This has been expected for a long time, and it doesn’t mean he’s leaving Denver, but it is official now:
Brazilian center Nene is opting out of the last year of his deal the Denver Post reports and will test out the free agent market. Whenever the doors to that market open after the lockout.
Nene was set to make $11.6 million next season, but this is not really that big a risk for him — he is the best center on the market right now and he will get paid for it. Teams (and fans) saw in the finals how much having a big center who can defend the rim and rebound matters in today’s NBA and there are a limited number of guys who can fill that role. Nene is one of them.
There will be demand for his services from a number of teams, but that doesn’t mean he is leaving the Nuggets. Nene will find that the top teams on his wish list of contenders — Boston, the Knicks and there are others — will not have the cap space to sign him at the numbers he wants. Which may make Denver more appealing.
Nene repeatedly has said he would like to retire in a Nuggets uniform. But he expressed concerns about his situation in a wide-ranging interview with The Denver Post after the season.
“I’ve been here for nine years,” Nene, 28, said in early May. “If that doesn’t work how you want it, you need to sit down and evaluate everything and see what you can do.”
This will be one of the big free agency stories to follow. I look forward to following it and not writing about percentages of “basketball related income.”
Nets’ national anthem singer kneels to finish performance
NEW YORK (AP)— The national anthem singer at the Brooklyn Nets’ home opener took a knee at the end of her performance.
Justine Skye was nearing the completion of the song Friday night when she went to one knee for the finish. There were some cheers, but appeared to be more boos from the crowd at Barclays Center to see the Nets play the Orlando Magic.
NBA players have continued to stand during the playing of the anthems, as required by league rule.
Mavericks’ rookie guard Dennis Smith Jr. misses game with knee swelling
This was more of what fans expected from Lonzo Ball.
After a rough first game against the Clippers — with Patrick Beverleyin his face all night — Ball found plenty of room to operate against the soft defense of the Phoenix Suns. With room to operate Ball had 29 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists — just one assist short of a triple-double. He helped the Lakers pull away to a lead in the third then hold on for a 132-130 win over the Suns.
Ball wasn’t terribly efficient, 12-of-27 shooting, but he was 4-of-9 from three, he played with great pace, he was decisive, and was finding guys with his passes. It was a step forward, even if it was against a sad defense (Eric Bledsoe can be a good defender, but he has seemed disinterested in recent years).
Ball and the Lakers are going to be up and down this season, the goal is for there to be more ups near the end of the season.
LeBron James rejects Giannis Antetokounmpo at the rim