Kenneth Faried

Rockets Notes: Tucker, Faried, Clark, Harden

Rockets point guard Chris Paul is openly campaigning for forward P.J. Tucker to make the league’s All-Defensive First Team, but Tucker isn’t looking for individual accolades, as he told Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle.

“I don’t know why he’s doing that,” Tucker said. “I’m not one of those guys that’s going to make my case for making it, be mad and cry if I don’t. I don’t care. I want to win. I don’t care if somebody says I’m the best or the worst defender. I’m going to go out and do what I do every single night no matter what. I never got praise for anything I’ve done so I don’t look for it.”

Barring a trade, Tucker will remain the team’s perimeter stopper for at least one more season. Tucker’s $8,349,039 salary for next season is locked in, though his $8MM salary for the 2020/21 season is not guaranteed.

We have more on the Rockets:

  • Power forward Kenneth Faried is expected to return on Monday after missing five games with a sore hip and strained adductor, Feigen reports. Faried has posted 14.9 PPG and 9.4 RPG in 16 games since signing with Houston after he was waived by Brooklyn in January.
  • The salary protection for forward Gary Clark is locked in at $708,426 for the 2019/20 season, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks. The Houston forward had a clause in his contract that would have guaranteed his full salary ($1.4MM) if he appeared in more than 36 games and either played in one playoff game or was waived by April 10. Clark has appeared in 41 games but 21 were played under his two-way deal, which didn’t count toward those 36 games. Clark did not play in Sunday’s win over Dallas.
  • James Harden‘s play has created a new way of evaluating players, Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle to Feigen and other media members. “It’s a pretty remarkable phenomenon,” Carlisle said. “I don’t know if there’s ever been anything quite like this. They’re extremely effective. He’s extremely effective. It’s bringing new metrics into play and things like that. There’s a lot of people studying it, looking at it. … One I heard this year is there is now a statistic on stepback shots, which I had never heard of before this year.”

Rockets Notes: Harden, Paul, Faried, Nene

After a scary fall on his right wrist and brief exit from the Rockets‘ win over the Sixers on Friday, precautionary x-rays on James Harden were negative, tweets ESPN’s Tim MacMahon. Harden is expected to play on Sunday against the Mavericks.

Harden returned to Friday’s game to finish with 31 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. Last season’s Most Valuable Player leads the league in scoring, averaging 36.6 PPG.

“[He’s] dealing with pain [in the wrist], I guess,” head coach Mike D’Antoni said after the game. “I don’t know, he just fell on it. He’s fallen on it before and is sore, so there was some pain there and then this just aggravated it.”

Check out more Rockets notes:

  • The Rockets have reeled off seven straight wins to move into third place in the Western Conference. A healthy Chris Paulwho has overcome a hamstring injury, holds the key for Houston to make a deep run into the postseason and beyond, ESPN’s Tim MacMahon writes.
  • Kenneth Faried missed Friday’s win over Philadelphia and will not play Sunday due to an adductor strain. Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle tweets that after undergoing an MRI, Faried is doubtful to play Monday.
  • In the absence of Faried, Nene has become the Rockets’ lone backup center, but he has played a major role in the team’s last few wins, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle writes.

Southwest Notes: Faried, Grizzlies, Caboclo, White

After being phased out of Denver’s rotation in 2017/18 and then becoming an afterthought in Brooklyn for the first half of this season, Kenneth Faried has experienced a career resurgence with the Rockets in recent weeks.

As Kelly Iko of The Athletic details, part of that resurgence can be attributed to Faried’s newfound three-point shot — after making three shots from beyond the arc in his first 453 NBA games, the big man has made six of 13 since arriving in Houston. As Faried tells it, he always had the ability to expand his shooting range, but wasn’t encouraged to do so until he signed with the Rockets.

“People always said I couldn’t shoot the three, and it wasn’t that. I just never took them,” Faried said. “Now that I’m taking them, people go, ‘Whoa, your shot is nice actually. Wow. You have a soft shot.’ I always had this, I just never did it. It was a respect thing — I knew how to get on the floor for my coaches.”

While Faried is currently day-to-day with a hip issue, he looks like a potential fixture in the Rockets’ rotation moving forward. In 16 games with the club (27.9 MPG), he has posted 14.9 PPG and 9.4 RPG on 60.2% shooting, and has even earned some playing time alongside center Clint Capela.

Here’s more out of the Southwest:

  • The Grizzlies will send their first-round pick to the Celtics if it falls outside of the top eight this spring, and have indicated they’d prefer to surrender it in 2019 rather than in a future year. David Cobb of The Memphis Commercial Appeal explains why, and lays out the various scenarios for that pick.
  • Bruno Caboclo‘s new two-year deal with the Grizzlies doesn’t include any guaranteed money for next season, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders confirms (via Twitter). However, according to Pincus, Caboclo will get a partial guarantee worth $300K if he remains under contract through July 10.
  • After missing six games for the Spurs in February, second-year guard Derrick White is back in the team’s lineup. San Antonio will need White to stay healthy down the stretch as the team pushes to secure a spot in the postseason, as Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News writes. “Derrick is important because he keeps everything a little bit more together,” head coach Gregg Popovich said. “Everybody understands where to be with Derrick out there. He has a great pace about him.”

Free Agent Stock Watch 2019: Southwest Division

Every week, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents next offseason. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we turn our attention to the Southwest Division:

Maxi Kleber, 27, Mavericks, PF (Up) – Signed to a two-year, $2.19MM deal in 2017
Kleber has received increased playing time since the blockbuster Kristaps Porzingis deal with the Knicks. He’s averaging 10.2 PPG and 4.8 RPG in 25.7 MPG as a starter this month while making 36% of his 3-point attempts. Kleber would be a restricted free agent if Dallas extends a $1.82MM qualifying offer. With loads of cap space to spare, the Mavs have plenty of incentive to make that modest offer for a rotation player, even though he’d probably move back to the bench next season when Porzingis is ready to play again.

Kenneth Faried, Rockets, 29, PF (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $917K deal in 2019
Clint Capela‘s return from a thumb injury this week will reduce the Manimal’s minutes. He’ll still play a valuable role for Houston, where he has revived his career after getting bought out by Brooklyn. After appearing in just 12 games with the Nets, Faried has averaged 15.7 PPG, 9.9 RPG and 1.0 BPG in 13 outings with the Rockets. It seems Faried has been in the league a long time, but he’s still just 29. In an era of stretch fours and fives, it’s questionable whether anyone views Faried as a starter going forward. He should still get a multi-year deal somewhere as a second-unit difference maker.

Justin Holiday, Grizzlies, 29, SF (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $9MM deal in 2017
Holiday was acquired from the Bulls when the Grizzlies still harbored hopes of making the playoffs. He didn’t move the needle at all before Memphis went into sell mode prior to the trade deadline. He’s averaged 8.2 PPG on 34.8% shooting (29.8% on 3-point tries) in 28.5 MPG with the Grizzlies. Holiday has posted below average PERs throughout his career, which doesn’t help his cause in the analytics era. Holiday has enough of a resume to land on someone’s bench next season but his days as a starter are likely over after this season.

Elfrid Payton, Pelicans, 25, PG (Down) — Signed to a one-year, $3MM deal in 2018
Payton inked a short-term, ‘show me’ contract after the former lottery pick flopped in Orlando and Phoenix. He was given the opportunity to replace free agent Rajon Rondo in the lineup but has spent a majority of the season in the trainer’s room. He’s appeared in just 19 games, with a right ankle sprain sidelining him for the last nine games heading into Friday’s action. The Pelicans lost six of the last eight games that he played. Payton will probably have to settle for another one-year deal this summer, this time in a backup role.

Dante Cunningham, Spurs, 31, SF (Down)– Signed to a one-year, $2.49MM deal in 2018
Cunningham has seen spot duty with the Spurs, averaging 15.9 MPG in 53 appearances. He’s managed to stay in the league for a decade, though he’s usually the No. 5 option at the offensive end. He accepts his limited role and provides some defense, so it’s possible he’ll squeeze out another veteran’s minimum deal with San Antonio or another playoff contender. But being on the wrong side of 30 means he’ll probably have to wait until late in the free agency period for an offer.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Nets Notes: Tsai, Faried, Russell

Nets minority owner Joseph Tsai has officially completed the purchase of the WNBA’s New York Liberty, the league announced today in a press release. The franchise was previously controlled by Knicks owner James Dolan.

“We are fortunate to welcome Joe Tsai to the WNBA family at a pivotal time for our league,” interim WNBA president Mark Tatum said in a statement. “We thank Jim Dolan and The Madison Square Garden Company for their incredible support of the WNBA over the past 22 years and for their commitment to finding the right owner for the Liberty. As active participants in the New York community, Joe and his team are very well-positioned to take the Liberty to exciting new heights.”

Tsai’s investment in the city’s WNBA franchise is the latest signal of his commitment to New York basketball. While Tsai is technically only a minority stakeholder in the Nets for the time being, he owns 49% of the franchise and his agreement with Mikhail Prokhorov will give him the opportunity to assume controlling interest in the team by 2021.

Here’s more on the Nets:

  • Although Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson consistently praised Kenneth Faried‘s attitude and work ethic during the big man’s time in Brooklyn, Faried called his Nets tenure “frustrating” and felt that the club wasn’t being straight with him, as Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News relays. Faried said he got the impression that the Nets didn’t trust him, and eventually decided he’d welcome a move. “That was the perception. The, ‘I don’t know you yet,'” he said. “A lot of beating around the bush as to why they wouldn’t play me. So it was like, if we figure something out then let’s immediately make that move. Because I don’t want to hinder y’all, and y’all hindering my career, pretty much.”
  • With restricted free agency looming this summer, D’Angelo Russell is playing the best basketball of his career, writes Greg Joyce of The New York Post. That’s an opinion shared by both Russell and his head coach. “He’s playing at an All-Star level, quite honestly,” Atkinson said. “And physically he looks great. I told him, ‘I don’t know what you’re doing, but keep doing it, because you look fast, you look recovered, you look spry.'”
  • While the Nets don’t have the Knicks’ history and don’t play in the world’s most famous arena, Brooklyn is establishing itself as an appealing free agent destination, opines Newsday columnist Barbara Barker.

Southwest Notes: Carmelo, Cousins, Faried, DSJ

The Carmelo Anthony trade between the Rockets and Bulls is still expected to get done at some point soon, but the trade call has yet to take place, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times. According to Stein, the deal may have to be amended due to a discrepancy involving the rights to a draft-and-stash player.

In addition to receiving Anthony and cash in the trade, the Bulls are also expected to receive the rights to Marko Todorovic, while the Rockets receive Tadija Dragicevic‘s rights, per Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. However, according to Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link), the NBA has made an effort to crack down on swaps that include a player who aren’t expected to ever come stateside. It’s not clear if those efforts will impact what the Rockets/Bulls swap ultimately looks like.

Let’s round up a few more items from out of the Southwest…

  • Within an article about DeMarcus Cousins‘ free agency and his debut with Golden State, the big man admits to Shams Charania of The Athletic that he hasn’t forgotten about how his time with the Pelicans playing alongside Anthony Davis ended. “I think about our pairing all the time,” Cousins said. “Me and A.D. talk about it. It’s f—ed up. It could’ve been something great, something special, but other people had different things in mind. That’s out of our control, and you never know what’ll happen later on down the line.”
  • After sitting on the bench in Denver and Brooklyn, Kenneth Faried is happy to have an opportunity to play an actual role for the Rockets, as Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle details. “The coaches and team believe in me,” Faried said. “They want me to come out and do what I do. I’m excited to be here.”
  • The Mavericks are listing Dennis Smith Jr. as a probable starter for his return game tonight, according to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon, who tweets that the club never discussed a possible move to the bench with Smith before his sabbatical.
  • Mavericks rookie Luka Doncic has been fined $10K for kicking the game ball into the stands during Saturday’s game, the NBA announced today in a press release.

Southwest Notes: Anthony, Smith Jr., Matthews, Davis

The Rockets will improve their luxury tax situation if the proposed trade of Carmelo Anthony to the Bulls goes through, Bobby Marks of ESPN notes. Houston started the day with a projected luxury tax bill of $13.9MM but will see that number drop to $12.4MM if the trade becomes official. It will also create a $1.5MM trade exception and open up a roster spot. Big man Kenneth Faried, signed earlier in the day, will earn $917,271 with the Rockets incurring a $683,661 cap hit.

We have more from around the Southwest Division:

  • Dennis Smith Jr.’s decision to rejoin Mavericks on Tuesday was mostly about damage control and protecting his future value, according to Tim MacMahon of ESPN. Smith realized after talking to coach Rick Carlisle it was in his best interests to return, rather than the club making up excuses about him being ill, MacMahon said. It’s unlikely that the Mavs will find a palatable deal before the deadline but those talks can be revisited and new suitors could emerge during the offseason if he finishes strong, MacMahon adds (Twitter links).
  • Wesley Matthews has heard the trade chatter about getting thrown into a potential deal involving Smith but he’s handling it professionally, as he explained to Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News. Matthews has an expiring $18.6MM contract and the Mavs are reportedly searching for deals with his contract as bait. “I don’t want anybody to feel sorry for me,” Matthews said. “No one’s supposed to feel sorry for me. I didn’t get into this business with people feeling sorry for me. No one felt sorry for me when I wasn’t drafted. No one felt sorry for me when I tore my Achilles. … There’s bigger things than trade rumors and hater fans and all that [expletive]. That’s never going to affect me.”
  • Anthony Davis‘ finger injury is a body blow to an already scuffling franchise, Scott Kushner of the Baton Rouge Advocate writes. The Pelicans face a tough stretch of games heading into the trade deadline despite beating Memphis by 20 points on Monday. They remain below the .500 mark and are in danger of falling completely out of the playoff picture with Davis expected to miss 1-2 weeks with a left finger sprain.

Rockets Release James Nunnally

5:00pm: The Rockets have officially waived Nunnally, the team confirmed in a press release announcing the signing of Faried.

4:01pm: The Rockets will terminate James Nunnally‘s 10-day deal early, releasing him before the contract expires, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. As Charania notes, cutting Nunnally will allow Houston to finalize its signing of Kenneth Faried tonight.

Nunnally, 28, reportedly turned down lucrative offers from international teams to sign a 10-day contract with the Rockets last Thursday. With Houston in need of help on the wing, the veteran sharpshooter immediately claimed a rotation role, averaging 19 minutes per game in two contests with the club. However, he struggled to make an impact, making just 3-of-13 shots from the floor, including 3-of-12 from beyond the arc.

Parting ways with Nunnally was the simplest way for the Rockets to open up a roster spot to sign Faried. The club’s other option would have been to trade or release Carmelo Anthony, but it appears a viable trade involving Anthony has yet to materialize. Houston would like to avoid cutting Anthony outright, since trading him would reduce the team’s projected tax bill.

As for Nunnally, he’ll get paid for the full 10 days, even though his 10-day contract is being terminated on day six. The Rockets could bring back the 28-year-old swingman later in the season if a roster spot opens up, but if there are no NBA opportunities out there for him right away, Nunnally might end up returning to Europe, where he has thrived in recent years.

New York Notes: Ntilikina, Knicks, Faried, Nets

Although Frank Ntilikina‘s name keeps popping up in trade rumors, Knicks head coach David Fizdale says the club views the second-year guard as a distributor and defender “that can help us win next year and into the future,” per Ian Begley of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Ntilikina’s role has been inconsistent in 2018/19, but Fizdale said he’ll likely have the youngster back up Emmanuel Mudiay at the point for at least the next few weeks.

For his part, Ntilikina has resolved to stop letting “expectations and outside noise” negatively affect his game, as Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News relays.

“I know me as a player and I know my ceiling is really high, higher than everyone thinks,” Ntilikina said.

Here’s more on the NBA’s two New York teams:

  • In addition to addressing Ntilikina’s role today, Fizdale also reiterated that the priority up front for the Knicks is to develop centers Luke Kornet and Mitchell Robinson. That means Enes Kanter may not have a spot in the regular rotation, Begley tweets. “I’m going to try my best to share those (center) minutes, but I do have a priority to grow (Kornet and Robinson),” Fizdale said.
  • With Kenneth Faried poised to clear waivers today, Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson expressed some regret that he couldn’t find more minutes for Faried during his time in Brooklyn (link via Greg Joyce of The New York Post). Jarrett Allen and Ed Davis were ahead of Faried on the depth chart at center, and Atkinson’s preference for playing small made it difficult to work in the big man at power forward. “He did everything we asked,” Atkinson said. “He was a great guy. He busted his tail. He was in shape. Just didn’t think he had great opportunity here.”
  • A NetsDaily column makes the case that Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson and general manager Sean Marks have earned long-term contract extensions, arguing that Brooklyn should lock the duo up sooner rather than later.

Nets Notes: Russell, Dinwiddie, Durant, LeVert

The Nets started winning when D’Angelo Russell and Spencer Dinwiddie figured out how to work together, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Brooklyn’s point guards had an uneasy relationship early in the season, which left coach Kenny Atkinson reluctant to put them on the court at the same time. But with them working in tandem, the Nets have the league’s best record since December 7 at 16-5.

“Now they’re accepting their roles,” DeMarre Carroll said. “Those two are the head of the snake; they’re going to take us as far as we go. They finally realized that and understand they’re not in competition with each other anymore. They can do it collectively. One guy can have one night, and the other guy can have the other night. Or they can do it both together. But that’s maturity. They’re finally growing up, and you can see them maturing on and off the court.”

There may have been a financial component to their competitiveness. Russell is headed toward restricted free agency this summer after not getting an extension in the fall, while Dinwiddie signed a three-year, $34MM extension last month.

There’s more news from Brooklyn:

  • Dinwiddie plans to appeal to Kevin Durant to join the Nets in free agency this summer, relays Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. Brooklyn will have enough cap space to offer Durant a maximum contract and could get close to two max offers by trading Allen Crabbe for an expiring deal and renouncing the rights to Russell.
  • Caris LeVert had a promising workout yesterday, but team officials are refusing to comment on when he might return, Lewis relays in another story. LeVert hasn’t played since suffering a dislocation in his right foot on November 12. “I’m not going to speculate,” Atkinson said. “I don’t want to give you something and be wrong. That’s the last thing I want to do. No specific update. [He’s] progressing. I know he had another great workout [Friday]. That’s as far as my medical background goes, but progressing nicely.”
  • Kenneth Faried was waived this morning after agreeing to a buyout, just three weeks after Atkinson complimented him on the way he has handled minimal playing time. “He’s been fantastic,” Atkinson said at the time. “It’s weird, some guys, they check out. He hasn’t.” Acquired from Denver in an offseason trade, Faried appeared in just 12 games for the Nets, averaging 9.8 minutes per night.