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#pounditTuesday, June 18, 2024

Ex-Nuggets standout could make improbable return to NBA?

Kenneth Faried in warmups

Oct 22, 2015; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Denver Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried (35) warms up prior to the game against the Utah Jazz at EnergySolutions Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Don’t call it a comeback, but Kenneth Faried may be doing just that.

The Austin Spurs, G League affiliate of the San Antonio Spurs, announced on Saturday that they have signed the eight-year NBA veteran Faried. The 32-year-old forward will be available to play over the weekend against the Lakeland Magic.

Faried, nicknamed “The Manimal,” made a name for himself with the Denver Nuggets as a rebounder and interior presence, averaging roughly 14 points and nine rebounds per game at his peak. But he has not played in the NBA since the 2018-19 campaign, becoming somewhat of a forgotten name.

Still, Faried has not given up, playing in China, Puerto Rico, and Russia since his last NBA stint. Faried also spent time last season with the G League’s Grand Rapids Gold before getting waived.

Faried fell out of favor in the league in part because his size (6-foot-8) put him at a disadvantage against true big men. But in an era of progressive downsizing in the NBA, Faried’s skillset might be much better suited for today’s game (especially if he has added a three-ball since we last saw him).

The Spurs, a tanking team (at least on paper) with plenty of room for G League call-ups, figure to be Faried’s best remaining shot of a return to the NBA. He also worked out for another notable NBA team over the summer, indicating that Faried can still play.

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