In a season where most players have kept opinions in-house or to themselves, regarding playing time, rotations, coaching and all other things surrounding the dismal 2015-2016 campaign of the New York Knicks, Arron Afflalo has finally spoken out.
Afflalo, known for being a consummate pro, has been relegated to the bench in favor of Sasha Vujacic (who has not been in the NBA for the past few seasons), has taken to twitter using an expletive to describe what will ‘not be forgotten’ from this season.
This matters for a few reasons, and none of which are the team’s final record.
Afflalo holds an $8million Player-Option, which, after publicly alluding to their being a riff between he and Coach Rambis, he will likely choose to not exercise.
Afflalo has been moved to the bench and is being treated a reserve, which he claims came out of nowhere and that he had not spoken to Coach Rambis about this move.
I will extinguish this fire here, and say that I highly doubt this is the case. Rambis is a professional and speaking with a veteran about such a move would be atop his list if a change were coming.
The reason I say this, is because Rambis came out and said that they had spoken, and Afflalo changed his story.
If I had to guess, it is one disgruntled veteran sniping at an interim coach, knowing that he was playing for either an option year or a free agent contract and that he had his minutes and production cut by a move to the bench.
Afflalo has always been a very solid, very intelligent pro that helps the guys around him with his defensive-savvy as well as ability to see the court and knock down the occasional jumper.
However, it was not a foregone conclusion that Afflalo would return past this season nor was it a foregone conclusion the Knicks would want him back.
As for Afflalo’s contract, should the Knicks and former-UCLA standout want to go in another direction, they would gladly accept back the $8million he would receive by exercising his Player Option as it would add to their cap flexibility.
It is unfortunate to see this happening in what is another seemingly lost season, as what has happened to Afflalo did seem to come out of nowhere and without reason.
His play had slightly wavered in the preceding weeks, with his shooting becoming increasingly erratic, as he was also dealing with knee and hip ailments.
How much of the downturn in play can be attributed to the injuries we cannot be sure, but Afflalo seems to believe he did not need his minutes shortened and that it was unwarranted for his role to be decreased.
After being the second or third option for most of the season, he has taken this demotion to the bench to heart, despite being a team-first veteran.
One way or another, every one on this roster is just playing out the string and trying to survive the end of the season, because the fact of the matter is that most of these players will not be here next year, again, in what appears to be an annual “Roster Redux” when the Knicks decide to shed 9 of the 12 men they feebly employed during the season, as an attempt at fixing another complete and utter waste of time for every player, fan, and reporter a like.