The Nuggets asked a handful of teams six months ago whether they’d be interested in acquiring Kenneth Faried in exchange for a 2014 first-rounder or an attractive wing player on a rookie contract, sources tell Grantland’s Zach Lowe. Faried has improved measurably this season, as Lowe details, and while the power forward tells Lowe that he and the Nuggets haven’t talked about an extension, which he’d be eligible to sign this summer, Faried adds that he’d like to stay in Denver.
Lowe’s report adds credence to early-season rumors about a trade involving Faried and Iman Shumpert of the Knicks. Part of the reason the Nuggets made those calls was out of fear that Faried and agent Thad Foucher would seek and find an offer with eight-figure salaries when the former 22nd overall pick hits restricted free agency in 2015, Lowe writes. It’s unclear how much the Nuggets value Faried now, but Nuggets GM Tim Connelly spoke highly of Faried recently, and coach Brian Shaw referred to Faried and Ty Lawson as the team’s cornerstones. Lawson is in the midst of a four-year, $48MM extension he signed when Masai Ujiri was still Denver’s GM.
Faried’s name was in rumors off and on before the deadline, and he said after the deadline passed that the chatter gave him confidence that other NBA teams think of him as a commodity. Executives around the league view him differently than they did before the season, according to Lowe, but his defense continues to be a weak spot. Still, the 24-year-old has become an efficient post-up player and remains a threat on the offensive glass, so the negotiations that he and Foucher have with the Nuggets figure to be among the most intriguing of the offseason.