The Bulls have discussed Arron Afflalo with the Nuggets, Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com reported late Tuesday.
The Nuggets are a pretty big mess with a lot of somewhat decent players on fairly large contracts, and may be the league's biggest seller as we approach the trade deadline on the 19th. They have already unloaded Timofey Mozgov for the princely sum of two first-round picks, and that has them thinking a big return on Afflalo as well. Marc Stein backed up his colleague's report and added that Afflalo is the more likely Denver wing to go (over Wilson Chandler).
Afflalo is a 29-year old veteran 2-way shooting guard who's probably not as good as his reputation, but also would be an upgrade from the Snell/Hinrich/Moore platter we've seen from that position this season (I know, right when Snell is going to the Hall of Fame), and more importantly would be someone who'd be dependable in the playoffs to the point Thibs would use him. He's sub-34% on three-pointers this season but just last year was over 42% and has been over 38% in his career with a high volume.
But his contract situation is a bit onerous, making $7.75m this season and having a player option for ~$7.9m for 2015-16. Taking on future salary is dicey for the Bulls (in their mid-market mindset, anyway) as if they plan to give Jimmy Butler a max contract, having Afflalo at that figure could put them in the luxury tax. Afflalo could also choose to opt-out and chase a multi-year deal in the offseason, alleviating the Bulls of any future obligation.
To aggregate enough outgoing salary to acquire Afflalo, the Bulls can technically get a deal done with a combination of Snell+Moore+Hinrich (note: Hinrich would have to approve any deal). But in terms of an actual outgoing asset, the Bulls have all their own first-round picks, plus the protected Kings one. They also have recent draftee Doug McDermott if they figure (already?) that he's less of an asset (McDermott also has a salary which can be used in a deal, unlike a pick).
In general I'm with Pau Gasol: go for it, tossing Denver the least valuable of the first-rounders (recent or future) and contract flotsam. That's actually a good haul for the Nuggets, especially considering they gave up less to acquire him just months ago, but the Bulls are reportedly in competition with 4 other teams and have that trump card.