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Knicks’ Hornacek expects Afflalo to opt out of contract

The New York Knicks are still waiting for Arron Afflalo to decide whether or not he will continue playing with them for the 2016-17 NBA season.

In his first season with the Knicks, he averaged 33.4 minutes, 12.8 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 2.0 assists per game while shooting 44.3 percent from the field and 38.2 percent from beyond the three-point line. According to Spotrac, the contract Affalo signed with the Knicks last summer includes an $8 million player option for the upcoming season.

The only thing making him reluctant to stay with the Knicks is that he will be playing off the bench. Marc Berman of the New York Post mentioned that since Affalo was drafted in 2007, getting a chance to start has been his main priority.

In March, the 8-year veteran was moved to the bench, which led to a public disagreement involving head coach Kurt Rambis. Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News noted that Rambis claims he had a conversation with Affalo about his demotion to the bench, but Affalo denies that such a conversation ever took place.

Phil Jackson, Jeff Hornacek

Howard Simmons/New York Daily News

Afflalo gave his opinion on his situation:

“Obviously that would be first choice. I still believe I’m one of the premier two-guards in this league. Part of being an elite two-guard in this league is opportunity. You have to be in a certain environment where you can excel and show what you can do. Hopefully that contributes to winning. I still believe I’m that player. I’ll find the best opportunity for me whether it’s in New York or anywhere else.”

It is unlikely that the franchise will be willing to guarantee him a starting position once again after giving his position to Sasha Vujacic. Ian Begley of ESPN reported Friday that the new Knicks’ coach Jeff Hornacek, expects Affalo to opt out and enter the free-agent market, which is the general expectation.

Although $8 million is a reasonable salary for his experience in the league and his new standing on the team, his desire to start will probably lead him to become a free agent and search for a match to his priorities. If he were to leave and the Knicks were left with another void to fill, the extra cap space will actually be very useful this offseason.

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