Wilson Chandler and Kenneth Faried
The Nuggets have been trying in vain to lure a superstar for the past year, attempting to deal for Paul George at the deadline and going after Dwyane Wade in the summer. If any potential trade comes to fruition — be it for George, Carmelo Anthony, or someone else entirely, you can almost guarantee Chandler and/or Faried will be involved.
Why? Both make roughly $12 million a year under contracts signed with the old cap — meaning most teams can take it on under the new cap.
Chandler is 29 and has a player option after next season — Denver may take a pass on giving him a raise if it wants to get younger. He could, however, contribute on a contender. When healthy, Chandler is a decent scorer and better rebounder than most small forwards. He can defend credibly and shoot threes well enough to come off the bench on a playoff team, including as a stretch 4, where he played 20 percent of his minutes this season.
As for Faried, he’s another ideal bench option on a playoff team who doesn’t quite fit Denver’s future. The Nuggets have a dearth of big men, and in trading for Mason Plumlee, more or less committed to giving him starters’ money — $10 million or so — in restricted free agency this summer.
Nikola Jokic has locked down the center spot for the foreseeable future, and 21-year old Juan Hernangomez will see more minutes at power forward in the future.
Giving Faried $12 million to come off the bench, score and play no defense is unappealing in that situation. But, like Chandler, he could help a playoff team. His defense is a liability, but it’s not bad enough that Faried would be pick-and-rolled off the floor in the postseason. He can still score and rebound well — Faried had a 20.3 PER this season — and most playoff teams (*cough* the Celtics *cough*) could use someone like that off the bench.
Chandler and Faried don’t necessarily mesh with Denver’s future, but there’s a place for them in the league. If the Nuggets try to make a splash with a trade, they’re likely the first to go. If the Nuggets need to clear cap space for a free agent signing, it makes sense to move their contracts for the same reasons.