Anyone remember all those Iman Shumpert-for-Kenneth Faried rumors? If there was ever any truth to those, the Nuggets have to be thanking their lucky stars they didn't pull the trigger.
Back on February 11, ESPN's Marc Stein tweeted, "Hearing that Knicks are trying again to re-engage Denver and sell Nuggets on idea of trade built around Shumpert-for-Faried before deadline."
Frank Isola of The New York Daily News made it sound like both teams were interested, tweeting, "J.R. Smith is starting & Iman Shumpert could be departing. I'm hearing Knicks-Nuggets continue to discuss an Iman for Kenneth Faried trade."
Well, the Nuggets definitely got the better end of that deal not going through.
Since those reports surfaced from Stein and Isola, Faried is averaging 18.5 points and 9.9 rebounds in 30.7 minutes while shooting 54.8 percent from the field. Shumpert is averaging six points while shooting 38.6 percent over the same span.
Faried has not only proved that the trade idea was preposterous, but he's shown the Nuggets he's a franchise power forward.
There may not be another player in the league who plays harder on a nightly basis. That's overly simple analysis, but have you seen this guy play? Every loose ball and rebound is attainable in his mind, and he goes after them with unbridled energy. It's no wonder he's known as "The Manimal."
Now, after three seasons on his rookie contract, Denver will have the option of extending Faried. It won't be cheap, but it'll be worth it.
His agent should use last summer's Derrick Favors' extension as leverage. The Utah Jazz big man signed a four-year, $49 million deal based on production that was nowhere near what Faried is doing this season.
If Denver can retain him for around what Utah paid Favors, it would be a bargain. If they get him for a few million more, it would be an investment.