Jan 23, 2011, 10:31 AM EDT
Beyond the ongoing, never-ending, painfully unresolved saga of Carmelo Anthony lies the dread and doom of another situation. If you check Denver’s books, you’ll notice that Nene has an ETO (Early Termination Option) for 2011, meaning he can jump ship and enter free agency should he elect to do so. Nene loves Denver and wants to return, but he’s getting a little fed up with this whole, bizarre, distracting Anthony situation, according to CBSSports.com:
Nene, arguably Denver’s second-best player, has made a list of three teams he’s interested in signing with or being traded to — and not surprisingly, one of them is Miami, where his fierce interior presence would be the missing piece for the Heat.
… Thus far, Denver’s stance has been to deal with Anthony first, but sources say the Nuggets are running out of time to get Nene to agree to an extension. And if Anthony and Chauncey Billups are traded in a clear step toward rebuilding, there is little doubt Nene will push for a trade.
… Nene hasn’t voiced any desire to be dealt yet, but sources say recently he has been among the most outspoken Nuggets in his anger about the distractions Anthony’s situation has caused.
This further confirms what we already thought: if the Nuggets have to trade Carmelo Anthony, the odds of a full-blown detonation increase dramatically. Losing Nene would crush the Nuggets inside.
Meanwhile, Nene’s value on the open market would be sky high. Miami being an option is scary enough, providing Chris Bosh with a backbone to so he can hit jumpers all day long, but there are other contenders who would get a lot out of Nene. The Knicks also come to mind, immediately. Nene has played in a high-pace system in Denver for the last several years, so he’s familiar with the run and gun style. Giving Stoudemire a legit force down low would create a twin towers system which would be a game changer for the Knicks.
Even teams like Boston, with Kendrick Perkins (should, for some unforeseen reason they elect not to re-sign him, which they will) and conceivably Shaquille O’Neal coming off the books could be interested. In short, should Nene elect to leave home, he’s going to have his choice of options. But Denver needs to do everything possible to get him locked back into a contract.
If they can ever get the Melo thing resolved, that is.