.
I suspect they will use a portion of the $9.8 million exception because it expires first and removing $1.1 million from the lesser exception would greatly reduce its value. However, if we find out they pull the money for our as of yet fictional trade from the $3.24 million exception we will know they are still hoping to pull off something big before the season starts with the larger exception.
It was not necessarily what I had in mind two weeks ago, but I am starting to think an Afflalo, Matt Barnes Joe Smith/Drew Gooden/Shelden Williams offseason might not be all that bad for the Nuggets. All three players would come cheap and allow Denver to take on a little more salary at the trade deadline.
Of course, I read today that the Orlando Magic are reportedly turning their gaze on Barnes now that they have landed Brandon Bass and Barnes is supposedly choosing between Orlando and Cleveland (Dallas is mentioned as well, but that was before the Shawn Marion trade.