I want to mention upfront that I am not an NBA Insider. I'm not a professional beatwriter, I haven't talked with any league sources. I WILL NOT be stating any of my opinions in this post, because I realize they don't mean a thing. I don't want to waste anyone's time with a fan's opinion (mine), an ill-thought-out one-sided trade, or any hearsay.
What I do want to discuss in this post is something I haven't seen written very often on OPP. While fans have been posting, commenting, and often advocating either to keep or trade AA for some time now, I have not seen any mention of one simple fact.
Arron Afflalo can opt out of his contract at the end of the 2014-15 season. I'm sure most of you realize this, but Afflalo's almost certain decision to opt out of his current contract has more to do with a potential trade this year than most would think, or have mentioned on this site.
Do I know if Afflalo will opt out after 2015? No. I know his agent will persuade him to. So will his family, support group, etc. Afflalo has been the ultimate pro throughout his career. He has improved every year he's been in the NBA. AA has vastly outperformed his current contract this year. Whether he is still playing at this level after next season or not, he has earned the right to opt out of his contract, and his market value around the league will dictate an amount larger than he's making now. Just for reference, here are some NBA Shooting Guards that make more than Afflalo: Eric Gordon (14 million per year), Ben Gordon (13 million per year), Rodney Stuckey (8.5 million per year), Marcus Thornton (8 million per year), and OJ Mayo (8 million per year).
How does Afflalo's 2015 contract situation relate to the Orlando Magic currently?
Lets say Rob Hennigan decides to hold on to Afflalo for the rest of the season. Can Orlando really think that prior to the NBA Draft they will get more for AA than they can get right now? What team will give up a valued 2014 draft pick for a player who could most likely opt-out and become a free agent after one season.
At least a team that traded for AA at this year's deadline could have him for a very reasonable salary this season (down the stretch, in the playoffs) and next season. The market for Afflalo's services would be larger now, where a GM could justify giving up a draft pick for help in this year's playoffs, opposed to giving up an asset for essentially a rental.
Again, I am not advocating trading Arron Afflalo one way or the other. I certainly don't know what management will decide at the end of this week, Rob Hennigan alone holds the cards. But I do know Oklahoma City is calling (some combination of Thabo Sefolosha's expiring contract, Reggie Jackson, Perry Jones III, and/or OKC's 2014 1st Round Pick possibly?), as well as Phoenix (some combination of Emeka Okafor's expiring contract, any choice of either Washington's, Phoenix's, and/or Indiana's 2014 1st Round Pick), and Charlotte (some combination of Ben Gordon's expiring contract, Bismack Biyombo, Detroit's 2014 1st Rd. Pick, and/or Portland's 2014 1st Rd. Pick).
If Rob doesn't get perceived value for Afflalo this week, will he really get it in June? If so, that's great. However, he would be taking a huge risk. If AA isn't moved before the start of 2014-15, Afflalo would get very little value in return at the 2015 Trade Deadline. He would be able to opt out only months later, so teams wouldn't be as willing to give up much of anything in return.
If the Trade Deadline comes and goes on the 20th, and Afflalo is still on Orlando's roster, that could possibly mean one of two things:
1)Hennigan is completely confident that he can move him on draft night...
2) or the Orlando Magic are prepared to sign Afflalo in the summer of 2015 to a larger salary after he opts out of his current contract.
If not, Arron Afflalo could be lost for nothing in return.
If Afflalo is moved this week, I know a lot of you will be disappointed. I'm just thinking, his 2015 player option could be one of the reasons why...