The New York Knicks will sign unrestricted free-agent guard Arron Afflalo to a two-year deal, worth $16 million, reports ESPN.com’s Ramona Shelburne. According to the report, Afflalo has a player option on the second year of the deal.
Afflalo decided to test free agency after declining a $7.75 million player option for next season, which would have been the final season of a five-year, $36.7 million contract he signed with the Denver Nuggets in 2011.
Afflalo, 29, was traded from Denver to the Portland Trail Blazers in February at the NBA trade deadline as part of a five-player deal. He averaged 10.6 points in 25 regular-season games last season with Portland. Overall, he averaged 13.3 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 78 games in 2014-15.
Afflalo was originally a first-round pick by the Detroit Pistons in the 2007 NBA draft. In eight NBA seasons, he has averaged 11.4 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game.
Analysis: An $8 million average annual salary is a bargain for a projected starting wing, though it’s not a coincidence that Afflalo was available at this price when other players at his position are agreeing to contracts of more than double the value. The player Afflalo once was would be useful to the Knicks: An effort defender who put work into defensive positioning and a solid shooter who could operate in support of a player like Carmelo Anthony. Unfortunately, though Afflalo’s long-range touch remains, the last few years have seen him regress in almost every other regard.
Afflalo’s shot selection has taken a turn for the unfavorable and his defense has worsened rather significantly. When given touches in volume, Afflalo can put up points. Whether he’ll do so in the ways and at the efficiency that would best suit a team like the Knicks is a different story, and a big part of the reason he was available at this price point. There’s not much harm in New York signing a serviceable wing to what will likely amount to a one-year deal (the second year is a player option). There just won’t likely be much reward in it, either. — Rob Mahoney