The Denver Nuggets dealt away their biggest star and all-star point guard this season. Now it looks as though their remaining star might walk away from the team on his own.
It is looking as though Nene will likely opt out of the remaining year of his contract and become a free agent. He is slated to make $11.6 million next season but feels that he could get more elsewhere. However, with a collective bargaining agreement still not in place for next season, it is not known how much money he could be offered, nor how or when a free agency period will exist.
Nene has played for the Nuggets for nine seasons but no longer feels welcome on the team and that his accomplishments are going overlooked. His comments disclose his frustration with the Nuggets.
“If I play happy, if I enjoy the game, my game improves. I did my best for the team, for the city. I tried to do my best for the fans. But the (Nuggets) need to understand you need to see the return on the other side, or you need to look for it. You need to look for it sometimes.”
During the regular season Nene averaged 14.5 points on 61.5 percent shooting. He also averaged 7.6 rebounds and two assists. These numbers carried over, almost identically, in Denver’s five game series defeat against the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round of the playoffs.
Whenever the CBA is sorted out, Nene will likely be the top free agent on the market. Every team will take a look at acquiring him whether they have a need for a center or not. What Denver must do, if they hope to retain him, is show him that the team and the fans value his contributions and that they will get the piece in place around him to make a deep playoff run. If they cannot do that and Nene leaves, Denver may find itself on the outside looking in when the playoffs come around next season.