Originally written on Hardwood Gold Rush  |  Last updated 2/25/15
Giving Kenneth Faried contract extension before next summer would be a mistake for the Denver Nuggets (Photo: Howcheng) The Denver Nuggets are planning to negotiate a contract extension with Kenneth Faried’s agent this summer. Signing Faried prior to the October 31 deadline could prove to be a mistake. Instead, the Nuggets should wait until next summer to properly assess the fourth year power forward’s true value to the team. There is a narrative about how great Faried was after the NBA All-Star break. His first half numbers were very close to his career averages (slightly below). A minor decline could be expected with a new coach, implementing a new offensive system and having to compete for playing time with JJ Hickson. Upon closer inspection, Faried’s second half was not what it is made out to be. As displayed in this graph, Faried’s stats from the first half of this season were very close to his career averages. Brian Shaw’s team faced many trials and tribulations throughout his first season in the Mile High City, from injuries and pre-game junk food binges to difficulty grasping the coach’s new system. All of this created a perfect storm for Faried to play much better than he ever has and mostly likely, ever will again. Basically, Faried has hit his apex in value for the Nuggets as a player and thus as a tradable commodity. Over the course of the 31 games after the all-star break, Faried averaged 18.8 points and 10.1 rebounds. He also had 15 double-doubles in that time, with the Nuggets going 6-9 in those games. The Nuggets sat at 24-27 at the all-star break and went 12-19 after. The Nuggets had very little hope of making the playoffs in the second half of the season never getting within less than 3 games under .500. The injury-riddled roster meant that Shaw was left with no better option than to let the Manimal loose on the offensive end of the floor. Naturally, this led to Faried’s numbers improving. Should the Nuggets decide to extend Faried prior to October, they will pay him more than he will be worth to them on the court in the years to come. Faried is rumored to be seeking a deal similar in value to the one Derrick Favors received from the Utah Jazz (4 years, $49 million). A deal of that stature would make Faried the highest paid player on the Nuggets with an annual salary of about $12 million. The end result would be Denver getting stuck with an albatross of a contract, for a player that does not live up to his price tag. Clearly, the Nuggets have their reservations about committing to Faried, as he has been mentioned in trade rumors since Connelly’s arrival. His name was most recently involved in a possible Kevin Love deal before the NBA Draft in June. Instead, the team re-acquired Arron Afflalo, which will mean even less opportunity for Faried on offense. In other words, it is all but guaranteed that Faried will not average 18 points per game this season as the third or fourth best player for the Nuggets. Faried will be a restricted free agent next summer if he is not signed to an extension prior to October 31. This means that Connelly and the Nuggets could match any offer received. It also means Denver has the luxury of seeing how Faried performs this season. They could get him at a bargain in comparison to his current value or allow the market to set his value. The team could very likely choose to deal as they are averse to paying the luxury tax and they are already flirting with that mark this season with $70.2 million in salary – the luxury tax is set at $77 million for 2014-15. Next season would be even tighter with $50.6 million committed and an Afflalo extension and a back up point guard to be factored in as well. Unless Connelly can free up some space. then Faried could easily be moved in a larger deal. With the way this team has seemed to stock up on assets, it seems that the other shoe is still waiting to drop. Follow Peter Sherwill on Twitter @hardwoodgold and like Hardwood Gold Rush on Facebook.
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