Kenneth Faried

And-Ones: Faried, Okafor, Crawford, D-League

Nuggets power forward Kenneth Faried can expect a light workload for the rest of the season, writes Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post. Faried was held out of tonight’s game with the Hawks because of soreness in his back, and coach Mike Malone suggested that he might face some more DNPs. “Sometimes I feel that I may have to protect him from himself,” Malone said. “I think he wants to be out there, but, you know what? We have 14 games to go, we know what Kenneth is about, we know the high level he’s capable of playing at.” Malone said one benefit of Faried’s absence will be more playing time to evaluate big men Joffrey Lauvergne, Jusuf Nurkic and Nikola Jokic. Faried has three years and more than $38.764MM left on the extension he signed in 2014.

There’s more news tonight from the basketball world:

  • The delay in Jahlil Okafor‘s knee surgery is no cause for concern, Sixers coach Brett Brown tells Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Okafor is waiting to undergo arthroscopic surgery to fix a torn meniscus in his right knee. The operation was originally scheduled for Wednesday, and then today, but it hasn’t been performed yet. “There’s no sort of conspiracy theories going on,” Brown said. “It’s more just trying to get a collaborative effort. It happened with Joel [Embiid] and, I think, with Nerlens [Noel].”
  • The effort to get an NBA team back in Seattle received support from Clippers shooting guard Jamal Crawford, who wrote a piece promoting the idea for Sports Illustrated’s The Cauldron.
  • The Thunder recalled forward Mitch McGary from their Oklahoma City Blue affiliate in the D-League, the organization announced via press release. McGary is averaging 15.1 points and 9.2 rebounds in 21 games with the OKC Blue.
  • The Spurs assigned forward Jonathon Simmons to their D-League team in Austin. This is his second D-League trip of the season. Simmons has appeared in 48 games with San Antonio, averaging 5.6 points and 1.7 rebounds per night.

Pacific Notes: Griffin, Schlenk, Nance

Clippers president of basketball operations Doc Rivers told ESPN’s Chris Broussard that there isn’t truth to the idea that his team offered Blake Griffin and Lance Stephenson to the Nuggets for Danilo Gallinari, Kenneth Faried, Will Barton and Nikola Jokic, as a source who spoke with the reporter had said earlier. Broussard relayed the exchange in an appearance on ESPN Radio’s “Mike & Mike” show (audio link; scroll to 6-minute mark), adding that the source had told him the Nuggets turned down the offer out of concern that Griffin would opt out and leave in free agency after next season. That jibes with an earlier report from Mitch Lawrence of Forbes, who indicated 10 days ago that the Clippers had engaged the Nuggets in talks about Griffin, though Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times reported shortly thereafter that the Clippers had no interest in trading their star power forward, a refrain that Rivers repeated in the days that followed. See more from the Pacific Division:

Raptors Highly Interested In Ryan Anderson

The Raptors have high interest in Ryan Anderson as the trade deadline approaches, reports Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press (Twitter link). Toronto joins a handful of teams apparently eyeing the soon-to-be free agent for a trade, as well as the Pistons, who’ve reportedly been looking at him but only as a potential offseason signee. The Raptors are seeking power forwards, with Thaddeus Young, Kenneth Faried and Markieff Morris among the names on their radar, according to multiple reports. Toronto has engaged in exploratory discussions about those three as well as P.J. Tucker, another object of their interest, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.com, though it’s not entirely clear whether those are internal or external talks.

Anderson is making $8.5MM this season, and the Raptors, who are over the cap and without a trade exception, would have to match for that salary to trade for him, a complicated task given the construction of Toronto’s roster, as Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca has pointed out. Toronto has an extra pick in each of the next two drafts to offer, and GM Masai Ujiri has signaled an intent to eventually trade at least one of those, but any deal would have to involve more than just draft assets going to New Orleans.

Conflicting reports have emerged about the likelihood of an Anderson trade this season, though more of them indicate that he’s not the likeliest trade candidate on the New Orleans roster than the other way around. New Orleans reportedly made Anderson available earlier this season, but the team wasn’t anxious to trade him, as Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders reported, adding Wednesday that the Wizards have asked about him. The Rockets “kicked the tires” on Anderson earlier this season, Kyler also reported. New Orleans apparently had talks with the Suns that involved Anderson, while differing reports paint an unclear picture of whether the Pelicans turned down an offer from the Kings of Rudy Gay for Anderson.

The subject of the Raptors and power forwards was the topic for our Community Shootaround on Wednesday.

Raptors Eye Thaddeus Young, Kenneth Faried?

The Raptors are looking for power forwards, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com, who’s heard the team attached to Thaddeus Young, Kenneth Faried and Markieff Morris, as Windhorst said on TSN 1050 radio in Toronto (audio link; scroll to 6:30 mark) and as Devin Kharpertian of The Brooklyn Game transcribes. Fellow ESPN scribe Marc Stein identified Toronto’s interest in Morris earlier this month, as we detailed at the time. The salary structure of the Raptors would make it tough for the team to deal anyone from its existing roster, as Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca pointed out, but the team has an extra first-round pick for each of the next two drafts, and GM Masai Ujiri has signaled that he wants to trade at least one of those picks at some point, if not before next week’s trade deadline. Still, Toronto doesn’t have the cap room or trade exception to absorb either Young, Faried or Morris without relinquishing salary.

Young seems as though he’d be tough to wrangle from Brooklyn. Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov wants to keep Young and Brook Lopez, believing the team can surround them with free agents in the summer and quickly return to contention, according to Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck (Twitter links). Nets CEO Brett Yormark recently mentioned Young as one of the team’s building blocks. The ninth-year veteran who re-signed with the Nets this past summer on a four-year, $50MM deal is averaging a career-best 9.1 rebounds per game.

Faried isn’t on the trade block, either, as Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post recently wrote, nonetheless adding that he wouldn’t be surprised if the Nuggets moved him for an overwhelming offer. Faried and the Nuggets appeared to share mutual doubts about each other as of this past spring, with the power forward reportedly a significant contributor to the downfall of former coach Brian Shaw, but such chatter has largely disappeared this season under new coach Michael Malone. Faried’s contributions have been steady so far this year, and his 55.3% field goal percentage is his best since he shot 58.6% as a rookie. He’s in the first year of a four-year, $50MM extension.

Nuggets Rumors: Hickson, Barton, Lauvergne

J.J. Hickson has handled trade rumors and reduced playing time in the best possible way, writes Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post. The Nuggets have been shopping the 27-year-old center/forward, who has been with the team since signing as a free agent in 2013. Hickson, who has fallen out of the rotation, is making nearly $5.614MM this season in the final year of an expiring contract. Coach Michael Malone has acknowledged the difficult situation that Hickson is in and complimented him for approaching it professionally and keeping himself ready to play.

Dempsey lists several other Nuggets who are attracting interest as the February 18th trade deadline nears:

  • Denver is getting numerous inquiries about Will Barton but doesn’t seem interested in making a deal. The 25-year-old shooting guard has taken a step forward this season, averaging 15.5 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game. Dempsey says the Nuggets know they have a “gem” in Barton, who is signed through the 2017/18 season.
  • The Nuggets began getting calls on second-year center Joffrey Lauvergne before the season started. Denver turned down those offers, and Dempsey believes the team will keep Lauvergne, in spite of a report that the Nuggets are seeking a late first-round pick for him. The Post scribe acknowledges that it’s not a certainty the Nuggets will hang on to the big man, but Malone has stated more than once that he considers Lauvergne part of the future, Dempsey notes. Lauvergne, who was the 55th pick in 2013, is also signed through 2017/18.
  • Kenneth Faried isn’t on the trade block, but Dempsey believes a “too good to be true” offer might change the Nuggets’ minds. The 26-year-old power forward has three years and nearly $39MM left after this season on the extension he signed in 2014.
  • The Nuggets were mentioned in Blake Griffin trade rumors last week, but Dempsey doesn’t think the Clippers will be dealing their star forward this season. He says L.A. has a “win now” philosophy, but that could change with another playoff disappointment. If that happens, the Nuggets would still be interested in Griffin this summer.

Latest On Blake Griffin

The Sixers and Nuggets have talked to the Clippers about Blake Griffin, league sources tell Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio and Amico Hoops (Twitter link), confirming an earlier dispatch from Mitch Lawrence of Forbes, who first reported the involvement of the Nuggets. However, the Clippers have no active interest in trading him in spite of offers that several teams have made, a source told Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter link).

It doesn’t seem as though the Nuggets have assets that align with what the Clippers would want for Griffin, observes Dan Woike of the Orange County Register (All Twitter links), even though Lawrence indicates that the Clippers were the ones who began the dialogue. The Sixers, like the Nuggets, will have as many as four first-round picks this year, but they have less to offer on their existing roster, as their league-worst 7-42 record would indicate.

The Nuggets have reservations about their ability to re-sign Griffin, whose contract runs through 2017/18 and includes an opt-out for the summer of 2017, Lawrence writes. Danilo Gallinari would be available for the right return, according to Lawrence, but it appears the price for Gallinari is high, as the Celtics have reportedly been unable to pry him from Denver. Outside of Gallinari and Emmanuel Mudiay, the Nuggets are “open for business,” as Chris Mannix of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports said in a recent radio appearance, and Lawrence confirms the team would be willing to trade Kenneth Faried.

The Clippers plan a concerted effort to look for Griffin trades in the offseason if they disappoint in the playoffs this spring, as fellow Vertical scribe Adrian Wojnarowski reported earlier today, but coach/executive Doc Rivers isn’t eager to trade the star power forward before the deadline, as Zach Lowe of ESPN.com wrote recently. Philadelphia chairman of basketball operations Jerry Colangelo said this week that the Sixers aren’t actively looking for a deadline trade while not ruling out the possibility of making one. A pursuit of Griffin that takes place in the offseason would fall in line with reported efforts the team made to sign Jimmy Butler and Kawhi Leonard under GM Sam Hinkie this past summer, though it’s unclear just how the Sixers will function now that Colangelo is around.

The broken shooting hand Griffin suffered, reportedly from hitting friend and Clippers assistant equipment manager Mathias Testi, will keep him from playing for several weeks, perhaps until late March, as the Clippers apparently believe. The incident has prompted an NBA investigation that’s likely to result in discipline for Griffin, commissioner Adam Silver told Sam Amick of USA Today.

Northwest Notes: Faried, Kaman, Snyder

Kenneth Faried acknowledged that the Nuggets trade of Ty Lawson to the Rockets is just part of the business of basketball, but he was still stung by it due to his close friendship with the point guard, Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post relays. When asked about the trade, Faried said, “Basketball. Nature of the beast. I’m not part of the business side I’m part of the playing side. I just want to get up-and-down and play the game. It hurt me because that was my best friend but it’s the nature of the beast. You’ve got to live with it.

Here’s more from the Northwest:

  • Mason Plumlee says he has learned a lot from veteran big man Chris Kaman in the short time that they have been teammates with the Trail Blazers, Mike Richman of The Oregonian writes. “The guys who are here 10-plus years in the NBA are here because they help the young guys,” Plumlee said of Kaman. “Here’s very good, he’s helpful, he knows what coach [Terry] Stotts wants so he’s been great.” Plumlee was acquired by Portland back in June.
  • Jazz coach Quin Snyder enters his second season with the team a bit more relaxed than his he was during his rookie campaign, and he aims to try and be less intense with his players this season, Jody Genessy of The Deseret News writes. “The course of the season and our team and how we play will dictate that as much as anything,” Snyder said, obviously making no hard promises regarding his future demeanor.
  • One of the problems facing the Timberwolves as they enter the preseason is that most of their big men are power forwards who will be tasked with manning the center position, Marcus R. Fuller of The Pioneer Press writes. Kevin Garnett, a power forward by trade, won’t be thrilled if he has to spend prolonged time in the pivot, Fuller adds. I still hate the center position,” Garnett said. “I’m 235, 240 [pounds]. Guys who play the center … DeAndre Jordan is 275, 280. That’s outweighing me by 40 pounds. But what I don’t make up in weight, I make up in heart and [expletive].”As for interim coach Sam Mitchell‘s plan for the rotation at the five spot, he said, “I’ve got an idea in my mind. But until we get out on the floor and actually watch them play a little bit, then we’ll start to formulate those opinions.

Northwest Notes: Aldridge, Faried, Durant

Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen said that the team has moved on from the loss of LaMarcus Aldridge to the Spurs this summer, and that he is excited for what the future holds for the franchise, Joe Freeman of The Oregonian relays. When asked if he felt betrayed by Aldridge, Allen said, “No. I think LaMarcus had a lot of options. We went down to Dallas, [GM] Neil [Olshey] and I pitched him and he chose to go a different direction. We made it to his last few choices and he was good enough to call me up and explain his decision and all that. It’s tough for a franchise, because we were all thinking that we had a real shot at getting him back. But in the end, he chose to go a different direction and now it’s a new day. We’ve moved on and I think you can feel the excitement and the energy in the gym now.

Allen said he enjoys the process of developing younger players, which makes the team’s current transitional period easier on him, Freeman adds. “It’s always a transition. I’m always trying to figure out how many times we’ve done a rebuild here. I think three. But you guys will probably correct me on that, I’m sure. I probably, more than a lot of owners, enjoy seeing young players develop. Always have. Always will. And that’s also been a hallmark of other teams like the Seahawks that I’ve been involved with. So seeing young players develop and I think if you watch some of the players that Neil has brought in here, we’ve been very lucky to be able to bring those in and be able to pivot from being a playoff team to being a team that’s going through a transition to hopefully being back in the playoffs before too long. So we’ll see.

Here’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • The deals that Talib Zanna, Dez Wells, and Julyan Stone signed with the Thunder are all one-year, minimum salary arrangements that include no guaranteed salary, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweets.
  • Omari Johnson‘s pact with the Blazers is a one year deal for the league minimum and includes no guaranteed salary, Pincus relays (via Twitter).
  • Difficulties between Kenneth Faried and former coach Brian Shaw negatively impacted the forward’s performance for the Nuggets last season, Mark Kiszla of The Denver Post writes. If you don’t have a coach that believes in you, then what’s the point of going out there and playing?” Faried said. “If your coach doesn’t have faith in you and puts you out in the fire against all these great players, you’re going to get torched.
  • Kevin Durant is a fan of new Thunder coach Billy Donovan, Anthony Slater of the Oklahoman tweets. Of Donovan, Durant said, “Great basketball mind, but more importantly, a better person. We’ve hit it off.” With Durant eligible to become an unrestricted free agent next summer, any added incentive for him to remain in Oklahoma City is certainly a boon for the franchise.
  • After a breakout season in 2014/15 for the Jazz, Gordon Hayward needs to become a better closer at the end of games in order to take his next step forward as a star player, Aaron Falk, Tony Jones and Steve Luhm of The Salt Lake Tribune write.

Northwest Notes: Faried, Bennett, Kaman

People close to the Nuggets have indicated that Kenneth Faried played a larger role in the downfall of former coach Brian Shaw than publicly known, according to Ben Dowsett of Basketball Insiders. Trade rumors surrounded Faried for much of the past year, and many people around the league expect Denver will deal him away. Still, Dowsett takes Shaw to task for his performance as a coach last season and calls the hiring of Michael Malone the team’s best offseason addition. See more from the Northwest Division:

  • Anthony Bennett looked strong playing for the Canadian national team during the summer, and Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor downplayed the idea that the Wolves will trade the former No. 1 overall pick, telling Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities, “We shouldn’t assume he’d go” (Twitter link). The Wolves have reportedly been willing to move Bennett for the right return.
  • Chris Kaman would probably fit best on a contender, but he enjoyed playing for the Trail Blazers last season, and Kaman’s level of contentment has had much to do with whether he’s been successful over the past few seasons, as The Oregonian’s Joe Freeman examines. Kaman will make $5.016MM this season in the last year of his contract.
  • The exodus of so many of last season’s Trail Blazers has C.J. McCollum excited about the more prominent role he’s poised to take on this year, one reminiscent of his time as a scoring force in college at Lehigh, as he tells Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders. McCollum is hopeful that he can continue to work with Steve Nash, who helped him with his game this summer, even though Nash is reportedly finalizing a deal to become a part-time player development consultant for the Warriors.

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.

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