The NBA season is set to kick off in less than two weeks but that doesn’t mean the NBA trade rumors are going to quiet down anytime soon as Kenneth Faried is quite unhappy with the Denver Nuggets. Could the Celtics be interested?
The Nuggets signed Paul Millsap this summer, which means Faried is headed for a reserve role. He has been quite outspoken about how he only wants to be a starter.
“I’ll just put it out there for everybody. I’m not a bench player,” Faried told the Denver Post last week. “I’ve been saying that for the longest [time]. I’m a starter. I love to hear the crowd [when introduced], ‘Starting at power forward, No. 35, Kenneth Faried.’ Yes, that’s me. One hundred percent that’s been my whole life. And I’m going to fight for a starting position. I’m just not going to lay down and let somebody take it.
“There are 29 other teams [in the NBA],” Faried said. “If this team doesn’t want or respect me enough to play me minutes that I think I deserve to play, then I understand that. Hey, there’s 29 others. Maybe I’ll go somewhere else and do what I need to do there. But at the same token, I’m here in Denver and I want to play Manimal basketball no matter what, every time I step on the court.”
It’s rare that an NBA player is so open about his frustration with a situation, particularly during the preseason and training camp when everything’s supposed to be hunky dory.
Faried’s rebounding numbers have dipped a tad since his high-water mark of 9.2 boards per game in 2012-13. To be fair to Faried, however, he has seen plenty of change in philosophy during his time in Denver as he’s on his fourth head coach. In addition, he’s only 27-years-old and still brings a noticeable amount of energy to the court every time he plays.
Faried would be just what the doctor ordered for the rebound-deprived Celtics and he could slide right into the Celtics current starting lineup, which lacks a true power forward.
Danny Ainge and the Celtics are in an interesting spot right now in that they still have valuable trade assets that could land yet another All-Star caliber player, but the timing just might not be right. As we saw with the Kyrie Irving trade, Ainge is the definition of a go-big or go-home GM. The whispers around the NBA have Ainge and the Celtics focused on 2018-19 as the time to finalize a roster that can go toe-to-toe with Golden State (i.e. trade for Anthony Davis). If that is the case then Ainge will have to hold onto all of the remaining draft picks he has (Memphis, the Lakers/Kings pick, Celtics own picks). He can’t go wasting those trade assets on a player like Faried – who is excellent, but not franchise-altering like a Davis.
Of course, the Celtics as currently constructed are one Kevin Durant or Steph Curry injury away from being able to go toe-to-toe with the Warriors. If the Celtics gel quickly and look like legit title contenders with Irving running the show, then Ainge might pick up the phone and call Arturas Karnisovas in regards to Faried.
If Faried becomes a bona fide distraction for a Nuggets team looking to get into the upper-echelon of the Western Conference this season, then it’s a possibility that they could entertain a trade with the Celtics that would not involve draft picks. A trade involving Marcus Smart and Marcus Morris heading to Denver in exchange for Faried would work money-wise.
The Nuggets have three players jockeying for a starting point guard role in Jameer Nelson, Emmanuel Mudiay and Jamal Murray, so obtaining Smart would add to that logjam.
The Celtics and Nuggets would have to get mighty creative to do a Faried trade, so don’t hold your breath, but if Faried truly is on the market then Ainge will absolutely do his due diligence.