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Nene makes it official, he will be a free agent

Jun 30, 2011, 11:51 AM EDT

Nene

This has been expected for a long time, and it doesn’t mean he’s leaving Denver, but it is official now:

Brazilian center Nene is opting out of the last year of his deal the Denver Post reports and will test out the free agent market. Whenever the doors to that market open after the lockout.

Nene was set to make $11.6 million next season, but this is not really that big a risk for him — he is the best center on the market right now and he will get paid for it. Teams (and fans) saw in the finals how much having a big center who can defend the rim and rebound matters in today’s NBA and there are a limited number of guys who can fill that role. Nene is one of them.

There will be demand for his services from a number of teams, but that doesn’t mean he is leaving the Nuggets. Nene will find that the top teams on his wish list of contenders — Boston, the Knicks and there are others — will not have the cap space to sign him at the numbers he wants. Which may make Denver more appealing.

Nene repeatedly has said he would like to retire in a Nuggets uniform. But he expressed concerns about his situation in a wide-ranging interview with The Denver Post after the season.

“I’ve been here for nine years,” Nene, 28, said in early May. “If that doesn’t work how you want it, you need to sit down and evaluate everything and see what you can do.”

This will be one of the big free agency stories to follow. I look forward to following it and not writing about percentages of “basketball related income.”

  1. edmazeing1 - Jun 30, 2011 at 11:59 AM

    Wish he would lower his demands & sign with the spurs!!!

  2. calihawk - Jun 30, 2011 at 12:10 PM

    Welcome to the Blazers.

  3. ac0117 - Jun 30, 2011 at 1:02 PM

    Nene is probably the most efficient-scoring big man in the NBA … dude will get paid somewhere

  4. minnesotablizzard - Jun 30, 2011 at 1:56 PM

    T-wolves need a center and will be plenty under the cap. I doubt he would want to go though unless Kahn overpays big time

  5. damp1015 - Jun 30, 2011 at 4:03 PM

    Hello Knicks! Come on Nene, team up with Melo and Chauncy again. That would be nice, having a true center.

    • rushbacker - Jun 30, 2011 at 8:31 PM

      Yea, I’m sure he’s dying to play with Melo again and never see the ball. LOL.

      If he’s smart, he’ll sign with a team that will let him go back to his more natural position of power forward.

  6. 00maltliquor - Jun 30, 2011 at 5:27 PM

    I will bet my entire savings account that this guy will get overpaid. Not saying that Nene isn’t good, but that 11.5 mill. he just opted out of getting was far more then what he’s actually worth and no doubt he’ll probably fetch more then that in the open market. Especially as a big.

  7. norcalraider510 - Jun 30, 2011 at 6:33 PM

    yesss. come to the bay nene

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