Kenneth Faried

Northwest Notes: Plumlee, Turner, Donovan, Faried

Jusuf Nurkic has been on a tear since his trade to Portland, but Mason Plumlee‘s teammates are happy to have him in Denver. While Plumlee and the Nuggets are still in the “getting-to-know-you phase,” as Nick Kosmider of the Denver Post puts it, Mason has grown more comfortable with each passing game.

“I was telling Mike (Miller) on the bench that this is collectively the best passing team I’ve played on,” Plumlee said. “It’s exciting. There is energy in the ball. I feel like the way guys play on this team is contagious.”

The Nuggets maintain a 2.5 game lead on the eighth seed; between his stints with the Nets and Trail Blazers, Plumlee has a combined 27 games of playoff experience. Plumlee’s style of play has already earned the respect of standout center Nikola Jokic.

“He just wants to win,” Jokic said. “He wants to do the stuff that some other players don’t want to do.”

More from around the Northwest:

  • After missing five weeks with a fracture in his right hand, Evan Turner is expected to make his return to the lineup tomorrow against the Hawks. According to Joe Freeman of The Oregonian, Turner returned to practice Friday after hour-long workouts on Wednesday and Thursday. A seventh-year veteran, Turner’s “brand of playmaking and solid perimeter defense” should provide a boost to the Trail Blazers‘ postseason push. “I’m done talking about the injury and worrying about it, because it’s already over with,” Turner said. “Knock on wood.”
  • Now two years into his NBA coaching career, Billy Donovan‘s name still surfaces when a college coaching job opens up. According to Brett Dawson of The Oklahoman, the Indiana Hoosiers were speculated to have interest in hiring Donovan; a rumor the OKC coach shot down. “I am totally happy here,” Donovan said. “I love it here. I love the guys I work with every day. I love our staff, the organization. As far as I’m concerned, my commitment is totally here and doing the best job I can while I’m here.”
  • Kenneth Faried is eager to return to form after suffering a debilitating back injury, Nick Kosmider of the Denver Post writes. “The Manimal” missed 14 out of 17 games due to the injury, scoring 12 points over 18 minutes in his return to the court last night. “It was some of the worst pain I ever felt,” Faried said. “I’m just happy to be able to walk and jump and do the normal things like sit down normally. I’m glad to be able to do a light sprint or a jog and not have to worry about my back flaring up. I’m happy to be able to do those little things. You never know what can happen, and you take those for granted until something like that happens.”

Northwest Notes: Hill, Jazz, Faried, Turner

George Hill and the Jazz reportedly won’t reach an agreement on a contract extension on Tuesday, which is the last day this season that teams can renegotiate contracts. However, both sides remain interested in getting something done eventually, and agreed to resume discussions in the summer, per Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune.

According to Jones, the Jazz are “prepared to do whatever it takes” to retain Hill beyond this season. However, they’ll have plenty of competition for the veteran point guard in the offseason. Sources tell Jones that Hill is expected to have as many as 12 teams looking to sign him in free agency, and Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com tweets that Hill has been advised he can get a better deal this summer than what Utah can offer now. In the offseason, rival teams could offer a four-year contract, while the Jazz could make a five-year offer. Today, Utah only could have offered a three-year extension.

Here’s more from around the Northwest division:

  • As the Nuggets traveled to Chicago, power forward Kenneth Faried stayed behind in Denver to receive treatment on his back, tweets Nick Kosmider of The Denver Post. Head coach Mike Malone expects Faried to miss at least a week to 10 days.
  • Trail Blazers wing Evan Turner, who is trying to make his way back from a hand fracture, said today that he’s getting his cast removed on Friday and hopes to return to the court for Portland in a week or so, per Mike Richman of The Oregonian (Twitter link). The original recovery timetable for Turner, which was announced about three weeks ago, called for him to miss five or six weeks.
  • The Timberwolves passed on Buddy Hield to select Kris Dunn with the fifth overall pick last June, but Minnesota head coach and president of basketball operations Tom Thibodeau says he’s a “big fan” of the new Kings sharpshooter, as Jerry Zgoda of The Star Tribune details. According to Thibodeau, he and the Wolves considered Hield and Jamal Murray before selecting Dunn —  Thibodeau believes “all three guys will have terrific careers.”

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 ESPN.com 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 NBA.com. 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 SonicsRising.com 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.”
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