Raptors Could Target Faried in Free Agency
Drafted 22nd overall by the Denver Nuggets in the 2011 NBA Draft, Kenneth Faried has been eligible for an extension all summer. As of now, no agreement has been made and Faried is currently overseas dominating foreign competition in the FIBA World Cup for Team USA. If no extension for the star power forward has been agreed upon with the Denver Nuggets by Oct 31st , then Faried will automatically be eligible for restricted free agency July 1st 2015 assuming the Nuggets submit a qualifying offer (they will). This is where the Toronto Raptors and Masai Uriji come into play. A multitude of contracts come off the books next offseason for the Raptors including non-essential players such as Tyler Hansbrough, Landry Fields, Chuck Hayes, and the ongoing buyout contract of Marcus Camby. Losing those four contracts alone will give the Raptors team enough cap space to offer any free agent it wishes a max level deal, much-less the quantity of cap space they will need to offer Faried a fair deal. Masai Uriji drafted Kenneth Faried into the NBA as the GM of the Denver Nuggets back in June 2011, and now he could be targeting the star forward once more, but this time as a free agent. As a restricted free agent the Nuggets will have the ability to match any offer that the Raptors present, but with over 35 million in salary already committed to JaVale McGee, Ty Lawson, and Danilo Gallinari in 2015-16, that might not be possible.
Around the NBA the Raptors are viewed as a good team. Not a great team, nor a bad one, just an above average, solid basketball club. Those types of teams win games during the regular season and perhaps a round in the playoffs (maybe more in the East), but aren’t really considered true contenders to win a title. Add Kenneth Faried onto the Raptors roster and they immediately improve. Add Faried, watch for the further development of Jonas Valanciunas and Terrence Ross as well as the potential future impact of Bruno Caboclo and Lucas Noguiera, all while taking a look at the team’s current core, and then the Raptors look a whole lot better than they currently do now.
Obviously, if the Raptors were to make an aggressive move to sign Faried, it would be assumed that they are willing to cut ties with fan-favourite, Amir Johnson. Losing Johnson might hurt the team in a few ways, but none more than gaining Faried would help. Faried averaged an efficient 13.7 points and 8.6 rebounds last season and is only 24 years old. Owning one of the most underrated post-games in the league, Faried would add new elements to a Raptors offense whose big-men struggled to score at times. If Masai Uriji decides to go after his former draft pick in free agency come next summer, the rest of the NBA better be on the lookout.
Follow Chris Gent on Twitter at @ChrisGentNBA for all the latest Raptors and Canadian Basketball talk.