Dec 1, 2011, 10:03 AM EDT
You soon may see a lot of NBA executives walking the streets of Rio de Janeiro (I can imagine fights in NBA office corridors over who gets to go on a trip to Brazil for a couple of days.)
The reason is Nene. In a down free agent market the former Nugget center is the best player available — you need a big defensive presence in the paint to win in the NBA and Nene can give you that and some efficient offense, too.
Which is why seven teams reached out to his agent Wednesday, the first day teams could contact agents, reports Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo.
The Nuggets, New Jersey Nets, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Clippers and Portland Trail Blazers were among the teams that reached out to Nene’s representatives Wednesday, the first day teams were allowed to contact agents to discuss potential deals.
Once the offers arrive, it could take more than $13 million annually to sign Nene. While the market is still developing for him and the rest of a thin free-agent class, he’s clearly the focus for every team with cap space and the need for an inside presence. The Nuggets are pressed to keep him, and would likely have to pay significantly more than would’ve been necessary if they had worked a deal with him prior to his opting out this summer.
Notice that not on that list are the Miami Heat or the Dallas Mavericks, two teams that want to do a sign-and-trade to get him (neither can offer enough to him as a free agent). Miami and Dallas are reportedly Nene’s preferred landing spots.
Which means come Dec. 9 a bunch of NBA executives will be down in his native Brazil to meet with Nene. For the record, I’d be happy to go on that trip as well.
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