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Reports: Denver Nuggets send Kenneth Faried, Darrell Arthur, future pick to Brooklyn Nets

After doling out new contracts to Nikola Jokic and Will Barton, the Denver Nuggets have some reported deals in place to help keep their payroll for 2018-19 under control.

According to multiple reports, the Nuggets will trade veteran forwards Kenneth Faried and Darrell Arthur, as well as their 2019 first-round pick, to the Brooklyn Nets. Gina Mizell of The Denver Post has more on what the trade means for Denver’s bottom line:

The trade with Brooklyn lets go of Faried and Arthur, two little-used veteran forwards who were set to make about $21 million combined this season.

It particularly provides a fresh start to Faried, who was due $13.8 million in the final year of his contract.

Faried was a fan favorite thanks to his supreme athleticism, energetic “Manimal” playing style and seven-year tenure with the team. But he fell out of the rotation last season with the addition of four-time all-star Paul Millsap and emergence of Trey Lyles. Faried, whose limited offensive game and inconsistent defense reduced his playing time, averaged career-lows in games played (32), points (5.9 per game) and rebounds (4.8 per game) in 2018-17 and got no game action after Feb. 1. Faried, who was sitting courtside with Denver players at Wednesday’s summer league game in Las Vegas, had become the longest-tenured Nugget following last week’s salary-dump trade of Wilson Chandler to Philadelphia.

Arthur, meanwhile, had been one of the biggest locker-room leaders on Denver’s young team, but did not see much action on the floor last season. He averaged 2.8 points in 19 games with one start, before exercising his $7.5 million player option last month.

The trade puts Denver $8.7 million under the luxury tax line, according to ESPN front-office insider Bobby Marks. It also opens up two roster spots — one for Thomas and one for another player. That could go to the promising Morris, one of the top performers in summer league after putting up 25 assists against five turnovers in Denver’s first four games. Or, it could be used to add defensive depth on the wing.

The Nuggets would have faced a significant luxury tax bill after doling out a max contract to Jokic and a reported four-year deal for Barton.

Instead, Denver was able to deal the final years of Faried and Arthur’s contracts for the added price of a protected first-round pick in exchange for Whitehead, whom ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports will be waived. Brooklyn, meanwhile, continues to slowly restock its cache of Draft picks after recovering from the ill-fated trade for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce with Boston in 2013.

The deal also allows the Nets a look at Faried, a former USA Basketball standout who has averaged 12.3 points and 8.7 rebounds per game as a starter during his seven-year career. His role shifted to the bench over the two years, especially after Denver signed free agent forward Paul Millsap a year ago. Faried’s role diminished until he averaged career-lows of 5.9 points and 4.8 rebounds per contest in just 32 games with the Nuggets last season.