Kenneth Faried

Nuggets plan on opening contract extension talks with Kenneth Faried this summer


It wasn’t long ago that Kenneth Faried was considered untouchable by the Nuggets front office, due to the rare combination of athletic skill set and the high-energy style he consistently plays.

But a new GM took control prior to the start of last season, and Faried was off to a bit of a slow start. That caused his name to pop up in trade talks as the deadline approached, but wisely, Denver held onto what’s likely to be a critical piece of the team’s future.

Faried is under contract for next season, and the Nuggets can retain his rights as a restricted free agent by tendering a small qualifying offer the year after that. There’s not necessarily any hurry to lock him up with a long-term deal, but it appears as though the team will try to do so this summer.

From Chris Dempsey of the Denver Post:

The Nuggets plan to make Kenneth Faried a long-term fixture of their future by opening contract extension talks with the power forward and his agent, Thad Foucher, this summer.

“We’ll talk to his representation,” Nuggets general manager Tim Connelly told the Post. ” I think Kenneth is happy here. I think he’s really embraced what (Coach) Brian (Shaw) is trying to instill. Those are the type of guys that deserve to get paid.” …

Faried should be in line for a huge contract, probably under the $14-22 million a year the game’s top power forwards make, but more than say, the $9.5 million of a player such as Atlanta’s Paul Millsap.

The advantage the Nuggets have here is that players are often eager to sign this first extension after their rookie deal, in order to get that huge sum of guaranteed dollars in place as quickly as possible.

But Faried is not yet a max player, or even one that the team can justify paying as much as its star point guard Ty Lawson, whose deal averages $12 million per season. Faried is likely to be offered Larry Sanders-type money, somewhere in the four-year, $44 million range.

If Faried negotiates an opt-out after three years, and the Nuggets step up with an offer of $11 million per year, it’s tough to imagine a scenario where something doesn’t get done this offseason between the two parties.

Kings pick up option on G Ben McLemore

Ben McLemore, Rodney Hood
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) The Sacramento have picked up the 2016-17 option on guard Ben McLemore‘s contract.

General manager Vlade Divac announced the move Saturday.

McLemore was Sacramento’s first-round pick in 2013. He averaged 12.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists last season.

Paul George reiterates “I don’t know if I’m cut out for a four spot”

Paul George

In the Pacers first exhibition game of the season Saturday against the Pelicans, Paul George started at the power forward spot and looked healthy — that should be the big takeaway. He also showed off his offensive game in the first quarter, eventually finishing the night with 18 points on 7-of-15 shooting. He forced some shots in the second half and had some defensive challenges, but it was a solid outing for a first preseason game.

George did not see it that way, and that will end up being the big takeaway.

He complained about playing power forward during training camp and given the chance after this one game he did it again, as reported by Candace Buckner of the Indy Star.

“I don’t know if I’m cut out for a four spot,” George said after the Pacers’ 110-105 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans, a game in which he started matched up against 6-foot-11 All-Star Anthony Davis.

“I don’t know if this is my position. We’ll sit and watch tape and I’m sure I’ll talk with coach (Frank Vogel). I’ll talk with Larry (Bird) as well to get both their inputs on how the first game went but…I’m still not comfortable with it regardless of the situation. It’s still something I have to adjust to or maybe not. Or maybe it’s something we can go away from.”

George sees himself as a wing, where he has played his entire career. He doesn’t like defending traditional fours, as a scorer he doesn’t like expending all that energy defending pick-and-rolls and banging with bigger bodies. He’s been clear about that.

He still needs to be open to the idea. How much time George gets at the four on any given night should depend on the matchup — and Anthony Davis is about as rough a matchup as he is going to see. Davis scored 18 points in 15 minutes, and the Pelicans controlled the paint against the small-ball Pacers. George had a hard time defending Davis — welcome to a rather large club, PG. That said, George scored 12 points in the first quarter mostly with Davis on him, he pulled the big out in space and got what he wanted.

Back to the matchups point, George will struggle defensively against the best fours in the game (most of whom are in the West). But what about the nights in the East when George would be matched up on Thaddeus Young from Brooklyn, Jared Sullinger (or David Lee, or whoever) from Boston, or Aaron Gordon with the Magic, or Carmelo Anthony with the Knicks when they play small? There are a lot of lineups the Pacers will see where George at the four makes sense.

The Pacers are transitioning from a plodding and defensive-minded squad to a more up-tempo style, and that’s going to take time— a lot more than one preseason game. However, if George is throwing cold water on the plan after this one effort, it might take a lot longer and be a lot bumpier to make that transition than we pictured.