A weird sort of swirl surrounds Magic shooting guard Arron Afflalo.
He's playing so well you can make a case that he should be in the All-Star Game. He's playing so well you can make a case that he should be traded.
Odd scenario, no?
But these are odd times in Orlando as the Magic straddle the future and the present while celebrating their past.
No player seems caught up in this dynamic more than Afflalo.
Certain players are affected during a rebuilding. They are usually the veterans with longer, more sizable contracts. Jameer Nelson and Glen Davis are obviously on the list with Afflalo.
"The trade potential for me is there because of this situation," Afflalo said before Sunday's practice.
The situation is this: Afflalo is one of the veterans who can help the Magic win games, thereby weakening their positioning for a potentially stellar 2014 draft.
Isn't it strange that Afflalo could help the Magic more by leaving than by staying? Again, if you haven't heard, it's the situation.
If the Magic can move Nelson and/or Davis to also increase their flexibility over the next two summers to sign free agents, general manager Rob Hennigan needs to do it. That's an easy call.
But making deals isn't easy. Nelson and Davis have their warts, which is why Afflalo looms as the Magic's top veteran asset.
Arron's trade value likely will never be higher than it is right now.
At 28, he's playing some of the best basketball of his seven-year career. He ranks among the NBA's top 15 scorers, averaging 21.4 points per game. And he's a class act.
Afflalo isn't making a lot by NBA standards — $7.5 million this season — but his salary is a factor for a team retooling with younger, cheaper players.
And in Afflalo's case, he's on the books for another two seasons after this one — $7.5 million in 2014-15 and $7.7 in 2015-16.
If the Magic were over the hump in their rebuilding, they might consider Afflalo a keeper. He's a solid guy and one of the best bang-for-your-buck values in the league.
But the Magic are still in the early stages of remodeling their franchise. They also could have found Afflalo's heir apparent: Rookie Victor Oladipo is a natural shooting guard but is at the center of a grand point-guard experiment.
Hennigan could ask for young players like he did in the J.J. Redick transaction, or a decent first-round pick for Afflalo. Just as in J.J.'s case, it doesn't seem like enough at the moment.
Afflalo was jolted this summer when he was linked to trade rumors. He then promised himself that tuning out such noise would be part of his offseason routine.
Ignoring the Internet as well as scuttlebutt relayed by friends and family is nearly impossible. ESPN recently mentioned Arron's name in a trade story.
"I don't go on basketball sites anymore," he said. "I just check boxscores."
His strategy doesn't allow him to hear good news, either. There are folks hopping on the Arron Afflalo For All-Star Game Campaign.
Truth is, with the injury bug biting Derrick Rose, Rajon Rondo and Deron Williams, Afflalo should have a legitimate shot to be added by the coaches to the All-Star "backcourt" category if he stays hot.
Then again, as he says, "A lot of that comes down to your team winning." Orlando isn't an All-Star springboard. Afflalo swears he isn't concerned with reaching the game for the first time.
He did say this: "I do feel like there's one more level I can get to to put me in the category of an elite player."
So maybe we haven't seen the best of Arron Afflalo. The question is: How long will we see him in a Magic uniform?Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun