Trading someone who has out-preformed their rookie contract is one of the hardest things to do as a general manager. Should the Nuggets decide to trade Kenneth Faried, it will be difficult to pull off, but if it works it could help the Nuggets out, as a team, tremendously.
Look, we all love Manimal. His energy is infectious and he has the ability to excite an audience that few others possess in the league. His elite rebounding skills and his work around the hoop make him Dennis Rodman-esque. However, his deficiencies (particularly in guarding pick and rolls and his lack of offensive game outside of put backs and dunks) are what, maybe, make him incompatible with the new offensive approach set out by new coach Brian Shaw. So if you are the Nuggets, what do you do?
Obviously, if you have a (currently affordable) asset like Faried, you want to see if he will adapt to the new approach by Shaw and become a dominant power forward in an offense that emphasizes power forwards and centers. That's the hope. However, if you come to the conclusion that Manimal would be best suited on another team you are obligated to ask, inquire and hopefully get an acceptable trade. This is what it increasingly looks like what the Nuggets can and should do. Here is why ...
On Friday, October 18th the Utah Jazz announced that power forward/center Derrick Favors had agreed to terms on an extension with the team for four-years, $49 million (with incentives included). Good for Favors ... not particularly good for teams that have to extend contracts to power forwards in the next year or so. Now, Favors' contract is the bell-weather and those whose stats are more impressive than Favors so far (ie: Manimal) may be looking at that contract and saying "I can beat that!"
Can the Nuggets afford to throw over $50 million at a player like Manimal when their two best players (Ty Lawson and Danilo Gallinari) will be making substantially less ($40 million for Gallo, $48 million for Ty) than a player who is less "complete" than them? In general, is it good business practice to pay out that kind of extension on a team that is in the situation where the Nuggets are now? The Nuggets reside in a tipping point and an additional long term commitment may not be in their best financial interest at the moment. As it stands right now, with a dramatically new offensive approach, and the financial commitment that could potentially be due - the Nuggets need to make a move.
What can the Nuggets get in return? Well, due to Faried's rookie deal it will be hard to get equal value. The new CBA prohibits extensions OVER three years from being allowed in an extend and trade, so it's likely that any trade would have to be a fairly large package of players to get any deal of substance completed. However, I fully believe that any package that involves Faried as the lead piece would be attractive to several teams out there who are hungry for an exciting, high-energy, fan friendly player who thrives in an uptempo free form system of offense and defense.
In the grand scheme of things, if the Nuggets are going to go a certain direction, they must commit to it. Part of that commitment is understanding that some square pegs just don't fit in that round hole. A trade that features Manimal, sends out some of the Nuggets redundancy (either at point guard or power forward) and helps shore up the team's obvious weakness (shooting) can only benefit their new direction. As I said before, this is a season in transition. The team is courting a new identity, and that particular approach seems to be one that leaves Kenneth Faried as a loose end.
Maybe it's time for the Nuggets to go all in?