Going back to this past season's trade deadline, I have been on the Arron Afflalo bandwagon -- examples one and two. He makes sense for several reasons: Size at shooting guard (6-5), youth (25 years old), shooting (50 percent from the field and 42 percent on three-pointers this past season) and willingness to defend.
Those are all the traits you want from the Bulls' starting shooting guard next season -- right?
This past season, according to HoopsHype, Afflalo made $1.95 million. He has a qualifying offer with the Nuggets at $2.9 million. Once the Nuggets officially exercise his qualifying offer, he will become a restricted free agent. After such a solid season with the Nuggets -- in which he averaged nearly 13 points and four rebounds per game -- he will get paid. There's no question about it.
But how much?
Benjamin Hochman of the Denver Post writes: "Because a new collective bargaining
agreement could lead to a shortening of the length and size of NBA
contracts, it's difficult to gauge how much money Afflalo will get. But
looking at other players at Afflalo's position -- such as Ben Gordon
(nearly $11 million), John Salmons (about $8 million) and J.J. Redick (about $7 million) -- you can see
Afflalo getting $8 million to $10 million with his new deal."
The Bulls simply can't afford Afflalo, who will, as Hochman writes, want more than the Bulls' mid-level exception.
And very seldom do you see a player, who's coveted by his team, leave as a restricted free agent. The Nuggets will be able to match any offer sheet given to Afflalo.
Remember, the Bulls signed J.J. Reddick to an offer sheet last offseason (three years, $19 million). A week later, the Orlando Magic matched the three-year deal to retain Reddick.
Plus, Afflalo wants to stay in Denver.
"I have confidence that we can get a deal
done," Sam Goldfeder, Afflalo's agent, said. "There is a very strong mutual admiration between
Arron and Nuggets management."
Unfortunately, the stars are not aligning for an Afflalo/Bulls pairing. The four-year guard wants to stay in Denver, wants money outside of the Bulls' range and, simply, the Nuggets are not going to let him go.
The Nuggets will have to choose between J.R. Smith, Wilson Chandler and Afflalo. They will likely go with the latter two, as the Smith experiment has run its course in Denver.
Yes, Afflalo is a free agent, though only by name. If you are on the Afflalo-to-the-Bulls bandwagon, you'd better get off now, because it isn't going to happen. He would be a good fit at shooting guard for the Bulls, though an unattainable one.
Kings want to keep Thornton: Here's another sharpshooting two-guard on the free agent market: Sacramento's Marcus Thornton.
According to The Sacramento Bee, the Kings extended a qualifying offer to the 24-year-old Thornton, making him a restricted free agent.
After the New Orleans Hornets dealt Thornton to Sacramento, his season really got going. Thornton averaged 21 points (36 percent on three-pointers), five rebounds and three assists in 27 games with the Kings.
The Kings extended a qualifying offer to Thornton for a reason. They want him back in Sacramento.
He would be a solid fit with the Bulls, likely as the sixth man, because at 6-4, he isn't the big guard you'd ideally want next to Rose in the backcourt. He can shoot, though. In short, he's a younger, cheaper, unproven version of Ben Gordon, who spent five seasons in Chicago.
Due to his finish to the season and reasonably cheap price tag, Thornton -- who made over $762,000 this past season -- will likely stay put in Sacramento.