At 8-20, the Orlando Magic aren’t even in the playoff hunt in the miserable Eastern Conference. Despite five teams with losing records currently among the top eight teams in the East, the Magic don’t have the look of a playoff team and reside several games out of the No. 8 spot with one of the worst records in the NBA.
One of the few bright spots on the team is the play of guard Arron Afflalo. Afflalo should be an All-Star this year and is averaging 21.9 points per game this season while shooting 47 percent from the field. Afflalo is also averaging career-highs in rebounds (4.6) and assists (3.9) and is easily having the best season of his career. He is the perfect example of a player that’s continued to get better and his scoring has increased in each of the six years he’s been in the league since his 2007-08 campaign with the Detroit Pistons.
Because of that, Afflalo’s name has come up in trade discussions. Good player, bad team – do the math. It’s easy to see why Orlando’s phone is being lit up by opposing GMs. Even Afflalo himself acknowledges that he could be dealt because of the situation. For now, though, the Magic don’t seem to be biting.
According to Yahoo Sports’ Marc Spears in his latest power rankings column, the Orlando Magic keep turning away teams with prospective trade offers for their guard.
On the surface, it might seem a little odd that the Magic aren’t willing to listen to offers for him with the team so utterly bad this season. Dig a little deeper, though, and you’ll see that hanging onto him actually makes good sense.
For one thing, Afflalo is under team control for two more years after this season. Sure, the Magic aren’t going anywhere this year but with a good nucleus of young talent including Victor Oladipo, seven-foot center Nikola Vucevic, and others, Orlando could very well be a playoff team in a year or two. Instead of trading their best player away with a good young core, they should be trying to add quality players to the mix.
Afflalo’s salary is also highly manageable. He’s owed just over $15 million for the next two seasons but for an All-Star player, that figure is actually a bargain. When you take a look at the rest of the young roster in Orlando, it’s clear that there’s money to spend and that Afflalo’s contract won’t necessarily hamper the team.
Lastly, Afflalo continues to get better and at only 28, there’s good reason to think that his next two years could be just as productive as the season he’s having right now. He has gotten better every single year as a player and while he may top out at 22 points a game, he’s still young enough that he should be able to duplicate this year for the duration of his current deal.
At first glance, Afflalo seems like an easy trade target. If the Magic want to contend for the playoffs down the road, though, their best bet is to hang onto him.