WEDNESDAY, 7:12pm: The deal is official, the team has announced. GM Tim Connelly said of Faried, “We value the energy and excitement that Kenneth brings night-in and night-out and we are thrilled to have reached an agreement on a contract extension. We are truly looking forward to watching Kenneth continue to grow as a player and leader for the Denver Nuggets.”
TUESDAY, 6:52pm: The deal contains incentives that could inflate the total value to $52MM over four years, reports Chris Dempsey of the Denver Post (via Twitter).
6:27pm: The deal has been reworked and will be a four-year, $50MM extension, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. The sticking point for the league, as Wojnarowski reported yesterday, was converting the pact from five years to four to comply with the provisions of the Designated Player rule that demand a player receives the maximum salary in the first year of an extension that covers five seasons. (Twitter links).
7:58am: The most likely outcome involves Faried ending up with a four-year, $48MM extension that runs through the 2018/19 season, perhaps with some incentive clauses that could lift the value of the deal, writes Chris Dempsey of The Denver Post.
MONDAY, 9:39am: The Nuggets are talking with the NBA about just how the extension can be structured under the rules, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Wojnarowski indicates that the original intention was to make it a five-year extension, but that it could wind up as a four-year deal. The Yahoo! scribe calls the collective bargaining agreement language that mandates the maximum salary in the first season of an extension for a Designated Player “ambiguous, at best.”
8:34am: The Nuggets and Kenneth Faried struck a deal Sunday night on a five-year, $60MM extension, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. It’s not entirely clear whether Wojnarowski means that the extension will cover five seasons by itself or the four years that follow this coming season. That’s because $60MM almost certainly wouldn’t be enough to cover the provisions of the Designated Player rule that would mandate that Faried receive the maximum salary in the first year of an extension that covers five seasons. In any case, the final season will be partially guaranteed, giving the Nuggets a chance to save $8MM that year in the seemingly unlikely event that they waive the power forward.
The Nuggets jumped into extension discussions with agent Thad Foucher in July, the earliest they could have come to a deal. It appears the conversation was slow-going, but according to Wojnarowski, the sides began to exchange “serious proposals” this week. Faried, who turns 25 next month, no doubt helped his cause with a breakout performance at the FIBA World Cup in late August and early September, when he averaged 12.4 points and 7.8 rebounds in just 21.5 minutes per game for Team USA. I wrote in late July that Faried seemed in line for a four-year, $44MM deal, and a GM told Sean Deveney of The Sporting News that he envisioned annual salaries below $10MM for Faried before the World Cup boosted his estimation into the range of Al Jefferson‘s $13.5MM yearly paydays.
The former No. 22 pick had already begun to change perceptions with his improvement last season. His name appeared in a handful of early-season trade rumors, and the Nuggets, worried that Foucher would seek $10MM+ annual salaries, reportedly brought him up in trade discussions at about this time last year. The “Manimal” convinced the Nuggets he was worth that kind of money, setting a career high with 13.7 PPG in 27.2 MPG in his third NBA season, a rate that extrapolates to 18.1 points per 36 minutes, the best mark of anyone on the team who played at least 1,000 total minutes. He also recorded a team-high 19.8 PER. Still, he’s not a strong defender, as Cray Allred of Hoops Rumors noted in August when he examined Faried as an extension candidate.
Nuggets GM Tim Connelly and Faried both expressed interest over the offseason in a long-term future with each other, so it’s not surprising to see the sides come to terms. Depending on how Faried’s $60MM will be spread, the Nuggets will have about $60MM in total salaries for 2015/16. Still, it’s possible that Denver will have cap room that exceeds the value of the largest mid-level exception next summer, particularly if the cap rises to $70MM, as some teams project.