Could This Athletic Big Man Resurrect His Career With Brooklyn Nets?

Kenneth Faried

Getty Kenneth Faried looks on during a free throw in the first quarter of Houston's game against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on January 23, 2019 in New York City.

As the Nets eye a deep playoff run a few months down the road, the chance to bolster their roster now and in the coming weeks could pay dividends later. Their foundation is set — Brooklyn’s Big Three of Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving has the team’s offense churning at a practically unstoppable rate — but depth remains an area that stands to improve.

One free agent who could work as a complementary depth piece for the Nets’ frontcourt has yet to generate much hype.

Could Kenneth Faried Return to Brooklyn?

Kenneth Faried hasn’t played in the NBA in about 22 months, but that isn’t stopping him from attempting a comeback.

In a February 15 article for The Athletic, NBA insider Shams Charania had more on the 31-year-old forward who is a native of Newark:

“A former Net who is working out in Los Angeles toward a hopeful NBA return: Kenneth Faried. An eight-year veteran, Faried hasn’t played since the 2018-19 season but is known as an energetic, athletic big man. He’s averaged 11.4 points and 8.1 rebounds in his career while playing for Denver and Brooklyn.”

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Since trading away center Jarrett Allen and forward Taurean Prince as part of the four-team deal that landed them Harden, the Nets have been rumored to be in the market for several big men, including Cleveland’s Andre Drummond and JaVale McGee, and Detroit’s Blake Griffin. Faried, the 22nd overall pick in 2011 out of Morehead State, could make sense as a spark-off-the-bench player who adds athleticism and a 6-foot-8 frame to the frontcourt.

Faried Is a Former Net — and Things Didn’t End Well

Faried spent the first seven years of his career with the Nuggets, but was dealt in July 2018 to the Nets in a move that reflected Denver’s desire to shed his salary. Faried viewed it as an opportunity for a fresh start, but things didn’t pan out as he had hoped. He played in only 12 games for the Nets, averaging 5.1 points and 3.7 rebounds in 9.8 minutes per game before being waived on January 19, 2019.

On January 22 of that year, New York Daily News reporter Stefan Bondy wrote that Faried said he felt “deceived by the Nets during his short and disappointing tenure in Brooklyn.”

More from Bondy here:

The athletic forward, a product of Newark, NJ, played just (12) games with the Nets this season before being bought out of his contract. He said the messages from the front office were all over the place and, in the end, dishonest.

“It’s very frustrating. A lot of, ‘We’re going to play you when injuries,’ and a lot of, ‘We’re going to play you when in this moment, that moment,’” Faried said Tuesday. “Just tell me when you’re going to play me or tell me if you don’t want to play me. Tell me if you want me here or not. Because I’m a real honest player, I’m going to give you my heart, give you my all. And I wear my emotions on sleeve. I’m not going to be happy if you keep lying to me and telling me false statements.”

Former Nets coach Kenny Atkinson often spoke of his frustration at not being able to find a role for Faried with the team, according to Atkinson elaborated more on that during an appearance on The Michael Kay Show on ESPN New York, per Christopher Lavinio of iHeartRadio.

Faried, who was quickly scooped up by the Rockets after being waived by Brooklyn, went on to play in 25 games for Houston, including 13 starts. He averaged 12.9 points and 8.2 rebounds in 24.4 minutes per game. He then spent the last couple of months of 2019 playing for the Zhejiang Lions of the Chinese Basketball Association.

Perhaps a new regime in Brooklyn could mean Faried would be open to a do-over?

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