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Goodbye Denver, Miami among suitors lined up for Nene

Nov 29, 2011, 2:14 PM EDT

Nene nuggets Getty Images

Nene is the biggest and best free agent on the market. Unless your team doesn’t need a legit 7-foot big man who plays smart, can defend the paint, rebound well, plus has a deft offensive touch around the rim and from the midrange.

Denver can use one of those but after nine years in the Rockies Nene wants out, reports Ken Berger at Nene did not feel appreciated by the organization last year.

The Nuggets are operating under the firm belief that Nene will test the market as an unrestricted free agent, according to a person familiar with the team’s thinking. Six teams have registered interest, the source said: Golden State, New Jersey, Indiana, Miami, Dallas and Houston.

This is where it gets interesting. And it all comes down to money — Nene can get $17.4 million if he goes to Indiana, and both the Nets and Rockets could make small moves to get to offer that much. Those are three teams that are building and see Nene as a key part of that future.

Nene has said he would like to land in Miami, but to go there would mean a pay cut and a sign-and-trade that Denver does not love, reports Brian Windhorst at ESPN.

They will go after top free agent centers like Nene as is Pat Riley’s custom, and perhaps offer Mike Miller and Udonis Haslem in a sign-and-trade with the Nuggets, who have Nene’s rights. They offered this deal, in fact, to the Nuggets last year. But unless Nene is willing to take a massive pay cut to play for the Heat, this is a pipe dream

Dallas is also a team that Nene likes and also is a pipe dream — Dallas wants him but more likely as a backup plan if they cannot re-sign Tyson Chandler.

Golden State could offer near max money if they amnesty David Lee or Andris Biedrins. The Warriors have a fantastic backcourt with Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry, Nene would help balance that roster tremendously. But does he want to trust his future to a new ownership group and an unproven coach in Mark Jackson?

When asked, Nene will tell you it’s not about the money, it’s about fit and the chance to win. He’ll have the chance to prove it — he could go to Miami for a lot less money and they become instant favorites for the title (Vegas says they already are). But the smart bet is that he takes the money. All while saying it was not about the money.

  1. cantonbound13 - Nov 29, 2011 at 2:26 PM

    Golden State or Dallas should land him. More money & good young team.

    • Nadeem - Nov 29, 2011 at 3:27 PM

      Dallas, a good young team? they are one of the oldest starting 5 in the league. What are u smoking?

  2. kjereld615 - Nov 29, 2011 at 2:28 PM

    I fail to see why Orlando isn’t bidding for him. Do they lack cap space for him? that’s the only logical reason i can think of for why they wouldn’t try to get another big man to back up Howard

    • Kurt Helin - Nov 30, 2011 at 1:37 PM

      Orlando doesn’t have the cap space to go after anyone of note. That’s the problem.

  3. 00maltliquor - Nov 29, 2011 at 3:11 PM

    Dang Kurt, the way you over-hype Nene, I’d swear you were his agent! 17.4 mill from Indiana! I say that’s a little under 10 mill more then he deserves.

    Nene not coming back, Wilson Chandler, J.R. Smith, and Kenyon Martin in China with contract handcuffs and shackles, and the ridculous move of Ray Felton for only Andre Miller like they couldn’t find a better deal, and Aaron Afflalo most likely gonna get real nice offers from more attractive teams…….
    There goes one of my favorite teams to watch/root for post ‘Melo era. I thought that was one of the deepest teams after that trade last year and they looked like they were building something real special. Not at all a fan of the Nuggs, but that was a real nice “underdog” squad that had a chance to beat any team in the league on any given night.

  4. trickybastard - Nov 29, 2011 at 3:21 PM

    Kurt – you’re not doing your job if you don’t know Sacramento is also intereste – you know, the team with the most money to spend? Don’t let the arena/ownership issues cloud things for you

  5. trickybastard - Nov 29, 2011 at 3:22 PM

    Kurt – you’re not doing your job if you don’t know Sacramento is also interested – you know, the team with the most money to spend? Don’t let the arena/ownership issues cloud things for you

  6. thejotapee - Nov 29, 2011 at 4:23 PM

    C- Nene
    PF- Bosh
    SF- LeBron
    SG- Wade
    PG- Chalmers
    6- Haslem
    7- Battier

    ……………………………… I’m speechless.

    • browniebuck - Nov 30, 2011 at 9:19 AM

      If this happens…there will be a LOT of people that won’t watch a single minute of NBA basketball this season…myself included. It is bad enough when an aging veteran seeking a championship jumps ship and plays for less in an effort to “win” a ring. When the NBA facilitates a player with 5+ years left of good solid basketball going to join these 3 ego maniacs…it makes the Minnesotas, Clevelands, Houstons, Denvers, Memphis’, etc…even less relevant.

      The NFL and MLB have it right…parody is what makes their sports the most interesting. I would have been fine with the NBA sitting for a full season and only coming back next year if major, wholesale changes were made to allow the mid-markets to compete. The NBA SUCKS!

      • fordman84 - Nov 30, 2011 at 9:38 AM

        Agree with everything brownie says, except it is “parity”. Parody is what SNL does, and Miami is trying to make the rest of the league look like.

  7. selley2134 - Nov 30, 2011 at 12:53 AM

    The Nuggets roster is in shambles right now, but hey at least we get the NBA for Christmas

  8. jolink653 - Nov 30, 2011 at 10:12 AM

    i’m sick of all these idiots wanting to play for miami…three or four years ago miami was irrelevant and the only thing they had going for them was dwayne wade and now all of a sudden everyone and their mothers want to play for the heat…i hope miami gets pounded again this year

    • 1972wasalongtimeago - Nov 30, 2011 at 12:42 PM

      Going to Game 6 of the NBA Finals is geting pounded?

    • chunkman3000 - Nov 30, 2011 at 1:25 PM

      @jolink653 Irrelevant????? four years ago the Heat were defending a title. The only thing thats going to get pounded is the opposition! Stop hating on GREATNESS! you sound like a disgruntled Cavs fan.

  9. 1972wasalongtimeago - Nov 30, 2011 at 12:51 PM

    I honestly cannot understand the hatred for the Heat. They signed a couple free agents. Is that a crime? Jason Kidd punched his wife in the face. Anyone care? Derrick Rose cheated on his SAT. We’re all okay with that?

    Every team can sign whomever they want and every player can play where they want. Grow up people. They’re not the only good team in the league.

    The “Welcome to Miami” party was crazy, but harmless. Lebron saying he plans to win championships every year…and what? I don’t get the hysteria.

    Everyone should just enjoy. They play hard and unselfishly. They showed tremendous restrain last year when every word they said and every move they made was disected and critiqued. Lesser men could not have handled it.

    And finally. Let’s say you had NBA talent, and you already had tens of millions in the bank. Where would you want to play?

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