Mar 15, 2011, 2:35 PM EDT
After playing most of the season under the cloud of the Carmelo Anthony trade situation, the sun has broken through in Denver. And like flowers everywhere, the Nuggets are blooming in the spring.
Their defense is better. Their offense is better. Their energy is better. They are winning. It’s a fun place to play.
Nene could leave if he wanted. He can opt out of the $11.6 million he is due next season — and may to secure a longer-term deal — but told Hoopsworld he’d prefer to stick around Denver.
“I want to be a Nugget for now and forever,” Nene told HOOPSWORLD.” But I know there is a lot of business [to handle], so I can say that today. “
Translation: “step up and pay me.”
A lot of teams would be willing to pay the Brazilian center. He averages 15.1 points a game and is shooting a league best 63 percent. He does most of his damage near the rim but he has enough of a midrange game you have to respect it. He’s strong and draws the and-one on 10.5 percent of his shots. He’s good on the boards. He can defend the post.
Teams are going to make a run at him, but Nene made it clear to Hoopsworld the Nuggets get the first crack at keeping him.
“Oh yeah for sure,” said Nene reiterating his desire to remain in Denver. “It’s totally different right now. Everybody is excited, everybody is happy and everybody is enjoying playing [together]. And after games [now] you feel good. You feel like your mission is done…
“It is no surprise in basketball when you’re playing the right way,” said Nene. “When you ball and play together, when you help each other there’s no secret [to success]. That’s what we’re doing right now.”
Denver front office, the ball is your court.