The benching of Arron Afflalo -- a non-story if ever there was one -- has devolved into "he said/he said" sniping through the media and cryptic Instagram posts ... you know, your normal run-of-the-mill 21st-century stuff.
Following Monday's loss to the Pelicans, Afflalo made it clear that head coach Kurt Rambis never discussed it the demotion with him:
Strange situation regarding Afflalo's move to the bench. Rambis says he spoke to him about new role; Afflalo says no conversation took place— Stefan Bondy (@SBondyNYDN) March 29, 2016
Then Afflalo took to Instagram as part of his PR tour:
Two years of just control what you can control right ? .... While making years of growth appear as if it has just stopped ... Yea ok .... 10th year coming up and this time around that shit won't be forgotten .... #godfirst #anythingformydaughter #basketballtaughtmelife #ilovemyfamily #unimaginablegivebackcomingtomycity
Keep in mind, Afflalo has been coming off the bench for eight games now. The timing is rather odd, to say the least. Is he even talking about the Knicks, or his NBA career? Maybe?
So will Rambis back down? You better believe he won't. Per Stefan Bondy:
"No, there's no thought to putting him back in (the starting lineup)," Rambis said. "It's something he's going to have to adjust to and figure out. He's going to have to provide for us what we know he can provide.
"We like the energy Sasha brings. We need some more speed in that starting group, somebody who can run the floor, push the basketball and play at a higher level of activity."
To his credit, Afflalo went on to take the high road with the media:
"It's different but all I can do is go out there and do my best. With seven games to go I'll be assessing what's best for me as a player," he said. "But right now I have to do what the team asks me and play the minutes and role that they ask me to do. And hopefully have more good games than bad."
And what does Phil Jackson have to say?
As with everything else in life, the Phil/Kurt/Arron relationship can best be explained with a Simpsons clip:
In this scenario, Phil is the doctor, Rambis is Homer, and Afflalo is Ned Flanders. And there you have it.
Afflalo keeps talking:
Afflalo, on his reported talk w Rambis: "There was no breakdown in communication. We never had a conversation [about me moving to bench]."— Chris Herring (@HerringWSJ) March 30, 2016
Afflalo: "People can have their opinion of what they feel you bring to a team. That's their opinion. I have my opinion."— Chris Herring (@HerringWSJ) March 30, 2016