This is why LaMarcus Aldridge decided to forgo thumb surgery and stick around — the Trail Blazers believe they are legit title contenders, they just needed a little depth. Now, they just got better and deeper in the team’s weakest position.
The Trail Blazers and Nuggets have agreed to a deal that will send Arron Afflalo to Portland, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports. There he will team with sharpshooter Wes Matthews and the struggling Nicolas Batum to form a quality wing rotation (to go with Aldridge inside and Damian Lillard at the point).
Portland gets Afflalo and Alonzo Gee.
Denver gets a lot of pieces back, including a 2016 first-round pick that is lottery protected, but it’s unlikely Portland misses the playoffs, so that’s going to be the pick. If not, it’s a 2017 lottery protected pick, and after that it’s two second rounders. Denver also receives another second round pick. As for players, they get Thomas Robinson (this is now his fourth team), Will Barton and Victor Claver.
Afflalo, 29, is the best player in this deal. He is scoring 14.5 points a game and while his is shooting 33.7 percent from three this season he is a career 38 percent shooter from beyond the arc. Last season he showed more shot creation skills as the lead guard in Orlando, but this season he has struggled some in Denver’s muddled offense. Going to Portland we likely see a return to form. He’s also a solid wing defender (maybe not as good as his reputation, but solid).
Afflalo has a player option for $7.9 million next season, but most around the league expect him to opt out and become a free agent. This could and should give Portland the inside track on re-signing him.
In the short term this is a score for Portland because Afflalo can start at the three for Batum, or come off the bench and play the two or the three — Terry Stotts has options. Portland’s bench has been an issue all season, and it just got better.