Lost in all the George Karl hubbub is the fact that the NBA Trade Deadline is just a week away. One player that Sacramento is reportedly interested in actually has a history with Karl. From Ramona Shelburne:
Among teams Nuggs have discussed Afflalo w/ -- Portland, Chi, Clips, Mia, Sac. He's got a player option next year, so FRP is a lot to ask— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) February 11, 2015
(FRP = First Round Pick)
Arron Afflalo played for the Nuggets for three years with George Karl before being traded to Orlando as part of the deal that brought Andre Iguodala to Denver. Two years later, the Magic traded Afflalo back to the Nuggets for Evan Fournier.
Denver has really struggled since George Karl has left, finishing 36-46 last year and holding a current record of 20-33. Afflalo has seen drops in most categories this year as he's become more of a primary option. The Nuggets are reportedly seeking a first round pick for him, but considering that he could choose to exercise a player option this summer and become a Free Agent, that's a lot to ask. Afflalo is making $7.5 million a year, and could probably get more on the open market, making free agency a realistic option for him. As such, any trade could come with some risk for the team acquiring him.
As such, even if the Kings don't trade for Afflalo this week, he could be a player that they give a serious look at this offseason if he is a free agent. He'd be a big upgrade to a team that is lacking shooting (he's a career 38.4% three point shooter and had two years above 40% with Karl) and depth.
Acquiring Afflalo would impact Ben McLemore and Nik Stauskas the most. Afflalo would most likely take over the starting SG spot, moving McLemore to the bench. Stauskas would have even less opportunity to play than he does now, which is why I could see him being part of an actual trade for Afflalo, as the Kings don't have many other assets to use.
There's almost certainly going to be a trade or two for this team before Karl coaches his first game on Feb. 20th, and acquiring a guy like Afflalo would probably be a bigger splash than most people are expecting. Still, this team could use a veteran player like him, and if Sacramento does better than expected over these last 30 games, they could have a good opportunity to re-sign him this summer.
We'll know soon enough what Sacramento is planning to do by the deadline. The clock is ticking.