Brooklyn Nets rumors: Execs in Vegas have Kenneth Faried on buyout boards

Brooklyn Nets Kenneth Faried. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Brooklyn Nets Kenneth Faried. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images) /

One of the items that came out of Las Vegas during the NBA G League Winter Showcase was the presence of Brooklyn Nets F Kenneth Faried as a future buyout candidate.

The NBA G League Winter Showcase is often a hotbed of NBA rumor activity, what with executives and scouts from all 30 teams in attendance, and one interesting tidbit to come out of Las Vegas this week was that Brooklyn Nets forward Kenneth Faried is being eyed as a future buyout candidate.

As part of a larger piece on the buzz from Vegas, ESPN’s NBA Insiders listed several players that teams have identified as being potentially available before the March 1 deadline for postseason eligibility as free agents after having their contracts bought out.

Faried, the seldom-used big who is serving as Brooklyn’s No. 3 center this season, was one of 13 players identified.

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If Faried is bought out, it would seem likely to be by a team other than the Nets, who could use his expiring $13.8 million contract in conjunction with, perhaps, the 2019 first-round pick Brooklyn acquired from the Denver Nuggets in a trade in advance of the Feb. 7 deadline.

Otherwise a buyout makes much less sense, since the Nets — over the salary cap — could only fill that roster spot with a minimum-salary player if they were to eat the remainder of Faried’s deal.

Other players on the list included Carmelo Anthony of the Houston Rockets and J.R. Smith of the Cleveland Cavaliers, two players who are in limbo at this point — not with their current teams while they await either a trade or a buyout.

Others included Austin Rivers who was waived by the Phoenix Suns shortly after being acquired in a trade from the Washington Wizards.

Chicago Bulls Robin Lopez and Jabari Parker also made the list, along with Zach Randolph, Iman Shumpert and Kosta Koufos of the Sacramento Kings; Anthony Tolliver and Jerryd Bayless of the Minnesota Timberwolves; Enes Kanter of the New York Knicks; and Alec Burks of the Cavaliers.

Faried was limited in training camp as he recovered from a procedure on his ankle and coach Kenny Atkinson has only used the former USA Basketball standout outside of mop-up minutes a couple of times this season.

Faried has dressed for 33 of Brooklyn’s 34 games this season, but has played in just nine contests for a total of 50 minutes. He’s averaged 2.8 and 1.9 rebounds in his 5.6 minutes per game, shooting 11-of-14 from the floor and 3-of-7 at the line.

It’s a further descent of reduced roles for Faried that begin in 2016-17 when he was with the Denver Nuggets. That season he lost his starting job while playing a then career-low 21.2 minutes per game, while still averaging 9.6 points and 7.6 rebounds.

Last season with Denver, Faried played in only 32 games — starting seven — and averaged 14.4 minutes while putting up 5.9 points and 4.8 boards per game. Faried’s last appearance with the Nuggets was Feb. 1 and he only played in seven games after the New Year last season.

The Nets took Faried’s salary, along with the one year and $7.46 million remaining on Darrell Arthur‘s contract, last July in exchange for Isaiah Whitehead, picking up a top-12 protected first-round pick and a 2020 second-round selection for their troubles.

A week later, Arthur was flipped to the Phoenix Suns in exchange for the final year and $9.53 million owed to Jared Dudley, with Brooklyn acquiring a 2021 second-round pick that is protected 31-35 to offset the difference in money.

Faried last played Dec. 16, logging five minutes in the Nets’ blowout victory over the Atlanta Hawks, and has played in just two games this month. He got four minutes to close out Brooklyn’s road loss to the Washington Wizards on Dec. 1.

With reports that Nets general manager Sean Marks may look to add pieces for a potential playoff run, Faried’s expiring salary is a piece that could have some value in a trade, but only if it is to take on a contract that runs beyond this season.

With the Nets committing to Spencer Dinwiddie for the future — signing him to a three-year, $34.3 million extension earlier this month — Marks has shown he’s willing to cut into his available 2019 cap space for the right piece.

The ESPN NBA Insiders piece indicated that two teams they spoke to had Dinwiddie third on their boards of best available point guards in free agency, behind only All-Stars Kyrie Irving of the Boston Celtics and Kemba Walker of the Charlotte Hornets.

Dinwiddie being off the market now likely has the most impact on his teammate, D’Angelo Russell, and Boston’s Terry Rozier, who are set to become restricted free agents.

I still believe Russell remaining in Brooklyn is a stretch, but it’s doable at the right price because the Nets will have his full Bird rights, allowing them to go an extra year on a contract offer and to exceed the cap in order to retain him.

The wild card in any discussions of Russell is his status as a restricted free agent. The Nets’ leverage and flexibility in dealing with DLo disappears if he signs an offer sheet with another team.

At that point, a 15-day clock starts toward an either/or decision — either match that offer sheet under whatever terms are there or decline to match it and watch Russell walk.

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Russell is putting up career-high numbers this season, averaging 17.5 points and 6.2 rebounds, but his consistency continues to be a problem.