Arron Afflalo isn’t providing the Denver Nuggets with any bulletin-board fodder.
He’s been asked repeatedly what it’ll be like to face his former team when the Orlando Magic open their regular season tonight at Amway Center.
But Afflalo, who was sent by the Nuggets to the Magic in the Dwight Howard trade, is taking a low-key stance.
“Under any other circumstance, if this was a little deeper into the season, it may be more of a personal emphasis,” he said. “But it’s our home opener. To me, it’s all about getting a ‘W.’ ”
Denver traded Afflalo, Al Harrington, a 2013 second-round draft pick and a 2014 first-round draft pick to Orlando. Meanwhile, Denver received All-Star Andre Iguodala from the Philadelphia 76ers.
Afflalo is an especially competitive, driven person, and it would be naïve to think he didn’t circle the date against the Nuggets on his calendar.
Still, one reason Magic officials targeted him in the Howard trade was because he’s a team player who rarely draws attention to himself.
This week, he even said the Nuggets made a good trade by acquiring Iguodala.
Afflalo made significant strides during his three seasons in Denver, going from averaging 8.8 points per game in 2009-10 to 15.2 points per game last season.
“I miss him,” Denver coach George Karl said after the Nuggets practiced Thursday at Amway Center. “He’s a great pro. He’s a great person off the court. He’s very coachable, very easy to hang around [with] and talk [with]. When you’re losing, he accepts criticism at a high level. He’s highly motivated. He’s going to be in the league for 10 years.
“Probably he has a desire to score points, a little bit more, than we allowed him probably in his time in Denver. So I’m happy that he’s gone to a place that might give him an opportunity that he’s searching for. I’m disappointed he’s not in Denver, and hopefully he has a great season except for two games.”
Josh Robbins covers the Orlando Magic and the NBA for the Orlando Sentinel. You can reach him via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and connect with him on Facebook at facebook.com/JoshuaBRobbins. Follow him on Twitter at @JoshuaBRobbins.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun