Rumors have been running rampant the past 48 hours that the Cleveland Cavaliers were close to trading the number one pick in tonight’s draft to the Orlando Magic for Arron Afflalo and the team’s pair of lottery picks. Forget all of that, though, as Afflalo is already on the move. According to reports, the Magic have traded him to the Denver Nuggets for Evan Fournier and the 56th pick in the draft.
The Orlando Magic have traded guard Arron Afflalo to the Denver Nuggets for guard Evan Fournier and the 56th pick in the 2014 NBA draft, league sources told Yahoo Sports…
The deal can’t be made official until after the draft tonight.
Afflalo, 28, played for the Nuggets from 2009-2012 and was a crucial piece of the three-team trade that landed Dwight Howard in Los Angeles and Andre Iguodala in Denver. After struggling in his first year with the Magic as he adjusted to a more primary offensive role, Afflalo enjoyed the best season his career in 2013-2014, establishing career-high marks of 18.2 points per game and a 16.1 PER. Most impressive? Afflalo improved to 42.3 percent from beyond the arc after shooting just 30.0 percent from there in 2012-2013.
Afflalo is due $7.5 million next season and has a player option for the same amount in 2015-2016. Though that’s more than a reasonable salary for a player of his caliber, Orlando has been intent on trading Afflalo for some months because his timeline doesn’t mesh with that of its young, developing roster’s.
Fournier’s certainly does. The 21 year-old wing is coming off a disappointing sophomore season that saw his numbers decline across the board. Still, Fournier is a canny playmaker, good long-range shooter, and has the natural tools to be a solid defender. The 2012 first-round pick is still on his rookie contract and will receive just $1.5 million next season. Orlando has a team option on Fournier in 2015-2016 before he will become a restricted free agent the next year.
This isn’t necessarily a bad deal for the Magic, but they surely had hopes of getting more in return for Afflalo once it was clear they wanted to trade him. Fournier projects as a solid rotation player at the very least, and an extra second-round pick can be valuable in potential swaps for salary purposes. However, there were talks in the past few days that Afflalo could yield a first-round pick in this loaded draft. What if Orlando got its hands on a prospect like Dario Saric with the draft asset it would have received for Afflalo?
Only Orlando knows the true trade market for Afflalo, though, and that the Magic didn’t swap him and two lottery picks to Cleveland to move up three spots in the draft could be considered a win. And the extra cap space this deal gives Orlando is somewhat noteworthy, too. Still, it ultimately seems underwhelming for Orlando, and won’t do much to move the needle in Denver, either.
The Nuggets desperately need size and defense on the perimeter, and Afflalo offers both. They’re close to capped-out this summer and won’t have tons of flexibility a year from now, though, and adding Afflalo’s deal to the mix complicates things. Without much chance of major internal improvement, Denver needs to acquire a star to compete in a stacked Western Conference. Afflalo isn’t that player, but maybe can be used as an asset to find one in the future.
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