Friday, December 9, 2011
Nuggets sign Kenneth Faried
DENVER -- The Denver Nuggets held a rare Friday night practice for their first post-lockout workout, boosting their roster to 11 players with the signing of first-round pick Kenneth Faried of Morehead State and three other rookies.
Also added to the roster was guard Jordan Hamilton, the 26th overall selection by Portland who was acquired as part of a three-team draft-day trade, and undrafted free-agents Cory Higgins and Julyan Stone.
Higgins played at Colorado and is the son of former NBA player Rod Higgins, who was once coached by Nuggets coach George Karl when they were both with Golden State. Stone is the Texas-El Paso's career assists leader.
The Nuggets also remain hopeful of re-signing free-agent center Nene and guard Arron Afflalo, a restricted free agent.
Both Nene and Afflalo are drawing considerable interest from other teams, however.
"They're waiting their deal out," forward Chris "Birdman" Andersen said. "We'll see what happens. Hopefully, they'll be on board with us real soon."
Karl oversaw a 2½-hour practice at the team's facility at the Pepsi Center in a first step toward preparing the Nuggets for their lockout-delayed opener Dec. 26 at Dallas.
Given the compressed training camp, Karl said it won't be possible to have the team fully prepared for the start of the season.
"You're not going to be ready," Karl said. "From the standpoint of when the season starts, we're only going to have maybe 60 percent of what we wanted to get in get in. You're going to go 15-20 games into the season still trying to get your team (running) a full playbook and a full defensive concept. This is what we got. Everybody has the same timetable. Nobody has anything different."
Guard Ty Lawson, who spent part of the lockout playing in Lithuania, was just thrilled to be back with his NBA team practicing and getting ready for the season, although a shortened one.
"It felt good," Lawson said. "I've been waiting for this moment for three months. It's good to be back with my teammates, meeting the rookies and getting to talk to the coaches. I hadn't done that for a long time. We had a good practice, worked hard and we're ready to get back at it tomorrow."