April 10, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Denver Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried (35) celebrates against the Golden State Warriors during the fourth quarter at Oracle Arena. The Nuggets defeated the Warriors 100-99. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Denver Nuggets: Kenneth Faried Extension Talks Starting As Soon As Possible

The Denver Nuggets hope to engage Kenneth Faried on extending his rookie contract as soon as the negotiation window opens this summer, Chrisopher Dempsey of the Denver Post reported on Wednesday. The news means the emerging power forward is headed for a big raise from his current rookie salary of $2.2 million.

Nuggets general manager Tim Connelly told the Post he’ll begin talking to Faried’s agent as soon as the negotiation window opens up at the end of July. It would be a big advantage to keep the team away from all the free agency questions and distractions by locking the Manimal into a Nuggets future this summer, and it would also help the team make the playoffs.

It’d be a big advantage to have Kenneth Faried on a team that hopes to contend for a title in the next few years. The power forward was a force in the second half of the 2013-2014 season, as he averaged 18.8 points and 10.1 rebounds per game after the All-Star break. The season as a whole was also his best yet, with averages of 13.7 points and 8.6 rebounds in 27.2 minutes per game. Both Tim Connelly and head coach Brian Shaw have endorsed bringing back Faried after his breakout season.

“Kenneth was great,” Connelly told the post. “And for the last couple of months he was playing at as high a level as anybody. He’s the heart and soul of our team. I definitely want to have him back and expect to have him back.”

The star we saw at the end of the season is a player that the Nuggets can’t hesitate to lock up long term. Anytime you have an opportunity to get a potential 20-10 guy you have to do everything you can to make it happen, so it’s good to see Connelly treating Faried’s extension period with urgency and giving him the same “star” treatment that Ty Lawson got for his extension.

That star treatment comes with a star price tag though. It’s hard to see Faried getting a contract in the $14 million range like, say, Blake Griffin. However, considering he cemented his place as the Nuggets’ second best player this year, it’ll be hard to argue he deserves less than the $11 million JaVale McGee is earning next season. If Connelly does it right, Faried’s salary will be right in between McGee’s $11 million and Lawson’s $12 million per year, particularly because he hasn’t done enough to earn more than Lawson yet.

Sep 30, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Nuggets general manager and executive VP of basketball operations Tim Connelly speaks during a press conference during media day at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

That’s a lot of cash for a small market team, but he would be worth the money. Not only is the guy on the brink of the rare 20-10 stat line, but he is only 24 years old, he’s a marketing darling and the fans love him. The Pepsi Center is littered with Manimal shirts and Faried jerseys these days, and the last thing the Nuggets need is to have another star bolt for a big market because they were too cheap to pay him.

Tim Connelly’s financial negotiation skills will be under the microscope with Faried on his summer agenda. If he pulls it off, it will be the GM’s first big extension in his career. The dream scenario is Faried signing his contract extension on Aug. 1, but we all know it will take time and lots of negotiation to settle on how many millions it takes to keep Faried in a Nuggets jersey. We’re rooting for you Tim, and you get an ‘A’ in Denver’s book if the extension is signed by the first game of next season.

Tags: Denver Nuggets Denver Nuggets Free Agency Kenneth Faried

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