Nuggets’ power forward Kenneth Faried has been the subject of numerous trade chatter over the course of his tenure in Denver and that banter reportedly continued this summer, when the 27-year-old was rumored to be involved in a three-way trade that would have routed him to Cleveland.
But Faried, who’s been in Denver for his entire six-year career, has learned to take those rumors in stride. The gossip doesn’t affect him like it once did.
“I actually like it,” Faried said of the consistent trade rumors to Nate Kreckman and Ryan Harris on Altitude 950. “Honestly, before I used to hate it, because it’s like wow they want to trade me, but now I’m thinking, hey, I’m still being talked about, people still know my work in the NBA and that’s respectful and humbling to me. Hey, I may not have had some of the best years recently to me and to myself, and I’m like yo, I still can do this and I know I can and it took me last year I wasn’t starting then I became a starter here and then not starting and started again at the end of everything and it’s like a lot. But hey, I take it with a grain of salt and just keep grinding and just focus on the main prize and that’s our team winning and trying to make it to the playoffs and win a championship pretty much. So that’s been my main goal and whatever I need to do I’m just going to do on the court and if people talk about me in trades, (inaudible) that means I’m still worthy and people still respect my game and still want me to be on some team somewhere.”
Despite averaging the least amount of minutes (21.2) since his rookie season, Faried turned in a solid 2016-17 campaign. The high-flying big man teamed with Nikola Jokic to form Denver’s most efficient two-man frontcourt combination that played over 200 minutes together and improved across the board on defense.
However, with the decrease in minutes, Faried’s counting stats of course suffered. He averaged just 9.6 points and 7.6 rebounds last season, which were both career lows, but was still effective around the rim and shot 55 percent from the field and 62 percent in the restricted area. Faried still possesses a ton of gravity when rolling to the rim, is Denver’s most athletic frontcourt player and also their best rebounder.
Faried’s name could continue to come up in trade chatter next year. The reason? Paul Millsap. Denver’s marquee free agent signing will start at power forward for the Nuggets on opening night and is penciled in for around 30-35 minutes per game. Faried, who started 34 games last year, is now a lock to come off the bench for Denver (unless injuries hit) and will have to fend off Trey Lyles and Darrell Arthur who hope to jostle him for minutes in the Nuggets’ frontcourt. Wilson Chandler and Juancho Hernangomez will also slide down to the four at times next season in smaller lineups making for a crowded power forward position.
Even with his deficiencies, Faried warrants more than the roughly 20 minutes per night that are available to him as things currently stand which could make him an attractive option to contenders looking to fill out their rotation. But no more than a few teams actually have enough cap space to take on Faried’s remaining salary this late in the offseason unless they sent a similar contract back Denver’s direction.
If he remains with the Nuggets this season, Faried wants to start but isn’t opposed to coming off the bench as he did at times last year.
“Honestly, yeah, I’m like still a competitor at the end of the day,” Faried said when asked if he prefers to start. “So if anybody asks me that, like yes, of course. Like you asked me now, yes at the end of the day, like you said, I’m a competitor so I’m going to want to fight to be in the five. That’s basically, hey, get the intros, and people (inaudible), that started my career, that really helped jumpstart my career. I was a starter and that’s how I take [sic]my career and that’s always how I took myself as a starter. It’s going to be kind of interesting because we’re going to have good battles at practice if I come off the bench. When I come off the bench I’m going to still play hard and care because at the end of the day it’s about the team.”