DENVER (AP) — High-flying Kenneth Faried received quite a raise for elevating his game last season.
The Denver Nuggets forward has agreed to a four-year, $50 million contract extension, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press.
The person spoke Tuesday night on condition of anonymity because the team has yet to announce the deal. Denver had until Oct. 31 to negotiate a new contract for Faried or he would have become a restricted free agent next summer.
Faried averaged a career-high 13.7 points last season, and he also grabbed 8.6 rebounds per game. Because of his recent improvement, all eyes will be on him this year.
That’s why Nuggets coach Brian Shaw said that in order for Faried to take his game to even loftier heights, he may have to slightly alter the way he plays. Shaw believes teams are going to show Faried as much respect as they do, say, point guard Ty Lawson or newly acquired guard Arron Afflalo.
“He will be a point of emphasis for other teams to game plan against, whereas before maybe he wasn’t,” Shaw said Tuesday after the team met for a film session following a preseason loss to the Los Angeles Lakers the night before in San Diego. “It’s what every player goes through that reaches that level.
“Star players, once they have an effective season, the next season, teams start double-teaming them and game-planning specifically for the strengths you bring to the floor. He has to learn how to negotiate through that.”
Yahoo Sports and The Denver Post were the first to report the details of the agreement.
The player nicknamed “Manimal” received quite a confidence boost suiting up for Team USA this summer and helping it capture a gold medal at the Basketball World Cup. He was even asked by coach Mike Krzyzewski to be one of the leaders on the American team, a role he’s hoping to bring to the Nuggets this season.
Faried was a first-round pick of the Nuggets in 2011 after becoming the modern-day career rebounding leader at Morehead State, surpassing the mark Tim Duncan set at Wake Forest. Faried has long maintained he could be an impact player in the league, even if he doesn’t possess one of the most polished jumpers.
Instead, he relies on hustle, hard work and a knack for being in the right spot.
“I’ve been believing my whole life I could be a star — a superstar in this league,” Faried said recently. “I don’t believe I take a back seat to nobody.”
The 6-foot-8 Faried got off to a sluggish start in the exhibition loss to the Lakers, scoring six points and grabbing one rebound.
“Only got one rebound,” Shaw said. “He’s going to have to do better in that area.”
Shaw and Faried reached an agreement last season, one that made the already speedy Nuggets even faster: Go after a defensive rebound as vigorously as he did on the offensive glass and Faried could push the ball up the court.
“I gave him the freedom to use that raw energy and athleticism to get our break going,” Shaw said. “I envision that in this coming season.”