Denton: Nuggets Coach Karl Has High Praise for Afflalo

By John Denton
January 9, 2013

DENVER – Denver Nuggets coach George Karl said that in most cases when a NBA trade goes down, it basically results in getting rid of your problem player and ultimately ending up with a player that the other team couldn’t wait to get rid of.

But, Karl said, that clearly wasn’t the case with Arron Afflalo, a player that he said could greatly help his Nuggets this season. But instead Afflalo is now a member of the Orlando Magic, and Karl will have to try and stop the shooting guard tonight when the Magic (12-22) and Nuggets (20-16) square off at Denver’s Pepsi Center.

Afflalo was shipped from Denver to Orlando over the summer as part of a four-team, 12-player blockbuster trade. The Los Angeles Lakers got Dwight Howard, Chris Duhon and Earl Clark, while the Philadelphia 76ers got Andrew Bynum and Jason Richardson. The Magic acquired Afflalo, Nikola Vucevic and Josh McRoberts, while the Nuggets acquired Andre Iguodala.

``Most trades in the NBA, for lack of a better phrase, you trading (expletive) for (expletive), but that trade was something that we felt we had to make to get better. But it was a sad trade because Al and Arron were major parts of why we have been successful here,’’ Karl said. ``Especially Arron, because he was one of the guys that we rallied around when we made the big trade (involving Carmelo Anthony). And (Afflalo) is just a great pro. And he’s a low maintenance guy and those are rare for 35-minute guys in the NBA.’’

Karl continued saying that Afflalo – who just completed the best nine-game stretch of his career by averaging 22 points a game – is just the type of player that the Nuggets could use right now. But instead he is a part of an Orlando team that was one of the NBA’s biggest surprise squads early in the season, but has been beset by injuries of late and has dropped its last nine games.

``With Arron we’re missing that corner three going in and with Arron that’s a 40 percent shot,’’ Karl said. ``If you are going to be a great 3-point shooting teams you have to shoot better than 40 percent from the corners and Arron has been a top 5 or top 10 corner 3-point shooter for many years.’’

Afflalo said he will treat Wednesday’s return to Denver like any other game. He said his focus is more on helping the Magic get a much-needed victory than it is sticking it to the Nuggets. In fact, Afflalo, who spent three seasons with the Nuggets after starting his career in Detroit, said he don’t hold any ill will toward Denver for trading him to Orlando.

``No, (no hard feelings). I’m more than appreciative of the time that I had here,’’ he said. ``Things happen. The growth that I had here, the ups and downs and the teammates that I played with (are the best memories). I had almost three different teams when I was here. I just remember the overall journey.’’

During the Magic’s nine-game losing streak – their longest since the 2003-04 season – eight of the defeats have been by eight points or less. Orlando has lost twice in overtime – last week at home to Miami and Monday night in Portland. And five of the defeats have been by four points or less.

The Magic’s nine losses have all come without Glen ``Big Baby’’ Davis, who is out with a sprained left shoulder. Davis remained in Orlando to focus on his rehabilitation, but could rejoin the team on the West Coast roadtrip.

Reserve point guard E’Twaun Moore, out the past five games with a sprained left elbow, is still making progress, but won’t play tonight against the Nuggets. Moore worked out Tuesday and Wednesday with a brace on his left arm, but isn’t ready to play yet.

The Magic will have Thursday off, but will practice on Friday in Los Angeles before playing the Clippers on Saturday afternoon. The four-game, nine-day roadtrip concludes Monday night in Washington against the Wizards.

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