Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Dealing Afflalo for Bledsoe Would Mean No More Tanking

That’s my main intrigue with Chad Ford’s rumor. If Orlando ships Arron Afflalo off for Eric Bledsoe and Caron Butler, as well as drafting either Victor Oladipo or Ben McLemore, then the Magic would need to go through a ridiculous amount of injuries yet again if they want to place themselves in the bottom 5 with a shot at the Andrew Wiggins sweepstakes. You bring back a healthy Glen Davis and Jameer Nelson and this Orlando squad is closer to .500 than they are the #1 pick this upcoming 2013-2014 season. Remember, 12-13 record before Glen went down. In Orlando's eyes, Afflalo failed as a go-to scorer and isn't worth the $8 million he's making over the next few years.

If Arron is so bad even for the Magic, then why would the Clippers want him? Well for one, I'm not one to make sense of anything that Donald Sterling says or does. Another team's 'trash' is another team's treasure. Afflalo as a third or fourth scoring option does work. More importantly, Afflalo actually plays better against the Western Conference than he does the East. Look below at Arron's comparisons, but also be wary of his atrocious 'clutch' numbers. 1.8 ppg more against the West than East and a 3% higher field goal percentage. Afflalo's +/- is still crap, but don't tell L.A. that.

Butler ($8 million) and Bledsoe (About $2.6 million) will be in the final year of their respectful contracts and will be free agents in 2014 barring them signing extensions. If the Magic acquire Butler, Hennigan and crew would most likely allow Caron to simply walk. Bledsoe would have a full season either as a starter or high-minute backup to show this Magic franchise if he can be a Russ Westbrook-type of piece. Seriously though, don't laugh at my Westbrook claims. Have a peak at their draft measurements. Eric may be 2 inches shorter, but his wingspan is on par with Westbrook's. Length more than height is a killer in this constantly changing league. It's also a reason why I'd bank on McLemore or Oladipo over Wade. But I'll get to that another day. 

Butler may be in the twilight of his career, but his shooting percentages were on par with Afflalo's last season. Only difference was Arron had a lot more scoring attempts because he was Jacque Vaughn's 1st/2nd option on offense. Caron hasn't had production this low (10.4 ppg) since basically his second season in Miami a decade ago (9.2 ppg). With Caron and Eric each playing for contracts, you think being on a losing team is in their best interests? I certainly don't think so. These two were viable pieces on a Clippers team that just had the best regular season in that franchise's history. So if Rob is pulling the trigger on this, he's doing it because he knows the 2013-2014 Magic can contend for a playoff spot in a watered down East. 

Below is NBA Stats Cube comparing the two players, including the one game that Afflalo and Butler actually faced off. If you need a reminder, it was kind of a big deal for Orlando. The Magic would end their 10-game losing streak on January 12th inside Staples Center. L.A. still had the best record in the league at that time. It's one of the few 'signature' wins considering they did it without Big Baby. Shortsightedness is why the Clippers THINK they're upgrading a lot should they make this rumored transaction. Afflalo had one of his very rare 50%+ outings by pouring in 30 points, while Butler only mustered a so-so 8 points. 


All of this discussion won't have a resolution until we hit July when we know if the Clippers will be able to sign Chris Paul to a new long-term contract. The latest is that CP3 is absolutely pissed at Clippers management for hinting that their star point guard had a hand in the firing of Vinny del Negro. The Clippers' brass have screwed up, but I don't think it's enough for CP3 to walk. Not unless Paul can team up with Dwight some place else, an entirely separate discussion. Clippers would have Paul, Jamal Crawford, maybe Billups, and maybe a young guy like Maalik Wayns or someone better they pick up via the draft or free agency. There's just no room for a blossoming Bledsoe who won't possibly be retained for cheap in the summer of 2014. The Magic should take him off of their hands and give Eric the chance to impress Orlando. 

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