Quietly, a lot of teams were coveting restricted free agent Arron Afflalo — a shooting guard who plays good defense, can knock down the open three (42 percent last year) and plays smart and within himself. I say quietly because they realized that they were not going to land him — he wanted to stay in Denver and the team was going match any reasonable offer anyway.
In the end, the Nuggets and Afflalo worked out a deal — five years, $43 million, reports Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated.
“He’s an asset,” (Nuggets general manager Masai) Ujiri told SI.com on Monday night. “He’s tough. And the way we’re building our team, with good guys and strong guys and guys that are competitive, he has always lived up to it.”
Last week the Nuggets signed Nene to keep another key asset from the team that played surprisingly well — and fantastic team basketball — last year after the Carmelo Anthony trade. The problem is that three other key members of that team — J.R. Smith, Wilson Chandler and Kenyon Martin — are still all playing in China. And even when they come back to the NBA from there they will be free agents who could land a lot of places.
There are plenty of questions about Denver, this season and going forward. But inking Afflalo makes them better, whatever the answers.
Any controversy over C.J. McCollum‘s suspension for the season-opener should be put to rest. The Trail Blazers fared fine without him.
More than fine.
Portland beat the Suns, 124-76, Wednesday. The 48-point margin is the largest ever in a season opener, even as the Trail Blazers let a 58-point fourth-quarter lead dwindle.
Here are the most lopsided season-openers in NBA history (openers for both teams appearing twice):
The 48-point defeat is also the Suns’ worst lost in franchise history, topping a 44-point loss to the Seattle SuperSonics in 1988. It could be a long year in Phoenix.
Marcus Smart and Matthew Dellavedova thrive on aggravating opponents, so when matched up, of course they aggravated each other.
Deduct points from Smart for pulling the hold-me-back charade behind a referee. Plus, Dellavedova’s Bucks beat Smart’s Celtics, 108-100.
The Nets’ projected record this season came under greater scrutiny when the Celtics traded Brooklyn’s unprotected first-round pick to the Cavaliers in the Kyrie Irving trade. After finishing third-to-last and last the previous two years, were the Nets poised to take a step forward, or would they convey a very high pick to the Cavs?
Jeremy Lin, who missed 46 games last season, getting healthy was a reason for optimism in Brooklyn and pessimism in Cleveland. But it appears the veteran guard could be out a while.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
Billy Reinhardt of Nets Daily:
If the injury is as bad as feared, what a bummer for Lin. He came to Brooklyn expecting to play a leading role on a developing team, and he just can’t stay healthy.
The Nets were probably more focused on developing their younger players, but – especially without their own draft picks – there was no harm in shooting for the playoffs. This appears to a blow to that (already unlikely) dream.
It’s a boon to the Cavaliers, though. And whenever something significantly affects LeBron James‘ team, it has ramifications into the entire power dynamic of the Eastern Conference. For an injury to a player on a team most expect to be bad, the medical developments here will be tracked closely around the league.
Remember when Aaron Gordon was a promising fun player?
The Magic sidetracked him by playing him at small forward most of last season. But back at power forward, Gordon showed how he could push the pace as a four in Orlando’s season-opening win over the Heat.
There’s obviously flair in passing to yourself off the backboard, but it’s a sound way to improve position. Gordon did that to fantastic effect.