Do the Portland Trail Blazers want to keep Arron Afflalo?


It has previously been reported that Arron Afflalo intends to opt out of his contract and test free agency this summer. Afflalo’s free agency leaves Portland in a very interesting situation. Do the Portland Trail Blazers try to re-sign the player they traded for at the trade deadline?

Short answer: Of course! He’s not a bad player.

Long answer: It’s complicated.

Like everything with the Trail Blazers this offseason, there is too much uncertainty to really give a good, definitive answer about the direction Portland wants to move. The Trail Blazers like Afflalo and think he fits with the team or they would not have traded for him in February.

There is a lot to consider when attempting to re-sign Afflalo, though.

1. Do the Trail Blazers have the cap space?

There is a way to keep the core of this team together, but it is going to be a very tight fit and Portland will have to make sacrifices elsewhere to bring back LaMarcus Aldridge, Wesley Matthews, Robin Lopez, and Afflalo.

Afflalo is going to make almost $8 million in 2015-16. With the cap about to jolt upward, he is probably worth more than that, and may be able to get what he is due in a relatively weak free agent class.

If he commands close to $10 million, there is no way Portland can afford him and keep pieces of higher priority. If Afflalo is close to $8 million or even below, I think he might be worth another look.

2. Can Afflalo help the team?

Assuming Aldridge decides to return, I love the lineup Portland was able to play for a few games after the trade deadline and before Matthews blew out his Achilles. That lineup with Afflalo at the 3, Nicolas Batum at the 4, and Aldridge at the 5 allowed Portland to space the floor and nail 3s. I specifically remember that lineup being the key in comeback victories over the Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Clippers.

There is no doubt that Afflalo can help the Trail Blazers; however, C.J. McCollum played very well at the end of the season. Keeping Afflalo would definitely limited his playing time and development. I don’t know if I’m ready to trust McCollum in a big play making role off the bench, but I don’t know if Afflalo is the best option either.

Afflalo will also be turning 30 before next season. That could definitely be problematic moving forward, depending on the number of years Afflalo is seeking if he opts out, but wants to re-sign for more money.

3. What else can Portland get for what Afflalo is worth?

As stated, Afflalo is likely to command more than $8 million per season. At the back of free agency, there are several players who could play a reserve shooting guard/small forward role off the bench. Potentially intriguing options includeL

There is a good chance that Portland won’t have much of a shot at some of those guys, but the point is that there are cheaper options than Afflalo on the table. They bring less to said table, but if their smaller paycheck makes it easier for Portland to re-sign members of the core, letting Afflalo go could be considered addition by subtraction.

As much as I liked the dynamic of Afflalo on the Blazers, it seems unlikely that he will remain in Portland for the 2015-16 season.

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