When the lockout ended, Nene was maybe the most coveted free agent out there — a true big man who is a borderline All-Star theoretically entering his prime. Denver was able to keep him with a five-year, $67 million contract. However, he has spent a chunk of this season injured and not putting up his traditional numbers.
In a surprise just before the trade deadline Thursday, the Nuggets traded him and got back JaVale McGee, the very athletic Washington Wizards big man who is known equally for his big dunks and knuckleheaded plays. Maybe not all that equally.
Here is how the three-team deal that also includes the Clippers works out, as reported by CSNWashington.com:
Nuggets get: JaVale McGee, Ronny Turiaf
Wizards get: Nene, Brian Cook, second round pick.
Clippers get: Nick Young
I don’t like this for Denver. The injuries suffered by Nene this year had the Nuggets feeling buyer’s remorse on their new deal, reports Ken Berger of CBSSports.com. Still, Nene when healthy is one of the more solid big men in the league. JaVale McGee is a headcase, part of the reason the Wizards want to remake their roster. He also may be the most salvageable of Washington’s head cases — George Karl has a task ahead of him. That said, this will save the Nuggets a lot of money as McGee is on his rookie deal and is set to make $3.5 million next year.
For the Clippers, this is a good move. Nick Young is the kind of very athletic two guard that fills in where Chauncey Billups was before his injury. Young doesn’t bring a lot of defense to a team that needs it, but he does score (16.6 points per game) and he fits the Clippers style. He can learn to win with the rest of their young talent. (He’s also a Los Angeles kid that gets to come home.) If it doesn’t work out, well, he is a free agent after this season.
For the Warriors, it is a nice first step. They need to remake their locker room with some more professional personalities. Nene is that. It’s about the culture of the franchise first. Second, when healthy Nene is one of the better centers in the East and can be the inside to John Wall’s outside.