The Brooklyn Nets Morning Dish is all about reunions on this Friday, another Net is returning to his old city. Tonight, it’s Kenneth Faried back in Denver.
The first two games of the Brooklyn Nets first road trip into the Western Conference are doubling as old home week. On Tuesday, Jared Dudley returned to Phoenix for the first time since being traded to the Nets by the Suns and now Friday, Kenneth Faried is back in Denver.
Faried is back in the Mile High City with the Nets, his first visit to Pepsi Center since the Nuggets traded him to Brooklyn in July as part of a salary dump deal that also netted Darrell Arthur and Denver’s 2019 first-round pick if it’s not in the top 12 selections in exchange for Isaiah Whitehead.
But unlike Dudley, who got the start in Phoenix, Faried is just hoping to see the floor against his former team.
He’s appeared in just four of Brooklyn’s first 11 games, playing a total of 18 minutes with 10 points and eight rebounds on 5-for-6 shooting.
Faried played his first seven NBA seasons with the Nuggets, who took him out of Morehead State with the 22nd overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. He was a starter for his first five seasons before the changing game reduced his role.
By last season, Faried averaged just 14.4 minutes per game and played in only 32 games.
The veteran is saying the right things, telling Brian Lewis of the New York Post:
"“I just want us to win. Help the team focus on that, nothing going on in particular except basketball. That’s what we need to focus on, that’s what we need to go out there and do, handle our business.”"
Atkinson said it’s nothing Faried has done wrong.
"“He’s great. There’s no room. He’s going to get his shot. I think him getting hurt in the preseason, I just didn’t see him a lot. I haven’t seen him with the lineups. He’s a little bit caught by circumstances. … He’s been great, he understood that and been a man about it.”"
The offer-sheet slumps
As part of a broader column. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst detailed the struggles early this season by three players signed to splashy offer sheets by the Brooklyn Nets in the summer of 2016.
Tyler Johnson got a four-year, $50 million offer sheet that the Miami Heat opted to match. The Portland Trail Blazers did the same with a four-year, $75 million offer sheet signed by Allen Crabbe and the Washington Wizards matched the four-year, $107 million deal extended to Otto Porter.
While Crabbe came to Brooklyn in a trade in the summer of 2017, Johnson has been up and down with the Heat since getting the big offer sheet.
He hasn’t matched the numbers from his contract year and this season is averaging only 9.3 points per game and shooting 27 percent from 3-point range.
Porter averaged a career-best 14.7 points and shot 44 percent from 3 last season, but he’s gone backward — as have the Wizards — this season. Porter is putting up 11.3 points and shooting 36.8 percent from 3-point range, and that’s after a 5-for-6 showing on Wednesday.
As for Crabbe, his struggles have been real for the Nets. He is averaging 6.8 points per game in a reserve role and shooting a rugged .256/.275/12-for-16.
A dream duo
"“I would love to play with him. He makes people around him better. He’s a dynamic player. He has the utmost confidence in himself that I don’t think will change ever. That’s why we have the relationship that we do.”"
Russell will be a restricted free agent at the end of this season after the Nets opted not to offer him an extension of his rookie deal.
Booker is making $3.3 million this season in the final year of his rookie contract before exploding into a whole new bracket next year when his five-year, $158 million max extension kicks in.
Booker will make $27.25 million next season, with salaries escalating to $35.9 million in 2023-24, the final year of the pact.
While it’s unlikely Brooklyn could make a trade for Booker, it’s at least worth noting that the general manager who signed Booker to his max deal, Ryan McDonough, is no longer with the Suns after being fired last month.