Nene has been very clear that as the most coveted free agent in this upcoming class — whenever we get into a condensed, hurried free agency period post lockout — money is not going to be his deciding factor. He wants to win. It’s not about the money.
I’m sure he means it. That said, it’s always about the money. Always.
Nene may well have the chance to put his words to the test — the Miami Heat want to make a run at him, according to the Miami Herald.
Though the Heat isn’t very optimistic about its chances, expect one of the Miami’s first post- lockout calls will be to Denver free agent center Nene, who opted out of his $11.6 million contract for next season. It’s difficult to see Nene accepting a mid-level exception from Miami if there is a $6 million one in the new labor deal, but he told us previously that Miami is appealing to him.
If it is honestly all about winning, Miami would be a good landing spot of him. They went to the NBA finals last year. He would provide the defensive presence in the paint and the rebounding the Heat need to take the next step. He would be another offensive option, a guy who can pull opposing big men away from the paint. On the court, he fits.
But the money — Nene gave up $11.6 million and you don’t do that unless you expect a raise. We don’t know what the Heat will be able to offer under the new Collective Bargaining agreement, but it will not be the max or near max that other teams can throw at Nene (and keeping him is a Nuggets priority). Would the Brazilian center really leave tens of millions over the course of a deal on the table for a good shot at a ring?
Everyone says it’s about the winning, but when it comes time to sign things are different.