For what seems like the gazillionth time, the Denver Nuggets are thinking about trading Kenneth Faried.
When those rumors started a couple of years ago, they didn’t really make much sense at the time. Faried was still one of the top youngsters on the Nuggets, their frontcourt was thin, and he was making virtually no money (well, by NBA standards).
Now, well, things have changed.
Denver is looking to clear the logjam in a frontline which includes Faried, Nikola Jokic and Jusuf Nurkic, with the latter two appearing to be more in the Nuggets’ future plans than Faried.
Jokic had a magnificent rookie campaign last season, and Nurkic is oozing with potential.
However, neither will be able to reach their true ceiling unless ample playing time is available.
With Faried in tow, that doesn’t seem possible.
So, it makes perfect sense that Denver is looking to move the 26-year-old.
The question is: Should the Boston Celtics jump on this?
Well, let’s examine what Faried brings to the table.
What we know is that he is a hyper-athletic big man who is fantastic in the pick-and-roll due to his ability to rise above defenders and finish at the rim. We also know that he is a solid rebounder, averaging 11.8 boards per 36 minutes throughout his career.
On the other side of the coin, he is a poor defender who doesn’t protect the rim despite his athleticism. His game offensively is also very limited, as he possesses no range whatsoever and doesn’t have much of a post repertoire to speak of.
Basically, he is Marcus Camby offensively. The problem is that Camby was absolutely awesome on the defensive end. Faried is, well, not.
Would Faried fit into what the Celtics are trying to do?
Here’s the thing: Boston is a very good defensive team. It has terrific perimeter defenders and now has two solid interior defenders in Amir Johnson and the newly-acquired Al Horford.
Based on that, the C’s may be able to hide Faried’s deficiencies defensively, as their guards are good enough to prevent constant dribble penetration and Horford and Johnson are stout enough to clean up Faried’s mistakes.
Still, whenever you have a bad defensive player on the floor, you are obviously making your defense worse as a whole.
Would Faried provide enough for the Celtics offensively to compensate for his defensive shortcomings?
Surely, Faried would provide Isaiah Thomas with a terrific pick-and-roll partner. The big man is very explosive, able to quickly get to the rim and either finish a lob from Thomas or act as a decoy to draw the defense away from the floor general.
He could also actually assist in floor spreading by sucking the defense in, allowing Boston’s perimeter shooters space to get open looks.
To be perfectly honest, the C’s seem like a pretty ideal fit for Faried, as they can maximize his offensive talents and mitigate his defensive limitations.
But herein lies the problem: the cost.
Faried is in the second year of a four-year, $60 million deal. He will be making just over $12 million this season, and in this market, that’s a steal.
Overall, Faried is on a pretty team-friendly contract. It’s anything but an albatross, and even with his flaws, it will probably end up paying off for his team n the long run.
That means the Nuggets will likely be asking for a rather substantial package for the Morehead State product, a package that the Celtics may not be willing to surrender.
We know Boston is stocked with assets. It has draft picks out the wazoo, and it also has several young players who may interest Denver in trade talks.
But when you have something to give up, rival executives are going to ask for it.
It seems highly doubtful that Danny Ainge would part with one of the final two Brooklyn Nets picks that the C’s own, and it seems equally likely that the Nuggets would ask for one of those selections in return.
The Celtics do have other picks to trade, and it’s entirely possible that Denver general manager Tim Connelly would be willing to meet them halfway and accept a deal that doesn’t involve the prized Nets picks, but right now, that probably wouldn’t be the case.
The catch is that the Nuggets don’t have to trade Faried at the current point in time. Would dealing him be wise? Probably, as it would open up playing time for Jokic and Nurkic while adding other assets to the stable, but they don’t have to bypass patience in doing so.
Denver can absolutely take its time here and wait for the best possible offer. After all, Faried is under contract for three more years, so there is no sense of urgency to trade him before he walks.
However, there is no reason Boston can’t at least check in with the Connelly and Co. and put something on the table.
Again, Faried is one of those guys who needs to be in a place where he fits well. He’s a complementary player rather than a star.
But the C’s are one of those teams where Faried could probably slide right in.
We still don’t know what the Nuggets will decide to do, but the Celtics should give them a call.