After being quiet through much of the offseason the Denver Nuggets are quickly taking care of business. The Nuggets and Nene agreed to a $67 million for 5 years, which would lock up the Nuggets big man until he is 34.
The deal came just hours after the Nuggets traded for Corey Brewer and Rudy Fernandez, and sources say the Nuggets are close to a deal with Arron Afflalo.
The deal for Nene was more money than the Nuggets wanted to offer, but when they fell short of adding younger, cheaper players like Thaddeus Young and Luc Mbah a Moute, Denver decided to r-esign their longest tenured player.
To Nene’s credit, he did turn down a $70 million, 4-year deal with the New Jersey Nets.
While it seems like a lot of money to offer a player whose career average is 12.3 points and 7 rebounds, the Nuggets are hopeful that moving Nene back to power forward will make him more productive.
Nene last played power forward was in the 2006-07 season and played his best in the playoffs when he went head-to-head against Tim Duncan and still averaged 15.2 points and 7.8 rebounds.
Nene has had an interesting career. He was an extremely raw player when he was younger and injuries derailed his growth. His game didn’t start to develop until his late 20s and for the last three seasons Nene has been able to put up semi-consistent numbers, but he was doing it while playing out of position at center. He is dangerous in the post and is a great one-on-one defender (mediocre help defender), not to mention he is an underrated passers.
Nene has had two major injuries in his career, he tore his ACL at the start of the 2005-06 season and was diagnosed with testicular cancer and missed much of the 2007-08 season.
To justify the signings, Nene must be able to pick up his game and be a more consistent presence in the paint and on the glass. And the Nuggets must be able to run the offense through him and Ty Lawson, and work the duo in a pick-and-roll.
For a team, which many wrote off before the season started, the Nuggets have put together a talented, deep roster at a discount price.
The Nuggets depth chart, if Afflalo re-signs, looks like this:
Center: Timofey Mozgov/Chris Andersen/Kosta Koufos
Power Forward: Nene/Al Harrington/Kenneth Faried/DeMarre Caroll
Small Forward: Danilo Gallinari/Brewer/Jordan Hamilton
Shooting Guard: Afflalo/Fernandez
Point Guard: Ty Lawson/Andre Miller/Julyan Stone
Topics: Al Harrington, Andre Miller, Arron Afflalo, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Andersen, Corey Brewer, Danilo Gallinari, DeMarre Caroll, Denver Nuggets, George Karl, Jordan Hamilton, Julyan Stone, Kenneth Faried, Kosta Koufos, Luc Mbah A Moute, New Jersey Nets, Rudy Fernandez, Thaddeus Young, Tim Duncan, Timofey Mozgov, Ty Lawson