The Denver Nuggets officially welcomed Arron Afflalo back to Denver today during a press conference at the Pepsi Center.
Joined onstage by Nuggets President Josh Kroenke and Tim Connelly, the team’s General Manager, Afflalo reiterated his opinion that the Nuggets are a team that, while likely overlooked by many in the basketball world, have a real chance at making a championship run:
“I feel like when you have a combination of a coach and players of the same character and caliber, there’s opportunity for something special. If you look at the history of champions, it’s not necessarily the highest level of talent all the time. It’s the guys who know how to play together and have been through things that make them really deep-rooted in their passion to win games. I look forward to playing with those guys.”
While it was exciting to see Afflalo back in Denver, his return wasn’t without a little speculation about the likelihood he would stay in Denver for the long run. Afflalo enters the fifth year of his current contract following the upcoming season, when he will have a player option that allows him to opt-out and test the waters of free agency. In a report by The Denver Post’s Christopher Dempsey, Afflalo admitted that he’s looking forward to the opportunity to test his value on the open market:
“It’s probably something that I always anticipated…I knew my game, I knew my maturity, I knew I would grow as a player. And I wanted to have that option as I got older and I progressed as a player. So hopefully I’ll out-perform my contract and put myself in a better situation. That was my intent from the beginning, even before this year, was to play out the four years and progress as a player.”
Assuming Afflalo continues to develop as a player during the 2014-15 season, it will be up to the Nuggets to decide if they want to open up the coffers to keep Afflalo in Denver or let other teams try to woo him. Only time will tell. Below is video of the full press conference: