As first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, Denver has traded Evan Fournier and the 56th pick to Orlando for Aaron Afflalo.
First things first, this is a great deal for Denver. There has been a gaping hole at shooting guard this offseason and in Afflalo the Nuggets essentially get a bigger, better Randy Foye. He can go up against bigger twos and he has the type of frame to make switches onto ball-handling wings late in games, something Foye had had his struggles with all season. It also means that Denver is going to have to say farewell to Evan Fournier, a polarizing player who was always a lot more interesting to think about than actually watch on a consistent basis. I liked Fournier, but it’s hard to see where his potential might take him after a past year spent playing idly in the background despite the team desperately requiring a new spark somewhere. The 56th pick is, while certainly not worthless, so hard to project a distinct value on that you can’t really knock Denver any points for giving it up.
Denver will use their trade exemption (which, ironically they got by trading away Iguodala who they got by trading away Afflalo) to make the deal work and Afflalo makes a reasonable $7.5 million this year. He has a player option for next year that he’ll likely opt out of in favor of securing a long-term deal which would probably remain along the same lines as this one. This essentially makes him an expiring going into this year, which gives Denver another asset they can either choose to pocket for now, re-sign when the time comes or pounce when the time is right.
All in all, a brilliant opening to Denver’s offseason and an encouraging sign from second-year GM Tim Connelly.