Kenneth Faried

Northwest Notes: Gobert, Jerebko, Napier, Thunder

Rudy Gobert‘s bone bruise in his right knee will sideline him until December at the earliest, a major blow to the Jazz‘s frontcourt. However, the Utah center also feels the team will be fine in his absence and that he will return to form once he recovers from injury.

“I’m confident that the team is going to win games even when I’m not here and I’ll be back stronger,” Gobert said (via Eric Woodyard of The Deseret News). “It’s like an All-Star break before the All-Star break. So everything is good, I’m confident and nothing’s changed. No team goals. No individual goals. Everything’s good.”

Gobert, 25, was in the midst of another productive season. Through 12 contests, Gobert posted 13.9 PPG, 10.5 RPG and a league-best 2.5 blocks. That Jazz, currently in 10th place in the Western Conference with a 6-8 record, will miss Gobert’s defense but will have to tread water until he returns to not fall out of the playoff race.

Check out additional news out of the Northwest Division:

Latest On Eric Bledsoe

It’s been a busy day on the Eric Bledsoe front. After the point guard posted a tweet expressing his displeasure with his situation on Sunday, the Suns indicated that Bledsoe wouldn’t play in Monday night’s game against Sacramento, and it sounds like he may not suit up at all for Phoenix going forward, as the club looks to trade him.

Bledsoe has been linked to the Bucks and Knicks, among other teams, with the Suns reportedly seeking Frank Ntilikina and Willy Hernangomez from New York. However, the Knicks aren’t eager to move either player. Meanwhile, the Nuggets are also said to have interest in Bledsoe, with Denver and Phoenix discussing a deal that would involve Emmanuel Mudiay.

While we wait to see if anything comes of any of those rumors, here’s the latest on Bledsoe:

  • According to John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 (Twitter link), Bledsoe actually had multiple meeting with the Suns before the season to discuss the possibility of a trade, so it’s not as if his dissatisfaction just developed within the last few days.
  • Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders provides an update on the Suns‘ talks with the Nuggets, reporting that Kenneth Faried has emerged as part of a hypothetical package. That’s not a real surprise, since Faried doesn’t seem completely happy in Denver, and his contract would be useful for salary-matching purposes.
  • A Faried/Mudiay package is the first idea proposed by ESPN’s Kevin Pelton in his Insider-only article examining trade possibilities. Although Pelton also puts forth trade ideas involving the Magic, Cavaliers, and a few other teams, he suggests that the Nuggets are the most logical landing spot for Bledsoe “by a wide margin.”
  • Charles Curtis of USA Today makes a case for the Sixers as the best trade partner for the Suns, while Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News explains why the Mavericks aren’t a fit.

Nuggets GM Talks Harris, Faried, Expectations

A September report indicated that Gary Harris and the Nuggets have a good chance of reaching an agreement on a contract extension for the fourth-year shooting guard before the October 16 deadline. With 10 days left for the two sides to work something out, Nuggets GM Arturas Karnisovas confirmed that a potential deal with Harris is “in the works,” telling Gina Mizell of The Denver Post that he’s optimistic about getting something done.

“He’s been such a huge part of what we’re trying to do here, a representation of what we’re building here,” Karnisovas said of Harris. “Him going through trade rumors and still staying with us and being consistent and being a good leader for our guys and (knowing) how to do it, he was the ultimate professional. We’re trying to find ways to keep him here as long as we can.”

During his visit to The Denver Post’s newsroom, Karnisovas – who received a promotion to general manager during the offseason – also addressed a few other noteworthy topics, so let’s round up a few of the highlights from the Nuggets executive:

On Kenneth Faried‘s strongly-worded comments about wanting to be a starter:

“We welcome that. It’s a competitive spirit, and we want our training camp to be competitive. We didn’t want to just give guys playing time. We want them to earn it. That’s a good approach. Whoever earns minutes in the preseason is going to play.”

On the most challenging aspect of building a roster and dealing with constant player movement:

“Overall, it’s continuity and do not exaggerate your wins and don’t over-exaggerate your losses. Just kind of stay calm through all this process. I think we also have to figure out the healthy balance between young talent and meshing it with veteran players. Players like Paul [Millsap]. We chased [Dwyane] Wade before. We kind of need players in the locker room that have done it.

“Paul has been an All-Star four times and he’s been part of 60-win teams. It was important for us to find a formula that we can kind of use a vet. Last year, we were (one of the) top three youngest teams in the league. When we added Paul, we were very excited. Ultimate professional. Good teammate. Our young players gravitate toward that kind of good example, and they learn from it.”

On his goal for the Nuggets’ progress in 2017/18:

“Progress is a good word. We never like to put a number on wins. Playoffs is our target. Where, in terms of [seeding], we don’t know. But I think from previous years, we need to start well. The first 20 games are a huge emphasis for us, to be competitive and hopefully to stay .500 and over .500. Just be better than last year. We were close last year to making the playoffs, so this year should be a good year. I think we have a group of young players that got better, and we added Paul Millsap. Hopefully, we can stay healthy. That’s always a huge factor

Kenneth Faried Uneasy With Backup Role

Kenneth Faried comes into Nuggets training camp as a backup and he’s not happy about it, as he told Matt Moore of Hardwood Paroxysm and CBSSports.com and other media members. Faried, who can play either power forward or center, strongly suggested that if he doesn’t play enough minutes, then he should be dealt. (Twitter links).

“If this team doesn’t want or respect me enough to play me the minutes, then I understand that. Maybe I go somewhere else,” he said.

Denver upgraded its frontcourt by signing Hawks free agent Paul Millsap to a three-year, $90.5MM contract.  The Nuggets have Nikola Jokic, a finalist for Most Improved Player in the league last season, at center. Wilson Chandler is slotted a small forward.

Faried isn’t surprised by the Nuggets’ thinking, but refuses to view himself as a reserve.

“I’ll just put this out there. I. Am. A. Starter,” he said (Twitter link).

Faried was in and out of the lineup last season when he battled a back injury. He appeared in 61 games, 34 as a starter, while averaging a career-low 9.6 PPG and 7.6 RPG in 21.2 MPG. He came off the bench just 17 times during the first five seasons of his career. There were unspecified teams reportedly interested in Faried when Millsap announced he would join the Nuggets.

Faried, who is averaging 11.9 PPG and 8.5 RPG in his career, is signed through next season. He’ll make $12.9MM this season and $13.76MM next season.

Gary Harris is the team’s starting shooting guard but there will be an open competition at point guard, Moore adds (Twitter link).

Emmanuel Mudiay, the team’s 2015 lottery pick, has been erratic in his first two seasons. He’ll be challenged by second-year man Jamal Murray, with veteran Jameer Nelson presenting a fallback option.

Western Rumors: Gasol, Faried, T-Wolves, Young

While a handful of Western Conference teams have made major roster moves so far this offseason, the Grizzlies have been fairly quiet. The team reached an agreement to sign Ben McLemore, but also lost Zach Randolph and has yet to lock up its other free agents like JaMychal Green and Tony Allen.

With their window of contention potentially closing, would the Grizzlies consider moving Marc Gasol? Two league executives suggest to Chris Mannix of The Vertical that Gasol is a player worth keeping an eye on as a possible trade candidate. Mannix’s note is tucked away in a larger piece about the Celtics‘ next moves, and as he points out, Gasol would make a lot of sense as a target for Boston. However, there’s no indication that any talks have happened or that Memphis is even considering such a roster shake-up, so it sounds like speculation at this point.

Here’s more from around the Western Conference:

  • Teams are calling the Nuggets to inquire about Kenneth Faried, tweets Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype. With Paul Millsap arriving in Denver, the Nuggets’ frontcourt is getting crowded, and the team probably wouldn’t mind getting out from under Faried’s contract, so a trade remains a possibility.
  • Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News, who reported on Tuesday that the Pacers might be interested in working out a sign-and-trade deal with the Timberwolves for C.J. Miles, suggests that Indiana is further along on a Miles sign-and-trade scenario with another team (Twitter link). Meanwhile, Minnesota is waiting on Nick Young, having made him a two-year offer that is likely worth the room exception, tweets Wolfson.
  • In other Timberwolves news, first-round pick Justin Patton won’t be participating in Summer League with the club, having suffered a foot fracture during a workout, the team announced on Tuesday. Patton underwent surgery to repair a broken fifth metatarsal in his left foot and will be sidelined indefinitely, per the team.

Nuggets Still Eyeing George Hill?

The Nuggets made their first big splash of the offseason on Sunday night, reaching an agreement on a $90MM deal with Paul Millsap. However, the team may not be done going after top free agents quite yet. According to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer (via Twitter), a source says to expect the Nuggets to continue their pursuit of George Hill if they can move some salary.

As O’Connor suggests, the Nuggets don’t currently have the cap flexibility to make a competitive offer for Hill, with nearly $30MM of their 2017/18 cap now earmarked for Millsap. However, Denver has trade options. With Millsap, Nikola Jokic, Juan Hernangomez, and RFA Mason Plumlee looking like the team’s core pieces at the four and five, that leaves several of the other team’s highest-paid players in flux.

O’Connor identifies both Kenneth Faried ($12.92MM) and Darrell Arthur ($7.46MM) as potential trade chips if Denver looks to dump salary. I’d imagine Wilson Chandler ($12.02MM) could also be had in the right deal, though the Nuggets would likely prefer to keep him around, since he has the ability to play the three as well as the four. Trey Lyles ($2.44MM) is also in the frontcourt picture for the club, though moving him wouldn’t create much additional cap room.

The Nuggets were linked to multiple veteran point guards earlier in free agency, with Hill named among their potential targets. Denver reportedly reached out to the Jazz point guard during the first hour of free agency on Saturday morning, and a report later on Saturday suggested the Nuggets and Pacers were among the teams that had gone a little down the road with Hill.

If the Nuggets are able to move salary and get something done for Hill, it all but eliminates a reunion with Danilo Gallinari as a possibility for the club. Given Denver’s frontcourt depth after landing Millsap, I imagine the team isn’t pushing too hard at this point to get a new deal done with Gallinari anyway.

Cavs Rumors: Trade Talks, Shumpert, Frye, Billups

Although an ESPN report classified pre-draft trade talks between the Cavaliers, Nuggets, and Pacers regarding Paul George and Kevin Love as “serious,” Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com spoke to a source who downplayed the rumor, suggesting a deal was never close and is unlikely to happen now.

Vardon suggests that the Pacers “obviously weren’t interested” in their end of the potential trade, which is corroborated by Sam Amico of AmicoHoops.net. According to Amico, the Cavaliers and Nuggets both wanted to get something done, but the Pacers were hesitant. Amico notes that the exact details of the proposed offer aren’t known, but Indiana likely would’ve received one player from Cleveland and at least two from Denver, including Kenneth Faried.

Here’s more from out of Cleveland:

  • The Cavs are having trouble finding teams willing to take on the contracts of Iman Shumpert and Channing Frye, according to Amico, who says Cleveland would like to move both players before training camp. One GM of a lottery team tells Amico that his club may be willing to trade for Frye later, but only after waiting to see how his roster takes shape in free agency. Amico adds that Shumpert may have been discussed in talks with the Pacers.
  • The Cavaliers have discussed a possible three-way trade with the Knicks, but Carmelo Anthony‘s stand-off with Phil Jackson appears to be complicating New York’s chances of getting anything major done, says Amico.
  • In a piece for Basketball Insiders, James Blancarte wonders if Love is being undervalued by NBA fans and observers. If that’s the case, NBA execs may be guilty of it too — Amico writes that teams have thus far been unwilling to offer a ton for Love since it’s widely known the Cavs are looking to move him.
  • The Cavs still have no resolution on their front office situation. Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical reported on Sunday evening (via Twitter) that talks between the team and Chauncey Billups were ongoing, with no immediate resolution anticipated. Nearly two full days later, there have been no real updates. Cleveland reportedly offered Billups a five-year deal to become the team’s new president of basketball operations.

Stein’s Latest: George, Rockets, Spurs, Nuggets

News broke Sunday that the Cavaliers, Nuggets and Pacers had discussed a three-way deal that would have sent Paul George to the Cavs and Kevin Love to Denver ahead of the draft. As we wrote about earlie, one variation of the potential deal would have sent Kenneth Faried to Cleveland as well.

In an article published at ESPN shortly thereafter, Marc Stein – who sent the initial tweet Sunday night – goes into more details, sharing information about the pre-draft conversations that took place surrounding the Pacers forward.

Here are some highlights from Stein’s latest piece, co-written with Haynes:

  • While the conversations between the Cavaliers, Nuggets and Pacers didn’t amount to anything before the draft, Cleveland haven’t abandoned its pursuit of the two-way All-Star. The Cavs legitimately believe that they could convince George to abandon his dreams of playing for his hometown Lakers, something he is expected to pursue when he hits free agency in 2018.
  • In addition to Cleveland’s ongoing pursuit and the Celtics discussions that came to light on draft day, Stein and Haynes note that the Rockets and Spurs both aggressively pursued George deals before the draft as well.
  • The Nuggets are looking to upgrade at power forward and it’s the reason why Love was included in the possible three-team deal. Denver similarly intends to make plays for pending free agents Blake Griffin and Paul Millsap.
  • All of Faried, Wilson Chandler and Emmanuel Mudiay are said to be available. Big man Nikola Jokic and second-year guard Jamal Murray are supposedly untouchable.
  • The pair also confirm what we wrote about on Friday following a Joe Vardon column at Cleveland.com; the Cavs are expected to pursue Carmelo Anthony should he be bought out by the Knicks.

Cavs, Pacers, Nuggets Discussed George, Love

7:32pm: Nothing appears imminent, as the aforementioned Vardon tweet implied, but Stein and Haynes have published an article with more information about what went down and some of the underlying motives. We’ve recapped it here.

7:12pm: An article published by Haynes and Stein over at ESPN specifies that the Cavs, Nuggets and Pacers discussed Love and George leading up to last Thursday’s draft. The Nuggets, the article states, were brought in to supply Indiana with young assets.

Stein and Haynes note that while this particular discussion didn’t end in a deal, the Cavs won’t abandon their pursuit of the Pacers All-Star.

6:48pm: The clubs are said to have had discussions involving Denver on draft night, Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com tweets. Vardon also adds that his source said it was “nothing serious”.

6:31pm: The Cavaliers, Pacers and Nuggets are in the midst of trade discussions involving Paul George and Kevin Love, Marc Stein of ESPN tweets. The three clubs have discussed a deal that would land George in Cleveland and Love in Denver.

Per Stein and ESPN’s Chris Haynes, the Cavs have “continued to pursue” George, something they were initially reported to be doing prior to the draft.

In one version of the potential deal, the Cavaliers could land forward Kenneth Faried, Haynes tweets.

News of the ongoing discussion comes after a week of speculation following George’s declaration that he would not be returning to the Pacers when he hits free agency next summer. When he informed Indiana president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard of his intentions, he revealed that he’d like to sign with his hometown Lakers in 2018.

Unless the Lakers make a move for him before then,  however, a number of other clubs – including the Cavaliers – will eagerly look to acquire him as a one-year rental, the Celtics being a notable example that has already made an aggressive push to land him.

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.”
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