January 1, 2013; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards center Nene (42) stands on the court prior to the Wizards

Nuggets welcome back a familiar face


Last week, the Nuggets welcomed back Arron Afflalo as the Orlando Magic came into Denver. The Nuggets were able to spoil the reunion with a victory and hope to do the same tonight to former longtime Nugget Nene.

Nene was in Denver for almost 10 years as he averaged 12.4 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. Going into a shortened training camp with the lockout last year, Nene re-signed with the Nuggets for $67 million over five years. The deal looked to make Nene a Nugget for the majority of his career — if not his entire career. Nene struggled to come back from his ankle injuries quickly enough and battled inconsistencies. In a surprising deal, the Nuggets traded the newly extended Nene to the Washington Wizards and acquired Javale McGee in a three-team deal.

Jan 16, 2013; Sacramento, CA, USA; Washington Wizards center Nene (42) controls the ball against Sacramento Kings power forward Chuck Hayes (42) during the fourth quarter at Sleep Train Arena. The Sacramento Kings defeated the Washington Wizards 95-94. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Nene went on record of saying that he was hurt at the time of the trade, but looking back, he understands why they made the move. The Nuggets were able to get the younger McGee – which they signed to a four-year deal worth $44 million in the offseason – and it allowed the offense to open up.

The Denver Post reported that Nene’s former teammates greeted him as the Wizards practiced in the Nuggets practice facility. Nene told the Washington Post that he’s looking forward to facing his former team 10 months after being traded.

“Definitely going to be emotion. Play here almost 10 years. For sure,” said Nene to the Washington Post. “I’m going to try to have fun, enjoy the game and play hard.”

Look for the 30-year-old Nene, who is averaging 12.3 points and 6.4 rebounds for the Wizards in 23 games, to come out energized and play with a chip on his shoulder. The Wizards are winners of three out of their past four games since the return of John Wall.

Despite the Wizards having just one win away from home and the Nuggets losing only twice on their home court, if ever there was a trap game for the Nuggets, this is it.

Tags: Denver Nuggets JaVale McGee John Wall Nba Nene Washington Wizards