Welcome to mid-August, when half-game differences and tennis tournament series give you an excuse to talk about anything other than preseason football. Even in the 24/7 NBA calendar, it is a bunch of morass and one-year vet minimum deals; NBA Twitter actively celebrated the move of a reporter to The Athletic today, to tell you how things are going (but congratulations, Shams!).
Even the deal cycle has quieted. Things happen leading up to the draft, the draft happens and then free agency opens at the beginning of July, leaving teams and players to meet at their presupposed halfway destinations, announcing deals at 12:02 a.m. and keeping up the charade that players and teams don’t make contact before midnight so as to not entangle themselves in the league’s web of legalese.
All of this is to say, how is it possible that embodied trade rumor Kenneth Faried did not generate the noise we all expected upon his exit from Denver? How could the Nuggets have been functional at all without a league source in the ear of somebody who knew something, who knew something about (presumably) Brooklyn’s foaming-mouth desire for the Morehead State product?
The forward, who, as of this writing, is gloriously maintaining dreadlocks into his eighth NBA season, has been a living trade rumor since at least his second season in the NBA. But that loses sight of what he actually did as a player.
Now going into his age-29 season with a new franchise, the man once dubbed “The Manimal” was once a monstrous presence for the Denver Nuggets, posting double-double-esque numbers for the better parts of six seasons and starting the majority of his games when healthy. He notched career-highs in points (13.7), field goal attempts (10.3), usage rate (21.3 percent) and rebounds (8.9) in 2013-14 while hitting his career average in true-shooting percentage (57.3 percent), and he has slowly regressed since then. Most notably, he played a career-low in minutes in 2017-18.
As a legitimate freak athlete-cum-basketball player, Faried has always fit the bill. He’s 6-foot-8, with the confidence of Draymond Green and the skill set of ABA-era George McGinnis. There’s a reason he was somewhat — but only somewhat — sought after for the duration of his time in Denver.
This isn’t hyperbole — Kenneth Faried has done some insane things on the basketball court. In 2014, he racked up 26 and 25 against the Minnesota Timberwolves, themselves no strangers to low post shock and awe. In 2012, he logged 16 and 20 against the LeBron-era Heatles. In between, he logged numbers that had fantasy owners beginning rebuttals with, “…But his rebounding!”
Faried drastically tailed off this past year, and of course the minutes are partially to blame for that. In July, the Nuggets finally traded Faried in what amounted to a salary dump, throwing Darrell Arthur and a couple of future draft picks into an otherwise-uninspiring trade that (whispers, but so that you can hear rightly!) lost headlines to Jeremy Lin’s move to Atlanta.
It is the perfect cross-section of things that would transpire ahead of a Kenneth Faried trade, and now, he’s got the chance to prove himself for what amounts to his hometown team, having grown up in Newark, NJ. He’s got Jarrett Allen (quickly, while you’re here: I’m ALL aboard the Jarrett Allen train), a revitalized Spencer Dinwiddie, a cast of slowly-but-surely maturing youngsters and a city that will embrace literally any good basketball that comes its way as a backdrop. Faried could be the complementary piece the Nets have always sought.