The infamous Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN said on ESPN’s Mock Special show that the Nuggets were looking to shop power forward Kenneth Faried. While that should surprise nobody, the second part of his statement referred to them willing to package their 14th overall pick with Faried in order to move. Now that might just be enough to get the remaining one-year/$13.7 million of Faried’s contract off the books.
Even with a first-round pick attached, there is no guarantee the Nuggets will find a buyer. Any team planning on competing over the next two seasons is not going to be willing to take on that type of burden. Enter rebuilding teams like the Atlanta Hawks.
Several NBA teams are going through full-blown rebuilds, but it is tough to find one outside of Atlanta that truly resembles the beginnings of “The Process” that was made famous by Philadelphia. Teams like Dallas, Chicago and even Phoenix will be active for top-tier free agents in the coming summers as they look to return to the playoffs. Memphis has cap issues of their own with Michael Conley, Marc Gasol and Chandler Parsons still on the books. That leaves just a few rebuilding teams that could be open to eating Faried’s salary for next season, the Hawks being one of them.
In reality, Atlanta is two, three, four maybe even five years away from being any type of serious contender. Ask Philadelphia fans, “The Process” did not happen overnight. You could make the argument that only two players on the Hawks current roster will be with the team in three years (Taurean Prince, John Collins). Atlanta has been investing in their future, which is why they will have three-first round selections in the upcoming 2018 draft. Eventually, these investments should pay off in a big way, but there is no reason to stop now. The Hawks full focus for this year and even next year should be acquiring as much future talent as possible, even if that means taking on bad contracts and losing basketball games.
The 2018 draft looks to be one of the deepest on paper with the possibility of several future all-stars available outside of the top ten. Kevin Knox and Miles Bridges are just a couple of the top-flight prospects that could be available with the 14th pick. The combination of Taurean Prince, John Collins and four first-round draft choices would be quite the young core moving forward. The addition of Faried would also all but certainly ensure the Hawks will be among the teams drafting at the top of the 2019 draft as well. With winning not really being an option in 2018, Atlanta should be considering taking on Faried’s contract for the 14th overall pick.