Nene Would Like To Retire With Denver Nuggets

Nene opted to become a free agent rather than signing a contract extension with the Nuggets, but he'd apparently like to retire in a Denver uniform.

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Nene Would Like To Retire With The Denver Nuggets

Nene decided to become one of the NBA's top free agents this offseason when he opted out of his contract with the Denver Nuggets. That doesn't mean his future won't be in Colorado, however.

Nene told the Denver Post's Woody Paige that he'd like to retire with the Denver Nuggets despite the fact that he'll test the market whenever the NBA lockout ends and free agency begins.

It's unclear how serious Paige is as a reporter in his column, but he cites that there are five teams that will have the chance to vie for Nene's services that have room under the salary cap, need a big man have direct flights to Sao Paulo, Brazil, and -- get this -- have Fogo de Chao restaurants.

Nene is expecting a child this month with his wife Lauren, a native of Fort Collins, Colo., and also has charitable organizations he supports in the Denver area, lending credence to Paige's report. Apparently the fact that there's a chance he'll play power forward next season, rather than slightly-undersized center, is also of interest to the Brazilian big man.

For more on the Nuggets and Nene's future, visit Denver Stiffs and SB Nation Denver.

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Nene To Opt Out Of Nuggets' Contract; Last-Minute Extension Seen As Unlikely

Nene will opt out of the final year of his contract with the Denver Nuggets and become an unrestricted free agent, reports Chris Dempsey of the Denver Post. Dempsey had reported in early May that the opt-out was likely, but that the Nuggets still sought to reach an extension agreement with the Brazilian center. Dempsey and ESPN's Marc Stein report that a last-minute contract extension before the league's 11:59 p.m. ET deadline is considered unlikely.

The loss of Nene puts the Denver frontcourt in crisis mode, unless the Nuggets can re-sign the center as an unrestricted free agent. He expressed concern with a major rebuilding project at season's end; the Nuggets traded Carmelo Anthony at midseason, but got back a package of "ready" players including Danilo Gallinari.

The only big men under contract for Denver next season are Chris Andersen, rookie Kenneth Faried, Kosta Koufos and Timofey Mozgov. Faried, Koufos and Mozgov are completely unproven, and Andersen has been primarily a defensive roleplayer focused on trying to block every shot attempted by the opponent. While Gallinari and Ty Lawson make up an effective offensive attack on their own, the frontcourt issues loom larger. As with Nene, Kenyon Martin is an unrestricted free agent.

For more on the Nuggets and Nene's future, visit Denver Stiffs and SB Nation Denver.

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Nene Could Opt Out Of Denver Nuggets' Contract, Become Free Agent

Nene, the Denver Nuggets' best big man and starting center, told Chris Dempsey of the Denver Post that he may opt out of his contract this summer and become an unrestricted free agent. The Nuggets are on the hook for $11.6 million for the Brazilian in 2011-12, but Nene can execute a player option to join an otherwise light free agent market.

From Dempsey:

[I]t's not all about the next contract for Nene. There is a large component of appreciation that Nene says is missing, and that's proving to be equally as important as the dollars.

"If I play happy, if I enjoy the game, my game improves," Nene said. "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. They don't realize all of the sacrifices I made. When you don't feel appreciated, it's hard."

It's unclear exactly what Nene is referencing in terms of lack of appreciation, though it's no secret that the center was looking for an extension from Denver last season, when the Nuggets were otherwise occupied with finding resolution on Carmelo Anthony. The public opt-out threat could be a continuation of those negotiations, in hopes of signing an extension before the new collective bargaining agreement kicks in, much like Zach Randolph recently did with the Memphis Grizzlies.

It's not clear, though, where Denver is headed, having traded 'Melo for a relatively young return. Nene is 28, which certainly is well within his prime. But if the Nuggets are looking to commit long-term, they need to assess how far away they are from a title run, and whether the Brazilian will be fit to help.

Nene would join Marc Gasol (a restricted free agent) as the top centers on the market. Samuel Dalembert is a similar but older and less offensively skilled comparison who will also be a free agent.

Via Pro Basketball Talk. For more on the Nuggets, visit Denver Stiffs and SB Nation Denver.

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