The Los Angeles Lakers are in the midst of a total roster overhaul. As more experienced veterans with decorated resumes suit up for the Purple and Gold, LA could be adding another such player to the mix.
Kenneth Faried, a 2011 first-round pick of the Denver Nuggets, is scheduled for a workout with the Lakers. If signed, The Manimal could provide some high-flying athleticism to the oldest roster in the NBA.
Kenneth Faried was a rising star in the NBA
The 31-year-old Faried was selected 22nd overall in the 2011 NBA Draft. The 6-foot-8 forward immediately made an impact for the Nuggets, averaging 10.2 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 1.0 blocks his rookie year in only 22.5 minutes per game. After earning an All-Rookie First Team selection, Faried started 80 games the following year and over 70 games in each of the two years after that.
Through his first five seasons, the former Morehead State Eagle averaged 12.1 points and 8.6 rebounds on 53.2% shooting, and he posted countless dunk highlights. Following the 2013-14 season, he earned a four-year extension with the Nuggets for $50 million. Faried was even good enough to earn play in the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup, helping the United States capture a gold medal.
But soon, his spot in Denver’s rotation would slip away.
Faried dealt with a sore back for the majority of the 2016-17 season, missing 19 games. With the emergence of future MVP Nikola Jokic, Faried also spent about half the season on the bench. The next year, Jokic and Jamal Murray became prominent parts of the lineup and veteran Paul Millsap joined the team, leaving Faried on the outs. The Manimal played 32 games in 2017-18, seven of which were starts, before getting traded to the Brooklyn Nets in the offseason.
His time in Brooklyn was short, to say the least. Faried made it 12 games with the Nets before he was placed on waivers. The Houston Rockets took a chance on the forward, who in 25 games put up 12.9 points and 8.2 boards in just over 24 minutes per contest. Ahead of the 2019-20 season, he signed with the Zhejiang Lions of the Chinese Basketball Association, but his contract was terminated after only seven games.
The Los Angeles Lakers are taking a chance on Faried
Faried received a Summer League opportunity this year with the Portland Trail Blazers, where he averaged 5.7 points and 8.3 rebounds in 18.6 minutes per game. However, his play wasn’t enough to make the roster. So why are the Lakers interested?
LA has seen sweeping changes to its frontcourt. Marc Gasol, Montrezl Harrell, Andre Drummond, Kyle Kuzma, Markieff Morris, and Damian Jones are all gone. Newcomers Dwight Howard and DeAndre Jordan are solid centers but don’t offer any versatility to play various positions or take on different matchups.
At 6-foot-8, Faried offers some of the versatility LA needs. He can be an athletic, slashing power forward who finishes passes from playmakers like LeBron James and Russell Westbrook. He can also be a “small-ball” center who exploits mismatches against taller, slower centers.
Of course, Faried wouldn’t be seeing the court over All-Star Anthony Davis. But with Davis only playing 36 games last season, adding more depth in case of another injury would be beneficial for LA.
Getting a workout doesn’t guarantee Faried is joining the Lakers
The Lakers have the bulk of their roster filled out even without Faried. LA has 13 players signed to guaranteed contracts, two players on Exhibit 10 training camp deals, and two players locked into two-way contracts.
Given the fact Faried hasn’t played in an NBA game since 2019, LA might be looking at the Manimal more as a camp invite than anything else. Teams are allowed to bring up to 20 players to camp, and the Lakers are already at 17. They’ve also brought in several veterans for workouts without signing them, including Isaiah Thomas and Darren Collison.
Still, Faried would fill an area of need for a Lakers team short on big man depth. When healthy, he could provide some athleticism, particularly in rebounding and finishing, and help spell Davis or the two centers. If he can show that his best days from Denver aren’t too far behind him, Faried could end up being a sneaky-solid addition should LA decide to roll the dice.