Kenneth Faried was overjoyed to be with the Houston Rockets on Monday night in Philadelphia. The first game with his new team signified the closing of his most recent chapter, a stint with the Brooklyn Nets that he categorized as disrespectful.
“It’s been crazy for me,” he said after after the Rockets' 121-93 loss to the 76ers. “To be basically traded, go to Brooklyn, be told, ‘You’re going to play; we’re looking for you to come in now and help fill a spot,' then to be treated like I did. Then to come here and literally embraced quickly. [Houston] was like, ‘We want to play you for real, like this is not a joke; we’re playing you.’ It was like respect."
Faried spent seven years with the Denver Nuggets, five as a starter, before his role diminished and he was traded to the Nets. He said he was told he would be a regular part of Brooklyn’s rotation, but that never panned out.
In 47 games with the Nets this season, Faried played in only 12 contests, with most of his minutes coming in garbage time. The team agreed to a buyout with Faried on Jan. 19, clearing the way for Houston to sign him. Faried said that he felt disrespected in Brooklyn and that he was never given a chance.
“For me, it felt like that. It sucked,” he said. “You’ve just got to either grind and keep trying to go, or fold and say [expletive] it, I’m over it. But I’m not one to fold quick or give up. I’m going to keep fighting.”
Nets general manager Sean Marks and head coach Kenny Atkinson declined comment for this story.
Before the Nets agreed to a buyout with Faried, Atkinson told reporters that Faried had done nothing wrong in his time with the Nets and was always ready to play. But, with the emergence of Rodions Kurucs and the rest of the Nets' young core, Atkinson chose others over Faried.
With Houston’s starting center, Clint Capela, sidelined for the next few weeks after thumb surgery, Faried was targeted for instant help behind Capela’s backup, Nene. Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said Faried would be the perfect fit for his team and noted Faried’s energetic playing style.
Just a couple hours after officially joining the team, Faried’s first points with the Rockets came on a hard, two-handed dunk, and he immediately was called for a technical foul for slapping the backboard. Faried laughed after the play and said he was just happy to be back on the floor and that “the Manimal” — his nickname — had been unleashed. He finished the night with 13 points and six rebounds in 23 minutes.
Faried said that Sixers Wilson Chandler and Corey Brewer, who were teammates with Faried in Denver, congratulated him on his new start with the Rockets. He added that it was a good night to get back on the floor and see Brewer, who is with the Sixers on a 10-day contract, getting back to playing the game as well.