Kenneth Faried

Northwest Notes: Mudiay, Thibodeau, Stephenson

The performance of Nuggets rookie guard Jamal Murray has made Emmanuel Mudiay expendable, writes Mark Kiszla of The Denver Post. Veteran Jameer Nelson has become the starting point guard as Denver pushes for a playoff spot, and Kiszla sees Murray as a better backup to both Nelson and Gary Harris than Mudiay is. That leaves little playing time for last year’s first-round pick, who may now be more valuable to the Nuggets as a trade chip. Kiszla would like to see the Nuggets pursue Chicago’s Jimmy Butler, but admits that Denver doesn’t have the pieces to make that happen. He also mentions Atlanta’s Thabo Sefolosha as a target, but not in a one-for-one deal for Mudiay.

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Tom Thibodeau’s new dual role as Timberwolves coach and president of basketball operations leaves no time for a vacation during the All-Star break, writes Jerry Zgoda of The Star Tribune. Zgoda lists seven possible targets for Minnesota before Thursday’s trade deadline: Chicago’s Taj Gibson, Orlando’s Bismack Biyombo, Denver’s Kenneth Faried and Wilson Chandler, Cleveland’s Iman Shumpert, Phoenix’s P.J. Tucker and Philadelphia’s Nerlens Noel.
  • Lance Stephenson is looking at a two-week recovery from his Grade 2 ankle sprain, tweets Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News in Minneapolis. Stephenson’s 10-day contract expired this weekend, and it’s uncertain whether the Timberwolves will be interested in signing him again once he has recovered.
  • The Jazz may add short-term salary to help them get above the cap floor, but they will be reluctant to take on long-term salary in any deal, writes Ryan McDonald of The Deseret News. Utah’s top priority this summer will be to re-sign Gordon Hayward, who will want a max contract with an annual salary in the $25MM to $30MM range. The Jazz also want to keep free agent point guard George Hill, who will demand about $20MM per season, and Rudy Gobert‘s extension will kick in next season, starting at more than $21.2MM next year. That ties up three players making more than $70MM, which limits Utah’s roster flexibility.

Kenneth Faried, Danilo Gallinari May Sit Through All-Star Break

Kenneth Faried and Danilo Gallinari have been out with injuries recently, and according to a report from Christopher Dempsey of the Denver Post, they may not return until after the All-Star break. The Nuggets have three games – against the Cavaliers, Warriors, and Timberwolves – until the break.

Gallinari has missed Denver’s last five games with a groin injury, while Faried has been sidelined for two Denver’s last three games with a sprained ankle. Gallinari and Faried, whose injuries were categorized as “severe” by Dempsey, didn’t suit up for the Nuggets’ game in New York on Friday.

Nuggets coach Michael Malone praised Gallinari’s efforts in his recovery from injury.

“I give him credit,” Malone said. “We had an optional shooting (practice on Friday) and he went to the gym and was able to do a little bit more than he probably anticipated. But as with Kenneth and his ankle, we’re not going to rush those guys back. We have four more games prior to the break. If we have to use that entire time to get Gallo back for after the break to make a push, then we’ll do that. Whatever is in the best interest of the players.”

Community Shootaround: Denver’s Trade Chips

Despite a 22-28 record, the Nuggets find themselves within striking distance of a playoff spot in the Western Conference. Staked to a half-game lead in the eighth seed, Denver has outperformed expectations behind a breakout season from Nikola Jokic.

As Mark Kiszla pointed out in a Denver Post column, the Nuggets have a decision to make: pursue a No. 7 or 8 seed, or sell off their assets by the trade deadline? Wilson Chandler has been critical of his role (or occasional lack thereof) under coach Michael Malone, making him a logical trade candidate.

Malone firmly denied Emmanuel Mudiay‘s availability via trade, but several Nuggets remain viable trade chips; particularly Danilo Gallinari and Jusuf Nurkic. As of late January, Nurkic was rumored to be available in a package deal with veteran forward Kenneth Faried.

We know Nuggets GM Tim Connelly has a history of trade deadline activity; here’s what we want to know as February 23rd approaches…

Who would you like to see the Nuggets shop at the deadline? Would it be worthwhile for Connelly to keep his team intact while pursuing a playoff spot? Which team would be the most logical destination for Chandler?

Let us know in the comments section!

Nuggets Notes: Mudiay, O’Bryant, Williams, Nurkic

Nuggets coach Michael Malone isn’t concerned about point guard Emmanuel Mudiay’s sore back, Christopher Dempsey of the Denver Post reports. Mudiay has missed three consecutive games but Malone doesn’t believe Mudiay will be sidelined much longer. “The treatment he’s been getting has been helping him, and all of the results from the testing coming back don’t show that there’s anything serious,” he told Dempsey. “So, that allows you to take a deep breath and say it’s not a long-term thing.”

In other developments regarding the Nuggets:

  • Forward Johnny O’Bryant received a 10-day contract on Thursday because the club needs frontcourt depth in the short term, Dempsey adds in the same story. Darrell Arthur, who has a knee issue, is among the big men who are nursing injuries, Dempsey adds. “I was talking to [Nuggets GM] Tim Connelly that it would be great to have another big here, ready, insurance,” Malone said to Dempsey. “If we have to play him and suit him up, he’s played in an NBA game, he has a skill – he can step out and shoot the ball.”
  • Guard Mo Williams has cleared waivers, Marc Stein of tweets. The Nuggets claimed him for the second time on Monday because of salary floor implications. Denver will save over $1MM through its latest Williams transaction (Twitter links).
  • The Nuggets are trying to move center Jusuf Nurkic and could package him with Kenneth Faried to upgrade their backcourt, Sean Deveney of the Sporting News reports. Nurkic has drawn interest, in part because of his rookie contract, Deveney continues. But the Nuggets would either have to make it a multi-player swap, find a team below the cap, or involve a third team to make a trade work, Deveney adds.

Northwest Notes: Rubio, Faried, Jazz

“The market for Ricky Rubio has shriveled,” says The Vertical’s Chris Mannix in a video segment published on Twitter. The 26-year-old point guard’s days in the Timberwolves‘ starting lineup may be numbered since the franchise drafted Kris Dunn fifth overall in the summer, and his poor play early this season has some experts wondering whether the team will look to move on sooner than later. In 20 games with the T-Wolves this season, Rubio has posted just 6.9 points per game on .368 shooting, the latter being perhaps the biggest negative limiting the playmaker’s trade value.

“What NBA team out there actually needs a point guard?” asks Bobby Marks in the same video. “It’s almost like a quarterback in the NFL. Unless you need one, you’re not going to give up the farm to acquire one.”

Elsewhere in the Central Division:

  • Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried‘s name has long been mentioned in trade rumors, but the time for a deal is now, writes Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post. “While insisting he does not blame Faried, it’s obvious [head coach] Michael Malone has lost a little faith in his sixth-year veteran,” says Kiszla, “which echoes the turbulent relationship between Faried and Malone’s predecessor on the Denver bench, Brian Shaw.”
  • The Jazz were a popular choice to improve this season in the NBA’s annual GM survey, but more recently it has been Utah’s former All-Star point guard Deron Williams singing their praise. “They definitely have an identity now,” says Williams to Tim MacMahon of ESPN. “They have a great mix of youth and then experience, adding Joe Johnson and Boris Diaw and George Hill, guys like that to complement the young guys they have.”
  • Russell Westbrook has been on a tear for the majority of the 2016/17 campaign thus far – including a streak of seven consecutive triple-doubles – but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have down days. Sam Amick details the Thunder point guard’s recent “rare and revealing struggles” for USA Today.

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.

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