Kenneth Faried

And-Ones: Faried, Deng, DeRozan

The growing sense around the Nuggets is that the team wants to see if Michael Malone can mentor Kenneth Faried the way he reached DeMarcus Cousins with the Kings, and it seems highly unlikely that Denver will trade the power forward before the start of the season, writes Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • The Heat want to hold on to Luol Deng and see how well the team can play, sources close to the organization tell Kyler, but if Miami underwhelms, Kyler believes Miami would put Deng on the block.
  • The Raptors are not entertaining trades for DeMar DeRozan, sources close to the team informed Kyler.
  • The additions that the Clippers made this offseason to bolster their bench have made them the NBA’s most improved team heading into the 2015/16 campaign, opines Bradford Doolittle of ESPN.com (Insider subscription required). Doolittle also calls out the Hornets and Mavericks as teams that have made positive strides this Summer, while listing the Nets, Sixers, and Suns as franchises that have taken a step back this offseason.
  • With the NBA’s salary cap expected to increase dramatically next Summer there are a number of pending free agents who stand to benefit from the windfall, Kevin Pelton of ESPN.com (Insider subscription required) writes. Some under-the-radar players who can expect significant pay increases on their next contracts include Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Hornets), Harrison Barnes (Warriors), Langston Galloway (Knicks), and Jordan Clarkson (Lakers), Pelton opines.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Latest On Ty Lawson, Nuggets, Kings

2:22pm: Karl is “enamored” with the notion of trading for Lawson, Kenneth Faried and Wilson Chandler, Berger writes in another piece, presumably in a deal that sends out Cousins. The Nuggets are open to trading Lawson and Chandler, but the Poison Pill Provision attached to Faried’s recently extended contract would make the salary-matching cumbersome for any deal involving him before July, Berger adds.

TUESDAY, 10:45am: Karl would consider trading Rudy Gay for Lawson, a source told Chris Broussard of ESPN in a story that centers on Kings owner Vivek Ranadive’s unwillingness to allow any DeMarcus Cousins trades. That would seemingly throw Karl’s ability to engineer a Gay-Lawson trade through Kings front office chief Vlade Divac into question, though that’s just my speculation.

MONDAY, 5:24pm: The Nuggets and Kings have discussed a deal involving Ty Lawson, but the sides have found little traction, league sources tell Ken Berger of CBSSports.com. Chad Ford of ESPN.com suggested as much in a recent chat. Sacramento has been pursuing Lawson from Denver with the sixth pick at the heart of would-be deals, as Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders wrote in his NBA AM piece earlier today. Kyler nonetheless hears that Denver’s demands for Lawson are too high for the Kings and that Sacramento isn’t on board with giving up the No. 6 choice and future draft picks for Lawson.

Still, the Kings continue to make Nik Stauskas available, Berger reports, while the Nuggets are involved in a potential trade scenario that would send their No. 7 pick to the Knicks, an executive from another team told Berger. The Nuggets would also give up the right to swap first-rounders with the Knicks next year, one that they gained via the Carmelo Anthony trade, in such a deal, Berger adds.

Kings coach George Karl would reportedly love for the team to acquire Lawson, whom he coached with the Nuggets. Still, Denver was asking for multiple first-round picks for him at the deadline, as Grantland’s Zach Lowe reported.

Stauskas, whom Sacramento took eighth overall last year, became available as early as this past January, as Berger reported then. Knicks president Phil Jackson has expressed a willingness to trade back from the No. 4 pick, and speculation has resulted in numerous such scenarios.

Latest On Nuggets, Ty Lawson, Kenneth Faried

Ty Lawson and Kenneth Faried are losing confidence in the Nuggets, and both have let the team know that unless it hires an inspiring name to fill the coaching vacancy or makes a significant trade, they’d rather be dealt away than go through rebuilding, as Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders writes in his NBA AM piece. There was mutual trepidation between Faried and the Nuggets even as the sides signed a four-year, $50MM extension this past fall, Kyler hears.

Lawson and Faried, like many Nuggets players, were vocal in their support of Melvin Hunt after he took over the coaching job on an interim basis from the fired Brian Shaw, with whom Lawson had reportedly clashed. Lawson told Kyler in March that Hunt was “giving everybody confidence” and had all the Nuggets on the same page. Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post wrote around the same time that Faried was particularly ecstatic about Hunt and that he and his teammates would vote unanimously to remove Hunt’s interim tag and formally make him the team’s coach. Kyler writes in his latest piece that major changes to the roster might nonetheless bode well for Hunt’s chances of staying in the job, since Nuggets management sees him as a viable head man for a rebuilding team. Hunt’s chances of keeping the job have improved of late, as Marc Stein of ESPN.com reported last week. Team president Josh Kroenke  said last week that a “period of transition” was on its way and that the club would take an “aggressive” approach to finding the roster it wants.

Some within the Nuggets organization weren’t on board with the Faried extension, as Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN.com reported in November, a few weeks after the deal was signed. Arnovitz added that Nuggets brass consented to the extension in part because of the positive publicity it would generate, in spite of their doubts about Faried’s ability. The Nuggets were nonetheless hesitant to include Faried or Lawson in trades as of January, as Chris Mannix of SI.com wrote then, though people around the league sensed as the trade deadline approached that the Nuggets would part with them for a strong offer, according to Grantland’s Zach Lowe. The Celtics and Nuggets engaged in exploratory Lawson talks, as Lowe reported at the same time.

The Mavs and Lawson have mutual interest, as Kyler reported Monday, though Lawson has two more seasons left on his contract, so the Nuggets have leverage. Kings coach George Karl would love it if Sacramento traded for his old point guard, a person close to Karl told Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck, as Beck wrote in February. Lowe heard at the deadline that Denver wanted multiple first-round picks if it was to relinquish the former 18th overall pick. That was in spite of the tension and frustration between Lawson and the Nuggets organization that Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders reported, as well as GM Tim Connelly‘s call, shortly after the deadline, for Lawson to “grow up.”

Northwest Notes: Nuggets, Wolves, Batum

The centerpieces for the Nuggets appear to be Danilo Gallinari and Jusuf Nurkic, as Mark Kiszla of The Denver Post sees it, and Kiszla finds it reasonable that the team will talk this summer about trading Ty Lawson, Kenneth Faried, or both. In any case, team president Josh Kroenke made it clear to Kiszla and fellow Post scribe Christopher Dempsey that he intends a strong push to find a star.

“There’s a period of transition that’s coming up, and we’re going to be aggressive … as an organization,” Kroenke said. “And continue to be aggressive until we feel we have the roster that truly can compete for something special.”

Kroenke judges by the volume of trade inquiries that he’s received from other teams, which include two calls since the season ended, that the players on Denver’s roster have plenty of value, Dempsey notes. There’s more on the Nuggets amid the latest from the Northwest Division:

  • The Timberwolves are tentatively planning a predraft workout with two-guards Rashad Vaughn from UNLV, J.P. Tokoto from North Carolina and Michael Frazier from Florida next month, reports Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities (Twitter links).
  • The prospect of a Nicolas Batum trade seemed far-fetched last summer, but now it’s a realistic possibility, as The Oregonian’s Joe Freeman writes in a roundtable piece with other Blazers beat writers. Freeman would nonetheless bet on Batum staying in Portland and having a bounceback season in 2015/16, the last on his contract.
  • Thunder GM Sam Presti wants to re-sign Enes Kanter and Kyle Singler, and that has to do with the team’s cap situation as much as the talent and production of the pair of soon-to-be restricted free agents, The Oklahoman’s Darnell Mayberry posits. Let them go, and the Thunder wouldn’t have the cap flexibility to replace them, Mayberry points out.
  • Kroenke pointed to a lack of communication as the most unexpected shortcoming of Brian Shaw‘s tenure as Nuggets coach, as Dempsey writes in a separate piece.

Northwest Notes: Hunt, Neal, Gasol, Tomic

The Trail Blazers have never won a Northwest Division title, but they’re seemingly destined to do so this year, since they’re up nine games in the loss column on the Thunder with less than a month to go in the regular season. The last time Portland won a division title, in 1999, the team was in the Pacific Division. Here’s the latest on the teams looking up at the Blazers in the standings:

  • Nuggets players, and Kenneth Faried in particular, are ecstatic about interim coach Melvin Hunt and would unanimously vote to remove the interim tag from his title, observes Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post. However, owner Stan Kroenke is still dissatisfied with a team far from playoff contention, Dempsey also notes.
  • Timberwolves guard Gary Neal doesn’t regret chasing the money and leaving the Spurs to sign a two-year, $6.5MM deal in 2013 in part because he saw DeJuan Blair go from a starter to signing a minimum-salary contract in short order, as Neal tells Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune. Neal will be a free agent again at season’s end.
  • Kevin Durant has posited that Oklahoma City’s lack of “orchestras and plays” dissuaded Pau Gasol from signing with the Thunder this past summer, but Gasol said this weekend that such cultural attractions weren’t a factor, according to The Oklahoman’s Darnell Mayberry. The Bulls big man instead said it was a matter of on-court fit that led him to choose Chicago, as Mayberry relays.
  • Jazz draft-and-stash prospect Ante Tomic believes the offseason ahead is his last legitimate opportunity to join the NBA, and while he acknowledged that he’s in talks about a new deal with his Spanish team, he won’t rule out a jump to Utah. The 7’2″ center made his remarks to Jesús Pérez Ramos of Mundo Deportivo (translation via HoopsHype). FC Barcelona has a team option on the 28-year-old for next season, but the Jazz are reportedly willing to pay to buy Tomic out of his contract.

Celtics Engage In Exploratory Ty Lawson Talks

The Celtics and Nuggets have had exploratory conversations about a deal involving Ty Lawson, several sources tell Grantland’s Zach Lowe. People around the league sense that a team could pry Lawson or Kenneth Faried from the Nuggets for an especially intriguing offer, Lowe hears. The Nuggets are a hub of activity leading up to Thursday’s 2pm Central trade deadline, and Jusuf Nurkic is the only Nuggets player truly off-limits, several league sources said to Lowe. Still, Denver’s setting high prices, as the Grantland scribe suggests the Nuggets are looking for multiple first-round picks in return for each of Arron Afflalo and Wilson Chandler instead of just one for each, as previous reports indicated. He also hints that the Nuggets have spoken to the Wizards about Chandler and Afflalo, though that point isn’t entirely clear.

Boston would be an odd fit for Lawson, since the Celtics have 2014 No. 6 overall pick Marcus Smart at the point after trading Rajon Rondo, and Lowe writes that Boston won’t relinquish Smart in any deal for Lawson. Still, Lawson is tied for the league lead with a career-high 10.1 assists per game, and his salary of nearly $11.596MM would fit within Boston’s massive trade exception worth more than $12.909MM left over from the Rondo trade, so the Nuggets could offload his salary without taking anyone back. Lawson has two more seasons on his deal, worth $12.404MM in 2015/16 and $13.213MM in 2016/17.

Nuggets coach Brian Shaw has clashed with the point guard at times this season, according to Lowe, who nonetheless downplays the significance of that conflict. Denver appeared to be against the idea of putting Lawson in a deal for Brook Lopez last month, and while another report suggested Denver was willing to trade the 27-year-old, the asking price from GM Tim Connelly and company was a turn-off to would-be suitors.

Raptors Eye David West, Taj Gibson, Faried?

The Raptors are “sniffing around” for an upgrade at power forward, writes Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders, who hears from league sources who mention David West, Taj Gibson and Kenneth Faried, among others, in connection with Toronto. However, the Raptors aren’t willing to part with much in return, though they’d like to part with expiring contracts if it would net a frontcourt upgrade, Kyler adds.

West makes $12MM this year, and Pacers president of basketball operations Larry Bird said this week that while the 34-year-old hadn’t given him any indication of whether he intended to exercise his $12.6MM player option for next season, he anticipated West would return to Indiana. Bird also said the Pacers are in “win-now mode,” which would suggest that he doesn’t have any interest in trading West for expiring deals.

Sean Deveney of The Sporting News on Wednesday loosely connected Gibson to the Raptors, as well as the Suns, Pistons and Blazers, though it’s unclear if Chicago has any willingness to part with the key reserve, even amid a crowded frontcourt for the Bulls this season. The 29-year-old is in year two of a four-year extension that’ll pay him $8MM this season with salaries that escalate to $8.95MM in 2016/17.

The Nuggets don’t want to part with Faried, as Chris Mannix of SI.com wrote last week, seemingly counter to an early-season report indicating that the Nuggets weren’t sold on Faried even after signing him in October to a four-year extension worth at least $50MM. The 25-year-old’s shot attempts and points per game are off this season compared to last year even after a breakout performance with Team USA this summer.

Incumbent Raptors starting power forward Amir Johnson is on an expiring contract that’s worth $7MM to him this season, while Landry Fields, Chuck Hayes, Louis Williams, Tyler Hansbrough and Greg Stiemsma are the other Raptors set for free agency this summer. Kyler suggests that the Raptors would be willing to give up any one of their players on expiring contracts aside from Williams. Toronto has more than $49MM in commitments against a projected $66.5MM salary cap for next season, so any deal that gives up a soon-to-be free agent for a player with guaranteed money for next season would cut into what figures to be fairly significant cap flexibility.

The Raptors are in second place in the Eastern Conference, and though they’ve lost their past two games, they won six in a row at the end of January. Still, the team has mismatched parts and will be in major trouble if GM Masai Ujiri doesn’t make a move, Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun opines (All Twitter links).

Mannix’s Latest: Allen, Lopez, Nuggets, Thunder

People around the league increasingly believe that Ray Allen already knows the team he would like to play for this season, and that he’s simply deciding whether he wants to play at all, Chris Mannix of SI.com writes. Allen has hinted within the past two weeks that he’s coming back to the NBA, but another more recent report indicated that he’s enjoying time with his family. Mannix has a ton of noteworthy items in his latest weekly column, many of them with a Thunder-centric theme, and we’ll hit the highlights here.

  • The Nuggets are still trying to pry Brook Lopez from the Nets with a package centered on JaVale McGee, according to Mannix. Still, Denver doesn’t want to put Ty Lawson, Kenneth Faried, Jusuf Nurkic or Wilson Chandler into any deal, Mannix cautions.
  • The Thunder are willing to go deep into the luxury tax this season to acquire Lopez, the SI.com scribe writes. Oklahoma City is unwilling to give up any of its top present-day talent, nor will the team make a move that damages its future as the Thunder look for trade partners who are “desperate,” an opposing GM tells Mannix.
  • Reggie Jackson turned down an extension offer from Oklahoma City that would have made him the most highly paid backup in the NBA, a source tells Mannix. Just what sort of salary that would have meant is unclear, since Amar’e Stoudemire has made more appearances off the bench than he has starts on a deal that gives him in excess of $23.4MM this season. Some teams believed at the beginning of the season that there was a decent chance that Jackson would command offers of between $13MM and $14MM in restricted free agency this summer, as Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports wrote in October.
  • Several executives from around the NBA believe it’s conceivable that a five-year max deal for Kevin Durant will be worth some $200MM when he hits free agency in 2016, according to Mannix. Durant will be eligible for a max worth about 35% of the salary cap as a 10-year veteran that summer. Those execs also believe that Durant likes playing in Oklahoma City, as he’s said, Mannix writes.
  • Markieff Morris believes he and brother Marcus Morris might have made more money in restricted free agency this summer if they hadn’t signed extensions with the Suns, but Markieff can’t envision ever playing without his twin again, as he tells Mannix.

Northwest Notes: Faried, Pekovic, Nuggets

Kenneth Faried has had a rough start to the season, something that Nuggets coach Brian Shaw chalks up to inconsistent energy and play on the part of the forward, Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post writes. “It’s really hard to say,” Shaw said. “Obviously, he’s disappointed in the way he’s played up to this point. There hasn’t been a level of consistency. One of the things that I try to remind him all the time is what made him, got him to this level, got him paid recently, is the fact that he’s always brought energy and always rebounded the ball. When you look at his stats up to this point, is the energy always there? I wouldn’t say that it consistently has been. But even before that, is he rebounding the ball the way he is known for rebounding the ball? He’s not doing that either. So no matter what happens, you get back to the basics of what got you here. And I think that’s what he has to do.”

Here’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Shaw also relayed that Faried’s four-year, $50MM extension that the player signed back in October may also be a factor in Faried’s struggles, Dempsey adds. “He’s [Faried] been a little bit beat-up and a little bit sore,” Shaw said. “But what comes when you have the kind of summer that he had, and you get paid for that, there’s a certain responsibility and expectation that go along with that, too. And there’s an adjustment period. Now there’s other guys around the league that maybe think that ‘If I was playing maybe he wouldn’t be on the US team’ or ‘If he’s making this much money, let me show him what I’m worth.’ And that’s all part of it, too. Now, you become the hunted instead of the hunter, and you have to adjust for that and brace for that.
  • Wolves center Nikola Pekovic aggravated his injured ankle while running as a part of his rehab and will most likely be out another month, Jerry Zgoda of The Star Tribune reports (Twitter link). Injured point guard Ricky Rubio is also unlikely to make his return to action until January, Zgoda adds.
  • Pekovic’s coach Flip Saunders hinted at the possibility that the big man could see a stint in the NBA D-League prior to returning to action for the Wolves, Andy Greder of The Saint Paul Pioneer Press reports (Twitter link).

Nuggets Rumors: Connelly, Faried, Trades

Nuggets GM Tim Connelly isn’t overreacting to his team’s slow start, as we passed along earlier, but he nonetheless acknowledges that no player’s job is entirely secure, writes Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN.com.

“Every player on our roster is a movable asset,” Connelly said. “Certainly you don’t want to view players as assets, but there’s a part of you in the front office that has to be brutally honest with how these guys are viewed leaguewide. We don’t have a guy on the roster we’d have to heavily incentivize to move.”

Arnovitz paints a bleak picture surrounding the 2-7 Nuggets in his piece, and it’s worth a full read, particularly for Denver fans. We’ll pass along the highlights here:

  • Multiple sources tell Arnovitz that Denver still isn’t sold on Kenneth Faried but signed him to his four-year, $50MM extension last month in part as a PR move, given the power forward’s popularity among fans and his Team USA performance. Some within the Nuggets “take exception” to the deal, Arnovitz hears.
  • The Nuggets leaked the initial terms of the deal, which were five years at $60MM, because they weren’t aware that the Designated Player rule, which any five-year rookie scale extension would trigger, required that the first-year salary be for the maximum amount, according to Arnovitz. The team’s lack of collective bargaining agreement knowledge wasn’t isolated to Faried’s contract, as the Nuggets called another team to propose a trade that wouldn’t have worked under the league’s rules, as a rival executive tells Arnovitz.
  • The ESPN scribe hears from a source who suggests that when owner and team president Josh Kroenke was looking for a new GM in 2013, what appealed most about Connelly was his relative inexperience and willingness to defer to Kroenke.

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