July 9: Trade with Denver Nuggets
The trade of Jeremy Lin to the Atlanta Hawks served to open up the necessary salary cap space to make this deal possible.
Isaiah Whitehead wasn’t in the Brooklyn Nets’ plans for 2018-19, particularly after he was unable to participate in the Summer League program while still recovering from surgery on a wrist he injured in April.
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So he was shipped to the Denver Nuggets in exchange for two large-ish contracts they were looking to shed as they were flirting with the tax line after re-signing Nikola Jokic to a max extension.
Kenneth Faried is entering the final year of the four-year, $50 million extension he signed in October 2014 and is owed $13.8 million for this season.
Darrell Arthur, once among the league’s best reserve stretch 4s, had $7.5 million coming in the last year of the three-year, $23 million contract he signed to remain with the Nuggets in July 2016.
Arthur’s knees are deteriorating and he played in only 60 games with Denver after re-signing, including just 19 last season.
Faried, a traditional power forward with no discernable outside shooting ability, had seen his playing time decrease steadily since he signed his extension, from 27.8 minutes as a starter in 2014-15 all the way to 14.4 minutes and 50 games as a DNP last season.
Faried hasn’t changed. The NBA did, however, and Faried’s inability to space the floor made him difficult to slot into Denver’s pace-and-space system.
It’s easy to forget how highly regarded this guy once was. Faried was on the 12-man roster that USA Basketball sent to Spain for the 2014 FIBA World Cup and started all nine games as the U.S. won the title.
Faried will be 29 in November and hasn’t changed discernibly since he was a key component for a championship national team. The per-36 minutes bear that out — Faried averaged 16.3 points and 11.5 rebounds per-36 in 2014-15. Last season, those numbers were 14.7 points and 11.9 boards.
He’s a career 54.3 percent shooter and plays hard while understanding what he can and cannot do. Almost 60 percent of his career attempts have been within three feet of the rim and he’s taken just 10.8 percent of his shots from outside of 10 feet.
If Kenny Atkinson can work Faried into the mix as a traditional 4, the Newark, N.J., native will do what he does — dunk, rebound and defend the interior.
Grade: A- (with the potential to be an A+ if Faried finds his way)