Kenneth Faried’s Strong FIBA Play Means Rising Price Is Worth It for Nuggets

If you’ve been watching the group-stage portion of the FIBA World Cup, chances are one player on Team USA has really stood out for you.

And, chances are, that player isn’t whom you expected it would be.

Denver Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried has exploded onto the scene, establishing himself as one of the most productive players in the entire tournament.

Here’s Nuggets assistant general manager Arturas Karnisovas from NBA.com on what Faried has accomplished:

Kenneth Faried is raising some eyebrows with his play here in Spain. But his World Cup success comes as no surprise to me and anyone who’s around Kenneth on a regular basis.

He brings effort and energy every day, and it was amazing to watch how he energized our team against Turkey. His effort was infectious. It resonated through our team and helped us get our edge back in the fourth quarter.

He has been great on the offensive glass, giving us second chance opportunities, running the floor and defending. I expect him to continue to do the same as the tournament continues.

Faried‘s ferocious offensive rebounding and hustle on both ends have certainly sparked Team USA on multiple occasions thus far, and in that sense, he’s been the emotional leader the team has really needed. Faried is capable of changing the course of a game, but he can also set the tone right off the bat.

Even though he seemed like a long shot to make the team a few months ago, let alone play a starting role, he’s rewarded both those decisions tenfold already. Faried isn’t getting it done with fancy moves or elite shooting, but he’s outworking each and every opponent he comes across. His motor is non-stop.

All that could lead to a very successful season for Faried, right at the perfect time. Although he’ll be eligible for contract extension until October 31, Faried will hit restricted free agency next summer if he can’t work out a deal with the Nuggets. 

Given his current ascension, it might not be a bad idea to bet on himself and wait for a substantial offer. He’s always been undervalued, but performing this well on a stage this large can change that in a hurry.

Here’s Grant Hughes for Bleacher Report:

If Faried carries his brilliant play from the World Cup to the regular season, he won’t be doing anything new. Though it seems like eons ago, Derrick Rose rode a breakout wave in the 2010 FIBA tourney to an MVP season with the Chicago Bulls.

It seems international tournaments have a way of preparing players for bigger things.

Buoyed by the confidence he’s building in Spain, Faried could be ready to take the kind of step that drags the Nuggets back into the playoff picture after a year spent in the lottery.

Denver’s not supposed to be in the postseason conversation—not in a brutal Western Conference that only seems to get tougher every year. But Faried is using his time with Team USA to prove he doesn’t really care where people think he belongs.

Hustle often gets overlooked as a skill, but Faried has it in spades. While he’s not a great defender overall thanks to lack of height (6’8″), length and rim-protection abilities, he’s one of the league’s very best rebounders who wins just about every 50-50 ball that’s in his zip code.

Faried wins possessions, and his evolution as a dangerous scorer around the basket area is trouble for opposing defenses.

Here’s what Faried told Zach Lowe of Grantland late last season:

They all used to say, ‘All he is, is an energy guy.’ That I was a guy who was gonna run and jump, and that I could only get you nine or 10 points, max. … 

Now people are saying, ‘Hey, maybe he can get you 15 or 20 a night’ and that I can do it without breaking a sweat.

Faried has become much more effective at scoring in traffic and getting points with his back to the basket. With stretch big men so popular right now, Faried is like the Kryptonite that can bully and outwork smaller and more finesse big men.

While there’s been some speculation about his personal ceiling and his future in Denver, it’s hard to imagine that the Nuggets are going to take what Faried brings to the table for granted.

Here’s what Nuggets GM Tim Connelly told Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post toward the end of last season:

We’ll talk to his representation. 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. …

Kenneth was great. I think there was an adjustment period with Kenneth and Brian. And for the last couple of months he was playing at as high a level as anybody. He’s the heart and soul of our team. His consistent energy and toughness, I was really happy to see. I think he grew this year. I think he really improved on both ends, not just the offensive end. He’s a guy that’s going to play a huge role in our success moving forward.

I’m hopeful that we’ll have good discussions this summer with his representation and we’ll see if we can’t figure something out.

Paying Faried a salary north of $10 million a season might be difficult, but with his stock on the rise and the best year of his career likely on the horizon, there’s a good chance that ends up being the asking price.

And while that isn’t ideal for Denver, this isn’t a team that stands to have much financial flexibility for a few years, anyhow.

Extending a big man who doesn’t protect the rim or offer much resistance defensively due to his limited length isn’t perfect, but as we’ve seen next to a great shot-blocker in Anthony Davis, Faried can be highly effective with the right personnel around him. His ceiling may be capped, but his floor is awfully high.

Faried‘s improved play late last season stayed mostly under wraps, as the national focus was well off a struggling and injury-ridden Nuggets team. Now with a legitimate chance to win the World Cup MVP award, the cat is out of the bag, and the price is likely going up. 

But so long as he can carry this positive momentum and high level of play into the regular season, having to shell out a little more money to keep him should be a worthy expenditure for the Nuggets. 

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Nick Young And Gilbert Arenas Go Old School Shooting On Fisher Price Hoop

The Los Angeles Lakers’ Nick Young and big-time scoring guard in his glory days Gilbert Arenas settle a bet, one shot each on a Fisher Price hoop. The game got very intense as Arenas buried three shots in a row and Young sunk two, however, Young’s last attempt was borderline questionable. Rules and regulations on Fisher Price hoops; does Young’s last shot count? Check out the clip. The post Nick Young And Gilbert Arenas Goes Old School Shooting On Fisher Price Hoop appeared first on Basketball Bicker.

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Nick Young and Gilbert Arenas Square Off in Ridiculous Fisher Price Shootout

Who wants to watch two grown men play Fisher Price basketball with a zeal typically reserved for school children?

If this sounds up your alley, prepare to feast your eyes on this shootout between Nick Young and Gilbert Arenas.

The Los Angeles Lakers guard and the baller in exile recently faced off in what can only be described as a battle of plastic rim titans. Thankfully, Swaggy P uploaded footage from the competition to Instagram, where it was spotted by John Ferensen of NextImpulseSports.com.

The two men played on what appears to be a Fisher Price version of a Goalrilla. To put it mildly, things got real.

Warning: Videos contain NSFW language and grown men swiveling their hips over a children’s game.

According to Young, the two were placing wagers on their long distance shots.

“It’s Gettin real in here vs [Arenas] we betting on these fisher-Price long distance shots,” Young wrote in his Instagram post.

There you have it, sports fans. Your new office victory dance. 

Next time you swish a paper ball in the wastebasket, make sure to point to a coworker and yell “Pro-fesh-onal!” 

Also, make sure you work the hips. Always work the hips.

 

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Celtics Asking Price for Rajon Rondo Trade Proves Boston Not Serious About Deal

If it seems like Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge is supervising a clever trade-deadline ruse, that’s because he is.

Probably.

Star point guard Rajon Rondo has long been considered obtainable. Not in the sense he’s expendable to Boston’s rebuilding project, but in that he could be nabbed for the right price.

According to Bulls.com’s Sam Smith, the “right price” at the moment includes two unprotected first-round draft picks, findings that Grantland’s Zach Lowe corroborates:

Sources told The Toronto Sun‘s Ryan Wolstat, meanwhile, Boston is seeking a “combination of at least one lottery pick and talented young player.”

Would you like fries with all that, Danny? Maybe a jumbo-sized fountain soda cup, too? And I don’t know, let’s say an arm, leg and whatever other appendages you’re fascinated with as well?

Three-time All-Stars (four selections) don’t come cheap and despite the New York Knickssilliest hopes, Rondo was never going to come cheap. But Boston’s current price exceeds cheap, crosses through costly, makes a pit stop at expensive and settles somewhere between highway robbery and unreasonable.

In the current trade market, where draft picks are held tighter than stress balls within a clenched fist, the Celtics are asking for too much. The combination of impact players and draft picks it would take to pry him out of Boston is too steep and a price few teams would be willing to pay.

One of the lone teams prepared to drain their asset pool is the Sacramento Kings, according to Yahoo! Sports’ Marc J. Spears, who was told by a source that the ”Kings and C’s discussed a deal involving Isaiah Thomas, Ben McLemore and a pick for Rajon Rondo, but Rondo wasn’t interested in re-signing with Sacramento and the Kings strongly value McLemore.”

Sacramento’s offer opens the flood gates of information for those of us (me, you, Betty White, etc.) who love dissecting the push and pull of trade rumors.

First, there’s a case to be made that the Kings are bonkers, in that they offered way, way (way) too much.

McLemore is a top-seven pick they’re less than a year removed from drafting, and Spears writes they’re still high on him. That matters. Trading him would be like selling your house. You value it way more than potential buyers will, but that sentimental value—in this case, projected potential—plays a role in negotiations. If the Kings consider McLemore a building block, they must view him as such in a trade.

Then there’s Thomas, Mr. Irrelevant turned starting point guard for the NBA‘s 13th-ranked offense. Packaging him with so many other valuable assets for a point guard like Rondo who, while talented, is still recovering from an ACL injury, strikes me as odd.

ESPN’s Ethan Strauss feels the same way:

Lowe offers a nice rebuttal to Strauss’ argument, though:

Both Lowe and Strauss make valid points, neither of which prove Thomas should be immovable or has a higher ceiling than Rondo. But he’s at least valuable. 

Finally, we have those draft picks, or draft pick. We’re not entirely clear on how many Sacramento is offering. Spears’ report was amended to what’s written above (one), but initially, there was believed to be a second pick involved. Either way, whether the Kings were dangling one or two draft picks, their proposed package was fantastic.

And yet, we’re led to believe Boston was forced to decline the offer because Rondo wasn’t interested in re-signing with Sacramento. While likely true, it’s more revealing about the Celtics’ plans than it is about Rondo’s future in Beantown.

If the Celtics are going to limit themselves to teams Rondo would (likely) commit to, they’re never going to receive an offer like this again. Restricting those they deal with based on Rondo’s preferences most likely means negotiating with contenders, teams one piece shy of contending or, most notably, big markets.

Those teams—like the Knicks, for instance—won’t be ready and willing to offer a package rivaling Sacramento’s, because they won’t have that many assets.

On the flip side, shopping outside Rondo’s realm of desire results in what we’re doing here: discussing a promising proposition derailed by Rondo’s distaste for the team he’s being dealt to. 

Ainge and the Celtics are smart enough to know this. The early stages of their rebuild—from Kevin Garnett‘s and Paul Pierce‘s departures right down to the Courtney Lee trade—has been deliberate and calculated. Nothing has happened by accident or chance.

Boston—Ainge, specifically—knows the stakes. The Celtics know that if they actually want to deal Rondo, they must lower their asking price. They know his trade value, in theory, only decreases beyond this season, when a potential 18-month rental turns into a possible 12- or sixth-month hire. 

They know this. They know all of it.

Days away from the trade deadline, though, the Celtics still haven’t budged. Not even slightly. That says all we and the NBA’s most fervid suitors need to know.

“What’s real is, he’s going nowhere,” Ainge told The Boston Globe‘s Baxter Holmes in November. “That’s what’s real.”

Those words ring true three months later, at a time when Rondo has been portrayed as available in the “right deal,” when no trade that is both realistic and capable of slaking Boston’s growing demands exists.

 

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What was the price of Ray Allen’s defection?

One of the lasting visuals from last night’s return of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett’s return to the Boston Garden was the zoom in on the two empty spots on the retired number banner. Placed next to each other, side by side, the arrangement appears to be that someday, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett will have another day together, having their numbers retired in unison to the Garden rafters.
Yet, when Kevin Garnett joined Paul Pierce back in 2007 in order to help Pierce win the championship he so desperately coveted, another veteran player, one who was also missing a ring from his resume, was brought in to help the team win. Ray Allen, the longtime Milwaukee and Seattle shooting-guard was brought in to provide shooting and offensive punch to pair with Paul Pierce on the wing and create more scoring threat.
While Paul Pierce was the brash, confident leader and captain of the team and Kevin Garnett was the loud, energetic and tough anchor of the middle, Ray Allen exuded only a quiet confidence. Everyone knew

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Rajon Rondo’s Long-Term Place Still With Celtics, As Long As Price Is Reasonable

BOSTON — Ever since he became a key part of the Boston Celtics’ rotation, Phil Pressey has talked about the influence Rajon Rondo has had on his development. As fellow point guards, it only makes sense that the teammates occasionally put their heads together.
Yet Pressey doesn’t want to give the wrong impression. He’s not special. Rondo hasn’t taken any special interest in him because he plays the same position or out of pity for the undrafted rookie.
Nope, Rondo is that way with all his teammates, Pressey said. And that is what makes Rondo so invaluable.
“He’s always telling somebody what they should be doing, what he sees,” Pressey said. “Whatever can help us win, that’s what he’s trying to do. That’s one of the biggest things I’ve picked up from him being our point guard, him being the leader of our team. He’s always talking, always communicating with his teammates and, if you look, you can see it helps us out a lot.”
This is the side of Rondo few outsiders see and that many p

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Rumor: Celtics and Cavs couldn’t agree on price for Jeff Green

As the smoke clears from the Omer Asik/Jeff Green rumors this past week, Bob Finnan of the News Herald is reporting the Cavs’ would have had to part ways with Anderson Varejao or a first round pick to acquire the services of the Celtics’ Jeff Green — a price Chris Grant and the Cavs weren’t willing to pay. If the Cavs had been willing to sacrifice either backup center Anderson Varejao or their 2014 first-round pick, they probably could have been involved in a three-way deal that headlined disgruntled Rockets center Omer Asik this week. They weren’t, so they didn’t. – Bob Finnan, The News Herald After initially putting a deadline on trading Asik, the Rockets now have said they are not looking to move the Turkish big man for the time being. The Cavs were rumored to be the third team in deals that would send Asik to either Philadelphia or Boston. Cavs’ owner Dan Gilbert is on record of saying he wants the Cavs in the playoffs this spring, but with a loaded 2014 draft and the Cavs getti…

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Is Nick Young ‘Kobe Lite’ at a Dollar Store Price?

Nick ‘Swaggy P’ Young blazed an erratic orbit over the past six seasons with three NBA teams. The Los Angeles Lakers offered him a minimum salary contract this summer, hoping to capture lightning in a bottle at a dollar-store price.

First, it’s worth noting that Young’s a local product. The pride of Cleveland High in Reseda, as well as USC, he was the 16th overall pick in the 2007 draft and spent four-and-a-half seasons with the Washington Wizards, confounding coaches and fans alike.

Young went on to play 22 games with the Clippers, plus one full season with the Philadelphia 76ers. His lone gunman mentality that fed an irrepressible appetite for mad dunks and to chuck the ball up at will followed every step of the way.

Witness just a few brief snippets from Michael Baumann’s tremendous long-form piece in Liberty Ballers:

Nick Young may be the least rational player in the NBA. His game is a love song to the impulsive, the hedonistic, the do-what-feels-right-now-and-damn-the-consequences.

He is at his most endearing when he is at his most harmful to the team. He is the rejection of the orderly, personified. There is nothing managed, or cultivated, or even adult about him. He gives the impression of being endlessly fascinated by basketball, and every sense, he plays with an intensity and a get-up-and-go that makes you wonder if he’s discovering the game anew every time he steps on the floor.

Nick Young is staying out until last call. Nick Young is the thrill of the chase. Nick Young is going commando. Nick Young is Red Bull instead of coffee. Nick Young is not the kind of basketball player you bring home to meet your parents. Nick Young is played by Jack Black in the movie version. Nick Young is too busy having fun to give a good goddamn about your stern disapproval.

 

Dan Devine from Ball Don’t Lie also captures the essence of Young:

The cold reality, of course, is that Nick Young will break your heart; Wizards fans know this all too well. He will shoot you out of games, he will disinterestedly defend you out of games, he will refuse to pass you out of games, he will lackadaisically not-box-out you out of games—he is an incredibly versatile player, lose-you-games–wise. But in those moments when the shot’s falling, when everything’s clicking and his joy is irrepressible…he’s pure and unadulterated fun in a way that few NBA players are. There’s room for that. There has to be.

 

Okay, so fine. That was Young then, but it’s all ancient history. He’s with the Lakers now—the team with all the banners, the team with the eye eternally on the prize, the team that spends big to win big…the team that prides itself on a solid big-cap methodology.

Right? Maybe not so much so. Once one of the slowest, most system-driven half-court offenses in the NBA, the Lakers no longer have that identity. Gone is the guy who won 11 rings as a coach, gone is the biggest payroll in basketball. And, as of the end of this season, gone will be the highest salary in the league.

Kobe Bryant’s $30 million is coming off the books.

There’s about to be a new world order. Well, maybe. Nothing is certain in sports. But there is at least a rough draft. And there is also one absolute certainty—Bryant, whether he comes back successfully from Achilles surgery or not, is in the winter of his career.

With barely anything on the books for next year, the Lakers are looking toward free agency. They’re stockpiling reclamation projects this season, young players with a ton of talent and just as many question marks. They are looking to build a nucleus on the cheap. Young, as flighty a player as he is, is an important part of the plan.

Here’s Young going off for 30, against The Lakers:

 

Nick Young is getting the courtside celebs out of their seats. Nick Young is allowing Mike D’Antoni to run and gun to his heart’s content. Nick Young is make Kobe Bryant stare and shake his head.

There used to be another no-conscience gunner for the Purple and Gold, remember? When Bryant was drafted, Young was still in middle school. Nobody’s foolish enough to believe that Young can be the next Kobe. That ship sailed long ago. But, Young can bring the fireworks—and for a price.

For all of the free-wheeling, ignore-your-teammates reputation, there is a very real connectivity to the Lakers. Young grew up around here, was shaped by events on and off the court, including the murder of an older brother. And when he was going through tough academic times in high school, he was helped by none other than current teammate Jordan Farmar.

Andy Kamenetzky interviewed Young for ESPN Los Angeles, as part of a series entitled “The L.A. in my Game.” Here, Young talks about the Farmar connection:

One day, he sent me, like, Christmas. I got a package from Jordan Farmar and I was shocked. It was some SAT books, something he told me to study on. He used them. They worked for him. And he had a note that said you need this opportunity because you’re a great player and a great person. Anything I can do, I want to help and I want you to take full advantage of it. And the letter blew me away, because it’s another player in high school sending me something like that. I gained the most respect for him and from there on, we’ve stayed the best of friends.

 

So there’s a different side to Young, the guy who’s not just a shoot-happy heartbreaker but there for the team, right? Um, maybe. Sometimes you just gotta be who you are. On Friday against the Pelicans, he put up 13 points, had three boards, no assists and no steals. Plus he fouled out. That’s Swaggy time.

Look, for a little over a million bucks, Young can offer caffeine and sugar to the hometown faithful. If Kobe comparisons seem like rampant headline-grabbing that’s okay—Nick Young is all about the headlines. Or, as Michael Baumann said:

Nick Young is the diametric opposite of how I try to live my life. But he’s the perfect representation of how I want to live it. And today, I love him. We’ll let tomorrow take care of itself.

 

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Price working to fix Kidd-Gilchrist’s jumper (Yahoo Sports)

Charlotte Bobcats' Michael Kidd-Gilchrist takes a shot during practice at NBA basketball training camp in Asheville, N.C., Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Bobcats assistant coach Mark Price said fixing Michael Kidd-Gilchrist’s jump shot is akin to performing major reconstructive surgery: It’s going to take some time.


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Lamar Odom learns the true price of fame

Odom’s NBA career could be permanently derailed by his highly public personal life.

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