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Kenneth Faried

Northwest Notes: McGary, Quarterman, Faried

A guaranteed contract may not be enough to keep Mitch McGary on the Thunder roster, writes Brett Dawson of The Oklahoman. McGary will get a little more than $1.5MM this season whether he plays or not, and a lingering foot injury combined with two violations of the NBA drug policy could seal his fate. McGary wasn’t used at all in Oklahoma City’s six preseason games. The first four were because of the foot problem, but he was a healthy scratch for the final two. “If the opportunity doesn’t present itself [to play], that’s totally on me,” McGary said. “Just means I got to work a little bit harder to get where I want to go. Wherever that is — it may be here; I hope so — I just want to play. That’s it.”

McGary was a first-round pick in 2014, but has spent his career going back and forth to the D-League. He appeared in 20 games for Oklahoma City last season, averaging 1.3 points and 0.9 rebounds in limited playing time. The Thunder still have 19 players on their roster and must cut down to 15 by Monday afternoon.

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • After going undrafted out of LSU, Tim Quarterman has earned a spot on the Trail Blazers’ roster, writes Casey Holdahl of Quarterman signed with Portland in late July, which gave him plenty of time to impress Blazers management and coach Terry Stotts. Quarterman only saw 16 minutes of playing time during the preseason, but was able to beat out Grant Jerrett, Greg Stiemsma and Luis Montero for the final roster spot. “I just try to come in and work every day, push myself, go against the vets on the team and stuff like that every day and try to get better,” Quarterman said. “I never approached it as like I was the frontrunner or anything like that, I always approached it like I was the last guy trying to make it to the front.”
  • The Nuggets‘ best lineup includes big men Nikola Jokic and Jusuf Nurkic, contends Mark Kiszla of The Denver Post, which means Kenneth Faried will have to get used to being a backup. Faried, who has been mentioned in trade talks in the past, has started 331 of the 348 games he has played since arriving in Denver five years ago. Coach Michael Malone said he plans to talk to Faried about the situation, emphasizing that the same combinations won’t be used every game. “We’re a deep team, and I don’t think you can get caught up in who’s starting, because we’re going to play a lot of guys,” Malone said. “We’re going to finish small some nights, we may finish big some nights.”
  • Injuries will force the Jazz to rely on offseason acquisitions even more than they expected, writes Jody Genessy of The Deseret News. With Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors and Alec Burks all hurting, that means increased responsibility for George Hill, Joe Johnson and Boris Diaw.

Kyler’s Latest: Expansion, Faried, Suns, Vucevic

In his latest piece for Basketball Insiders, Steve Kyler addresses a few rumors and reports that have popped up around the NBA recently, providing some perspective and some additional information. Let’s dive in and round up the highlights…

  • While a recent report from Kevin Nesgoda of suggested that the NBA may be considering the possibility of expansion, Kyler was told by an NBA owner that the idea of expansion has been a “non-starter” at Board of Governors meetings. As Kyler writes, there are certain non-NBA markets with interest in bringing in a team, and some sources may view expansion as inevitable down the road, but it’s not in the short-term plans for the league’s Board of Governors.
  • With Kenneth Faried at risk of losing his starting job, league sources tell Kyler that the big man may not be thrilled with a move to the bench, which could prompt the Nuggets to ramp up efforts to trade him this season. The Nuggets will be a team to watch when most offseason signees around the NBA become trade-eligible on December 15, particularly if they get off to a slow start.
  • There’s a “growing belief” that Brandon Knight would draw a bigger trade return for the Suns than Eric Bledsoe, given Bledsoe’s injury history, writes Kyler. ESPN’s Zach Lowe recently indicated that Knight would be a more likely trade candidate than Bledsoe for the club. Still, sources tell Kyler that the Suns like the “vibe” and culture in Phoenix right now, and are in no rush to clear their backcourt logjam.
  • Magic sources continue to “flatly deny” having any interest in trading Nikola Vucevic. However, Kyler wonders if that stance may become a little more flexible if Orlando’s other bigs are playing well, and the right swingman is available in a potential deal.

Northeast Notes: Harkless, Nurkic, Jokic, Sabonis

Maurice Harkless has played well enough this preseason to claim the Trail Blazers‘ starting small forward slot, contends Joe Freeman of The Oregonian. The 23-year-old Harkless re-signed with Portland this summer for four years at $40MM, but faces competition for the starter’s job from the re-signed Allen Crabbe and free agent addition Evan Turner. Coach Terry Stotts hasn’t named a starter yet, but Freeman believes Harkless’ defensive abilities and his chemistry with the other starters makes him the best choice. “Moe … just makes us versatile,” said Damian Lillard. “Being able to rebound the ball and push it, knock down threes, he can guard a bunch of positions, he changes the game in a different way.”

There’s more tonight out of the Northwest Division:

  • While the rest of the league is getting smaller, the Nuggets may start two 7-footers on opening night, writes Christopher Dempsey of The Denver PostJusuf Nurkic appears to have played well enough in preseason to earn the starting center job, with Nikola Jokic sliding over to power forward and Kenneth Faried moving to the bench. “It definitely is a herd mentality type of league,” said coach Michael Malone. “We’ve started two bigs together in (three) of our preseason games. We think that they can play well together because they are so skilled.”
  • The Jazz may need time to adjust to roster changes and the return of Dante Exum from injury, warns Dustin Jensen of The Deseret News. Utah traded for George Hill and Boris Diaw, signed free agent Joe Johnson and welcomed back Dante Exum after a year away with a torn ACL. Add in the emergence of second-year forward Trey Lyles and the Jazz may need time to develop chemistry.
  • Foul trouble is hampering rookie Domantas Sabonis as he bids for a starting job with the Thunder, writes Brett Dawson of The Oklahoman. Sabonis has started every preseason game for Oklahoma City, but is averaging 3.3 personal fouls per night. Coach Billy Donovan is confident that Sabonis will learn to adjust. “When you’re a guard, you’re pretty much guarding the ball,” Donovan said. “But when you’re behind the (perimeter) defense and the floor starts moving and guys start shifting, you got to be able to pick up those movements and figure out what’s getting ready to happen.”

Western Rumors: Thunder, Young, Booker, Nuggets

Rookie Domantas Sabonis appears to be the early leader for the Thunder’s starting power forward position over veteran Ersan Ilyasova, Erik Horne of The Oklahoman reports. Sabonis passed and shot the ball well in the Thunder’s preseason games in Spain last week, Horne continues. He’s also shown unusual maturity for his age, Horne adds. “In terms of defensively where he’s supposed to be, remembering plays, doing his job, being in the right spots, the right positions, (being) a competitive guy, he’s reliable,” coach Billy Donovan told Horne. “Really reliable.”

In other news around the Western Conference:

  • Lakers swingman Nick Young appreciates the way new coach Luke Walton has delivered his message of getting Young to improve defensively, Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News writes. Young often bristled at the way former coach Byron Scott criticized him publicly, Medina notes, but Walton has tried a more positive approach. “You have a coach that is telling you to shoot the ball and has confidence in you,” Young told Medina. “All he wants you to do is play defense and do whatever you want on offense. That gives yourself a lot of confidence.”
  • Suns coach Earl Watson believes shooting guard Devin Booker is a star in the making, Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic relays. Booker lit up the Trail Blazers for 34 points in three quarters this preseason and Watson marvels at his scoring ability, Coro continues. “He scored every way possible, so you like everything that he did,” Watson told Coro. “You can tell 19 years of age and his maturity and patience in the half-court and the way he can score is very unique. I’m not sure there’s a lot of people his age or a lot of people in the NBA who can do that.”
  • Jusuf Nurkic has been so impressive this preseason that he is practically forcing Nuggets coach Michael Malone to name him the opening-night starter at center, according to Christopher Dempsey of the Denver Post. Nurkic has played with determination in the preseason, Dempsey notes, while averaging 18.0 points and 13.3 rebounds. If Nurkic continues to play this way, Malone’s biggest decision will be to choose between Nikola Jokic and Kenneth Faried as the starting power forward, Dempsey adds.

Nuggets Continue To Dangle Kenneth Faried

Kenneth Faried has been dangled in trade talks by the Nuggets “off and on for three years,” Zach Lowe writes in his annual League Pass rankings piece for According to Lowe, the Nuggets continue to dangle Faried even now.

The news that Faried remains on the trade block in Denver doesn’t come as a real surprise. A report in June suggested the veteran power forward wouldn’t be opposed to being moved, and Lowe himself reported in July that the Nuggets had been readying a package that included Faried when it appeared the Hawks might be leaning toward Paul Millsap. In August, we heard that the Thunder and Pelicans were among the teams to have expressed interest in the Nuggets big man.

Faried, who turns 27 next month, has been steady and productive for the Nuggets for the last several years, averaging between 11.5 and 13.7 PPG, and between 8.6 and 9.2 RPG in each of his last four seasons. His relative youth and his team-friendly contract also make him an interesting trade chip — Faried is under contract for three more years, and will make about $38.76MM during that stretch. If he were a free agent, he’d easily surpass that figure.

The Nuggets also have a few other options at power forward, including Darrell Arthur, plus Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari, who can also play the three. According to Lowe, Denver’s front office “feels some regret” for turning down trade offers for Gallinari last year. The Italian forward is coming off a career year, but he’s also eligible for free agency in 2017, which limits his trade value.

While the Nuggets aren’t likely to make a major splash before the season, the team will certainly be one to watch in the months leading up to the deadline. If Denver isn’t in playoff contention, the club may decide it makes sense to move veterans like Faried and Gallinari in order to clear the way for younger prospects to play more.

Northwest Notes: Faried, Abrines, Lucas, Butler

Kenneth Faried has the inside track to remain the Nuggets’ starting power forward when the season starts, according to Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post. Coach Michael Malone wanted to have a competition at that spot, but no one appears to be a serious threat to Faried. Darrell Arthur is still recovering from offseason knee surgery and will be phased in slowly. Denver sometimes uses Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler at power forward, but usually just in short bursts to speed up the game. It’s possible that Malone will decide to start Jusuf Nurkic at center and slide Nikola Jokic over to the four spot, but Dempsey believes the most likely outcome is Faried starting on opening night.

There’s more news from the Northwest Division:

  • The Nuggets may get their own D-League team again, possibly by next season, Dempsey writes in a separate story. Denver last had a direct affiliate in 2009 with the Colorado 14ers, who moved to Texas and hooked up with the Dallas Mavericks.
  • Alex Abrines waited to make the leap to the Thunder until he saw an opportunity for playing time, writes Brett Dawson of The Oklahoman. That chance came when Kevin Durant left Oklahoma City for Golden State and created a huge opening on the wing. OKC has owned Abrines’ rights since 2013, when it took him 32nd in the draft. The 23-year-old shooting guard has been playing in Spain ever since, but now he believes there’s a chance to make an impact with the Thunder. “Once KD left, I think there was a spot at the three position,” Abrines said. “Also I can play the two. I thought I had a chance to come here and grab some minutes. I don’t want to be here and just practice.”
  • Two veterans fighting for spots on the Timberwolves‘ roster, John Lucas III and Rasual Butler, know what to expect from coach Tom Thibodeau because they’ve played for him before, notes Kent Youngblood of The Star Tribune. Both players are 37 and have non-guaranteed contracts, but they came into camp with a decent shot to make the team. Minnesota has 17 players in camp, including Nikola Pekovic, who will be kept on the roster but won’t play this season because of injuries. Butler played for Thibodeau in Chicago briefly in 2010/11, and Lucas and Thibodeau teamed up with both the Rockets and Bulls.

Western Notes: Thompson, Tarczewski, Faried

Klay Thompson, whose shot attempts are likely to decrease now that Kevin Durant is a member of the Warriors, disagrees with the notion that Golden State’s players will need sacrifice their individual games for the team to be successful, Shams Charania of The Vertical writes. “I feel kind of disrespected that people keep using the term sacrifice to describe me and describe us,” Thompson told Charania. “We all want to see each other do well. But I’m not sacrificing [expletive], because my game isn’t changing. I’m still going to try to get buckets, hit shots, come off screens. I want to win and have a fun time every game we play.”

Thompson also relishes that the Warriors will be viewed as villains by opposing fans, Charania adds. “The NBA season can get mundane; 82 games are so long and there can be some boredom,” Thompson said. “Now, we can embrace being the hated team and getting everyone’s best, and adding some tension every night. It’ll be a fun experience going into arenas on the road, with opposing fans hating what we’ve built.

Here’s more from out West:

  • Undrafted free agent center Kaleb Tarczewski has been invited to attend training camp with the Thunder with an eye on him joining their D-League affiliate, international journalist David Pick relays (on Twitter).
  • The Timberwolves have hired Noah Croom as their new assistant GM, Chris Haynes of The Northeast Ohio Media Group reports (via Twitter). Croom previously served as the Grizzlies assistant GM when the franchise was still located in Vancouver.
  • The Nuggets are still open to trading power forward Kenneth Faried, with the Thunder and Pelicans among the teams that have expressed interest, Sam Amico of Amico Hoops relays.

Eastern Rumors: Hawks, Millsap, Wade, Jennings

In an interesting piece on the Hawks, Zach Lowe of explains that Atlanta’s original offseason plan was to re-sign Al Horford to pair him with Dwight Howard, and to move Paul Millsap in exchange for young players and/or draft assets. That plan ultimately fell apart, but before it did, the Hawks spoke to the Nuggets, Suns, Raptors, and Rockets about a Millsap deal, according to Lowe, who adds that Denver had been ready to move a “players-and-picks package” led by Kenneth Faried.

Before the Hawks could move Millsap though, the team needed to be sure it could re-sign Horford, and when the longtime Hawk chose the Celtics instead, Atlanta decided to hang onto Millsap. Per Lowe, there was some debate about how much the Hawks offered and how much Horford demanded, but the gap between the two sides may have only been about $5MM in total.

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Hornets general manager Rich Cho confirmed that his team, which officially acquired Marco Belinelli in a trade today, tried to sign the Italian sharpshooter in free agency a year ago (Twitter link via Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer).
  • During Dwyane Wade‘s free agency saga, Heat president Pat Riley never called Wade directly, per Ethan Skolnick of The Miami Herald (Twitter link). As Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel notes (via Twitter), Riley and Wade had a meeting after last season ended, but it was owner Micky Arison who was in touch with the former Finals MVP during this past week’s negotiations.
  • According to Marc Berman of The New York Post, Brandon Jennings was seeking a one-year contract from the Knicks in the hopes of proving himself and boosting his stock for 2017’s free agent period. New York, which wanted to maintain cap room for ’17, was happy to oblige.
  • Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders spoke to Courtney Lee about the veteran shooting guard’s decision to sign with the Knicks, and being recruited by Joakim Noah.

Deveney’s Latest: Faried, Wolves, Magic, Suns

While the Sixers, Celtics, and a few other clubs have been the subject of more trade rumors in recent weeks, the Nuggets may actually be the team most likely to pull off a draft-day deal, sources tell Sean Deveney of The Sporting News. As we noted earlier this week, Denver is one of four teams holding three first-round picks, and is the only one of those clubs without a D-League affiliate, which will make it tricky for the Nuggets to use all their selections and carry all those players on their roster.

In addition to holding three top-20 picks, the Nuggets also have Kenneth Faried, who hasn’t demanded a trade, but wouldn’t mind being moved, since he doesn’t feel like he’s a part of Denver’s long-term plans, according to Deveney. The Sporting News scribe adds that the Nuggets have received offers for Danilo Gallinari as well, but would prefer to move Faried.

Here’s more from Deveney, including info on a potential suitor for Faried:

  • The Timberwolves have spoken to the Nuggets and have some interest in trading for Faried, Deveney writes. New head coach Tom Thibodeau observed Faried first-hand when they were both part of Team USA at the 2014 World Cup, and apparently liked what he saw.
  • The Magic will have interest in a handful of former Florida Gators in free agency this summer, including Al Horford, Joakim Noah, and Chandler Parsons, according to Deveney. With Orlando hoping to make a splash in free agency, Deveney also points out that the team could take a risk on a young project like Skal Labissiere in the draft, with the expectation that they’ll land veteran help a couple weeks later.
  • The Suns have interest in Kris Dunn at No. 4, and Eric Bledsoe would become very available in trade talks if the team were to select Dunn with that pick. However, Bledsoe’s knee issues could diminish his value, as one GM tells Deveney: “It’s definitely a case of selling low if they trade him now. Those knees are serious red flags and you figure it is only a matter of time before (his left meniscus) will be removed.” Bledsoe previously had his right meniscus removed, and has had his left meniscus repaired.
  • Spanish forward Juan Hernangomez is projected to come off the board in the 20-30 range in Thursday night’s draft, and Deveney says the Raptors, who hold the No. 27 pick, are particularly interested. Hernangomez seems willing to remain overseas as a draft-and-stash project, but has also said he’d love to come to the NBA immediately.

Northwest Notes: Stotts, Faried, Adams

The Trail Blazers successfully transformed their identity after the departure of LaMarcus Aldridge to the Spurs in free agency last summer, with the franchise focusing on adding players who would complement Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, Ian Thomsen of writes. “Free agency was like the draft for us — we were looking for the best players available, high talent, character, chemistry,” GM Neil Olshey said. “We were going to acquire players that were going to be with us long-term that we can grow and develop in our system, no different than if we had drafted them. It speaks to the confidence we have in [coach] Terry [Stotts] and our staff, that we can take guys that were not finished products and know that if we got the evaluation right, that this coaching staff would help them attain and reach that ceiling.

Here’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Stotts squeezed every bit of production he could out of his roster this season and has built Portland into a solid offensive team, Thomsen writes in the same piece. “Terry is really good,” Olshey said. “This is our fourth year, and there are very few team players who have been through here who haven’t maximized their abilities, especially on the offensive end. He has found a way to make it work.” Small forward Al-Farouq Aminu credits Stotts’ confidence in him with the improvement in his outside shooting, Thomsen notes. “I’ve been in places where they told me from Day One not to shoot one jump shot. They said, ‘We don’t want you to shoot,”’ Aminu said. “That definitely wasn’t the coaching here. It allowed me to grow.
  • Given his poor fit in the Nuggets offense and the team’s ample frontcourt depth, Denver would be wise to explore the trade market for power forward Kenneth Faried, Ben Dowsett of Basketball Insiders writes. Though Faried’s $12,078,652 salary for 2016/17 is likely to end up below market value after the salary cap increases this summer, the situation could become problematic if Faried is forced into a reserve role, Dowsett notes.
  • Thunder center Steven Adams‘ improved defense and ability to assist in guarding players on the perimeter have made a huge difference in how the team has performed this postseason, Jenni Carlson of The Oklahoman observes. Adams becomes extension-eligible this summer heading into the final season of his rookie scale contract.

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