According to Grantland's Zach Lowe, the Nuggets have gauged Faried's value around the league over the past month or so, a report he himself also says Denver denies:
Multiple sources around the league have reported in the last month that Denver has put out targeted feelers on Faried, gauging his value and demanding very good return. The Nuggets, for their part, deny they've put Faried's name out there at all. Faried is entering the third season of his four-year rookie deal, and given his per-game numbers, he figures to get paid on his next contract. If the Nuggets believe Faried has hit his ceiling, and that his game lacks the all-around polish Brian Shaw has said he wants from his big men, it would make sense for Denver to see what it can get.
The Manimal—who is one part athleticism, two parts endless supplies of energy—is entering his third season in the NBA and has emerged as one of Denver's brightest prospects. Valued for his unbridled efforts and on the verge of becoming a double-double machine, Faried's a player almost any team would be willing to make room for on the roster. If the Nuggets decide to move him, there will be no shortage of takers.
Finding a palpable fit, however, will be difficult because Faried is still on his rookie deal. Players who can have the kind of statistical impact he does don't typically earn fewer than $2 million a year. Securing adequate value in return for him may prove impossible.
Faried's departure also isn't a sure thing, or even likely, because it remains unclear whether the Nuggets are actually shopping him. Current chatter could be completely false.
But the idea is officially in our heads. There is usually at least a shred of truth to every rumor, suggesting that the Nuggets are more complicit in this than they would have us believe.
Which means now is the time to acclimate ourselves to the idea of Faried playing elsewhere.
Denver Nuggets Get: F Thaddeus Young (trade exception) and a 2018 lottery-protected first-round pick
Philadelphia 76ers Get: F Darrell Arthur and F Kenneth Faried
Why Denver Does It: Young is a far more well-rounded forward than Faried. His defense and scoring could replace that lost in Andre Iguodala, and he stretches the floor more than Faried can.
With J.J. Hickson, Timofey Mozgov and JaVale McGee on the roster, there's little reason to search for another post-oriented player in return. Young can body up on the block if need be, but he can also create his own shot, something Faried isn't known for.
Most of the Nuggets' trade exception from Iggy's departure is used up here, but the price is well worth it if they can net a future first-round pick.
Why Philly Does It: In case you haven't noticed, the Sixers are tanking. They won't lose any sleep if Nerlens Noel misses the entire 2013-14 season because, well, winning is their enemy at the moment.
Removing Young from the rotation takes away who would've been Philly's leading or second-leading scorer. In other words, it promotes losing. Also, if Andrew Wiggins is the ultimate goal, Young's departure alleviates any potential logjam there may have been at the 3. Sure, Young can play the 4, but Faried's a much better fit there as a rebounder.
Selling the acquisition of Faried won't be difficult, either. A future tandem of him and Noel is an intriguing fit down low, and he provides instant rebounding to a team that won't be crashing the glass very hard this year anyway.
Why It Might Not Work: Young adds salary to Denver's payroll. Though the Nuggets aren't the stingiest franchise, they'll presumably be trading Faried because they don't want to pay him. Committing $8-plus million annually to Young over the next two to three years might not sit well with management.
The only way Philly truly hangs up the phone when Denver comes calling here is if it's not confident it will be a contender by 2018 or if Brett Brown is opposed to double-doubles.
Boston Celtics Get: F Kenneth Faried and PG Andre Miller
Denver Nuggets Get: F Jeff Green (trade exception) and F Jared Sullinger
Why Denver Does It: Once more, we're assuming Brian Shaw is looking for a more polished product at the 4; Green can be that product.
Faried isn't the scorer Green is, and trading for someone who can create his own offense while also spacing the floor (38.5 percent from deep in 2012-13) is something the Nuggets can't pass on. Green had a tendency to disappear for stretches at a time last year, but for what he brings defensively on the perimeter, the potential turbulence on offense is worth it.
Sullinger is a fragile prospect and undersized for his position. He hoards rebounds at a godly level, but it's unclear what Boston's plan is for him long term. In Denver, he would be useful off the bench, next to Hickson in the post.
Why Boston Does It: Beantown, I give you your new center. Seriously, with the way Faried can rebound, he would see minutes at the 5 for the Celtics.
Brad Stevens' crew currently lacks forces in the middle, and though he's only 6'8", Faried plays like he's 6'11" or taller. Future fast breaks between him and Rajon Rondo would also give Celtics fans something to dream about as the team delves deeper into Operation Andrew Wiggins.
Speaking of Rondo, he's injured. Did you now that? I'm sure you did. Avery Bradley will have to shoulder most of the playmaking duties while he's on the bench. That should be fun...if the most un-fun thing ever is actually what you consider fun. Miller injects emergency playmaking into the starting lineup and presents a serviceable backup option if and when Rondo does return.
Why It Might Not Work: As will become a prevailing theme, we don't know what the Nuggets may or may not be looking for in return. Faried holds ample value, we know that much. But is Green the type of player they would accept in return or is he too expensive? Or perhaps not good enough?
Should the Celtics intend to build around Rondo, they may want Green there next to him. Trading him, then, for an offensively limited Faried wouldn't make much sense.
Related: I don't think the Celtics ultimate plan is to build around Rondo.
Atlanta Hawks Get: F Kenneth Faried and C Timofey Mozgov
Denver Nuggets Get: F Paul Millsap (trade exception)
Why Denver Does It: Millsap is available to be traded as of December 15 and is on a very reasonable two-year contract. He stretches the floor in ways Faried likely never will and is much more valuable on the offensive end in general.
Rebounds don't come as frequently for Millsap, but again, the Nuggets are anything other than thin up front. Scoring needs to be more of the focus in Denver, where Hickson, McGee and Mozgov are all limited offensively.
Why Atlanta Does It: At 28, Millsap is who he is. He's going to score a lot of points and grab some rebounds, but while there's room for improvement, he's not a future All-Star.
Could Faried be one? Maybe. He's only 23 and already a double-double machine in the making. Atlanta doesn't have a perpetual double-double threat on the roster, not even in Al Horford. Landing one would definitely be something that interests them.
Presently, the Hawks also lack a true backup center. Horford is a stud at the 5, but he's been injured in the past and isn't going to run for the full 48 minutes. Still incredibly raw three years into his career, Mozgov is an overbearing presence at 7'1". Enough said.
Why It Might Not Work: Once again, the Nuggets would have to use a part of their trade exception created in the Iguodala trade. While Millsap is a force on the offensive end, he's no defensive stopper. If Denver isn't hellbent on winning now, the absence of draft picks acts as a deterrent here as well.
Atlanta also won't necessarily want to give up Millsap. With him, the Hawks still figure to be a playoff team. Switching him out for Faried could damage their postseason chances for the next year or two.
Denver Nuggets Get: F/C Greg Monroe
Detroit Pistons Get: F John Henson and F Ersan Ilyasova
Milwaukee Bucks Get: F Kenneth Faried, F Jonas Jerebko, F Anthony Randolph and a 2016 lottery-protected first-round pick from Detroit.
Why Denver Does It: Monroe isn't going to space the floor, but he falls under the more polished category. He's a proven scorer and solid rebounder. Alongside McGee in the starting lineup, he immediately raises Denver's interior ceiling on the offensive end.
Best of all, the Detroit Free Press' Vincent Ellis says he's unlikely to receive an extension from the Pistons, meaning he'll hit restricted free agency next summer. This is huge, as it puts pressure on Detroit to capitalize on his value now or risk losing him for nothing or overpaying him during the offseason.
Why Detroit Does It: Something's fishy about the way the Pistons are constructed.
You have Brandon Jennings (injured) and Josh Smith, two jump shot-happy scorers who also like to attack the basket. Then you have Monroe, who has some range, but not nearly enough to be considered a stretch 4 or 5. Finally, there's Andre Drummond, a defensive stud and offensive liability when we're not talking putbacks or alley-oops.
Replacing Monroe with Ilyasova immediately opens up the floor for the Pistons. He and J-Smoove are interchangeable at the 3 and 4, ensuring there will be some lanes open that others can drive.
The budding John Henson makes for a strong option off the bench, too. His offensive game is raw at best, but he's already showed signs of promise on the glass and defensively.
Why Milwaukee Does It: This one's tougher.
That first-round pick should interest Milwaukee (even though it's not general manager John Hammond's trademark second-rounder). Acquiring The Manimal should catch the Bucks' attention as well.
Moving on from Ilyasova and Henson in the same trade, though, would be difficult. Truthfully, it may even be asking too much. But the Bucks have to take some risks here, and they have the perimeter scoring necessary to replace Ilyasova's production. Parting ways with his bloated contract will also help unclog things financially down the line.
Why It Might Not Work: There are admittedly a lot of "what ifs" here.
What if the Pistons don't want to trade Monroe? What if the Nuggets want a stretch 4 instead? What if the Bucks aren't interested in Faried?
Questions abound, and a middle ground for all three teams could be impossible to find.
Denver Nuggets Get: F Ryan Anderson (trade exception) and PG Brian Roberts
New Orleans Pelicans Get: F Kenneth Faried, PG Andre Miller and a 2016 second-round draft pick
Why Denver Does It: Floor spacing isn't a strength of Denver's. Even after the additions of Nate Robinson and Randy Foye, the Nuggets are still short on shooters, especially with Danilo Gallinari out.
Anderson can come in and start at the 4 next to McGee, stretching defenses wafer-thin and allowing guys like Ty Lawson and Wilson Chandler to see more looks at the rim. He replaces a large portion of the rebounding they would lose with Faried, too.
Robinson and Foye also make Miller expendable. George Karl valued him for his rapport with McGee, but Karl's gone and McGee is starting now; things have changed. Neither Robinson nor Foye is the playmaker Miller is, but they're good enough. Roberts also gave the Pellies good minutes as a floor general last season, so don't count him out either.
Why New Orleans Does It:
Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski reported in July that the Pelicans had shown interest in trading Anderson to the Houston Rockets for Omer Asik, so we know they're at least open to dealing their prized three-point gunner in exchange for some low-post toughness.
Faried gives New Orleans just that. He can start next to Anthony Davis and isn't one for letting rebounds fall by the wayside. On offense, he also allows Davis to travel back and forth, inside and out. His back-to-the-basket sets need refining, but he's dangerous enough to where playing the "5" (strictly on offense) would open things up for New Orleans' shooters.
Why It Might Not Work: For Denver, it's the usual reasons.
The Nuggets may or may not be interested in Anderson (they should be), and they may or may not be willing to pay him $8 million or more annually for the next three years.
Were Faried a few inches taller, the Pellies wouldn't have anything to think about here, but he does make them smaller. Playing Davis almost exclusively as a stretch 5 may not be something they're thrilled about or even prepared to do.