Kenneth Faried is having a breakout World Cup — he is a starter and the glue guy on an undefeated Team USA that has won every game by at least 21 points, he’s averaging 12.5 points a game on 67.6 percent shooting, and he’s pulling down a team best 7.9 rebounds a game. His blue collar, high energy game turned out to be just what Team USA needed.
But how much is that worth in the NBA?
We’re about to find out, because unless Denver reaches a contract extension deal with him by Halloween (and that is highly unlikely) Faried will be a restricted free agent next summer. The market will set his price (as might the trade market, Denver has tested the market for him for a year now).
What is that price has widely varying opinions around the NBA. Faried brings energy, he brings rebounds, his hustle gets him points, but he doesn’t create his own shot nor is he a particularly good defender. In the right setting he can lift a team to a new level, but he’s not your No. 1 or maybe even second offensive option.
That said, his breakout World Cup performance likely bumped his new salary up into the eight digits, according to the executives Sean Deveney of the Sporting News spoke with.
Before the last few months, one general manager said, Faried might have been, “in the Paul Millsap or Taj Gibson range.” Millsap is slated to make $9.5 million next year, while Gibson will get $8 million. But given what’s happened since March, Faried could be pushing into an, “Al Jefferson kind of deal, maybe more.”
Jefferson is slated to make $13.7 million next year. He averaged 21.8 points and 10.8 rebounds last year, shooting 50.9 percent from the field. “If they continue to play the way they did in the second half (of last season) and get the ball to Faried more offensively, he is going to put up numbers close to Jefferson’s but he is a much, much better defensive player, too,” the East GM said.
But is a Denver team that will have better offensive players like Danilo Gallinari (back from injury) and Arron Afflalo (acquired via trade) on the roster going to lean on Faried to score as much?
Still, in a world where Chandler Parsons and Gordon Hayward each will make $14.7 million next season, isn’t Faried in that ballpark at least? Quality bigs are hard to come by and Faried is that. Then again so is Greg Monroe and he couldn’t get a deal done and is now going to play next season for the qualifying offer.
There are no clean, easy answers here with Faried. But the man is playing like a guy about to get seriously paid. One way or another.