The biggest free agent on the market is going nowhere.
After flirting with a few teams including the Rockets, Pacers and Nets, Brazilian center Nene has re-signed with the Denver Nuggets with a five-year, $67 million deal, according Marc Stein at ESPN.
That is a really fair deal for both sides, Nene is well paid but the Nuggets did not fall into the trap of overpaying to keep him.
Nene was the top free agent on the market this year, a big man who can defend and rebound plus has a very efficient offensive game. He averaged 14.5 points per game shooting a league-best 61 percent last season, and he pulled down 7.6 rebounds per game. He was a guy you could use as an anchor in the middle on a contending team. That’s what the Rockets and Nets pitched.
But in the end, Nene had a real comfort level in Denver. This is a place where he put down roots (his wife is from Denver) and where he is involved in the community. That matters and always gave Denver the upper hand.
Missing out on Nene may hurt the Nets most, as they continue to strive to land a star player to go along with Deron Williams. It’s not for lack of effort, but if the Nets can’t land someone Williams can walk as a free agent net summer and land somewhere like Dallas (which is clearing out cap space to go after him and other free agents).
NEW YORK (AP) — TNT will use broadcast teams featuring only former players and no traditional play-by-play men during five NBA doubleheaders later this season.
The “Players Only” schedule runs Monday nights from Feb. 27 to March 27 and includes matchups such as Golden State-Oklahoma City on March 20 and Cleveland-San Antonio a week later.
Brent Barry will serve as the primary host of one team with Derek Fisher and Grant Hill, while Greg Anthony partners with Kevin McHale and Richard Hamilton on the other.
Lisa Leslie and Dennis Scott will serve as reporters.
Turner Sports says Thursday that Chris Webber will anchor the studio coverage with Isiah Thomas and Baron Davis, and that additional NBA players will contribute to the five-week program.
HOUSTON (AP) — James Harden took some time out after the Houston Rockets’ win over the visiting Milwaukee Bucks to give a fan a present on a her 100th birthday.
Video shows Harden signing a ball for the woman and spending a few moments sitting next to her in her courtside seat and posing for pictures Wednesday night.
Harden told ESPN’s Doris Burke in an interview that he told the woman how “blessed” he was to be able to have a chance to meet her.
The Houston guard also put on a good show for the fan during the game, scoring 38 points in a 111-92 victory over the Bucks.
Kings center DeMarcus Couins appears set to become the first player to sign as a veteran designated player. The Pacers hope Paul George will follow.
But in the Pacers’ win over the Kings yesterday, George beat Cousins.
Not even Cousins thwacking George in the face could stop this dunk.
The Bucks projected Khris Middleton to miss about 70 games when he tore his hamstring before the season. That extended absence often leads players just to shut down for the year, but Middleton vowed to return in time for the playoffs.
He might get back far sooner than that.
Marc Stein of ESPN:
Sources told ESPN.com the Bucks think Middleton, who suffered a hamstring tear just days before the season began, “has a chance” to return to the lineup during a three-game homestand next month before the All-Star break.
Whether Middleton ultimately makes his season debut before or after the All-Star Game, he is expected to be kept on a minutes restriction as he eases way his back from the injury, sources said.
The Bucks have started Tony Snell, who has held his own as an outside shooter. But Middleton will upgrade Milwaukee on Snell’s biggest strength and provide massive defensive improvement. After a strong start, the Bucks have really struggled lately on that end.
Giannis Antetokounmpo has led Milwaukee to a 20-21 record, though the team is better than its won-loss mark indicates. The Bucks will be even better with Middleton, who will rival Jabari Parker as their second-best player and fit seamlessly.