Back (court) to the future: Is Arron Afflalo coming to Boston?
ESPN Insider’s Joe Kaiser reported yesterday that one player sure to draw some interest both before the NBA trade deadline and in this year’s off season is Orlando’s Arron Afflalo. Afflalo, who joined Orlando as part of the deal that sent Dwight Howard to Los Angeles two in 2012, has been lighting it up in the shadow of the magic kingdom.
Arron Afflalo is having a career year in Orlando, putting up 21.0 PPG and shooting a cool 42.3 percent from 3-point land. With one year remaining on his current deal (he has a $7.75 million player option for 2015-16 that he'll almost certainly decline), you can expect the 28-year-old shooting guard to be one of the main names mentioned in trade rumors between now and the Feb. 20 trade deadline.
In an appearance on SportsNation earlier this week, when asked about Afflalo, ESPN’s Chad Ford stated that Afflalo does have a ton of trade value and added, “I doubt they ever can get as much for him as they could have this summer when the Clippers had interest in an Afflalo-Bledsoe deal."
The piece went on to speculate what franchise might be the best fit for Afflalo’s services- the Celtics being one.
Boston is not short on back court pieces. With Rajon Rondo readying his knee for a season debut allegedly before the All-Star break, Boston’s back court remains one of the most interesting story lines of both this and next season.
Bradley, whom has been with the Celtics since his rookie season, is having a breakout season on the offensive side of the ball. A player who is most known for his defense has been steadily improving his points per game and three-point scoring. The Celtics and Bradley could not come to terms on an extension earlier this season, and will attempt to come to terms on a deal in this year’s off season.
Jordan Crawford- who is this guy? From Doc Rivers’ “all scare team” to Brad Stevens’ occasional go-to-guy at the end of games, the emergence of Jordan Crawford has been fun to watch this season. Crawford and Bradley have found a great rhythm for the Celtics this season- something that will be interesting to watch once Rajon Rondo is back to full form. Similarly to Bradley, the Celtics opted to not extend Crawford early in the season, again waiting to see what happens at the end of the 2013-14 campaign.
After lighting it up with a brief stint in the D-League, MarShon Brooks will be rejoining the Celtics in the Bay Area tonight as the Celtics battle the Golden State Warriors. Brooks, a guy who has the potential to be a huge offensive threat, has excelled in college and in the D-League. MarShon, while staying positive and confident that his time will come, has not seen much playing time this season. He too was not extended this past October.
In a shooting guard swap earlier this week, Jerryd Bayless is now a member of the Boston Celtics. After a terrible night in Denver, a game in which coach Brad Stevens only real positive statement on the game was that Bayless had a strong debut, the Celtics will look to their latest acquisition to provide energy off the bench- something he is more than capable of doing. Bayless, a free agent this season, is another guy who has the ability to add 20-points off the bench- something he has done against the Celtics earlier this season.
The challenge the Celtics have in front of them is deciding the future- something that applies to every position on the floor. Celtics VP of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge is routinely asked about Rajon Rondo, and each time he answers that Rondo is not going anywhere. With their own draft position and a secondary first round pick coming from either Brooklyn or Atlanta (the least valuable of the two will go to Boston), they are in a position to start to build towards success with youth AND experience.
The question is does it make sense to roll the dice on a 28-year-old Afflalo, who has a $7M player option in Orlando and will most likely be gunning for a bigger payday on the open market or pick one (or two) of their “wait-and-see” shooting guards to help push this team to the next level as Boston continues their reboot.
Depending on the Celtics next move (and it is my opinion that there are a few more trades coming) the back-court situation should become a lot clearer. One of these guys is saying goodbye to the Celtics in July, something Celtics fans have become accustom to this season. As this team looks to the future, I guess the most important question is who will be the next player to say hello.