With Nene Hilario looking primed to leave Denver this offseason after growing frustrated with the way he was treated by the organization, he will now have to begin weighing his options on which team he'd like to offer his services to next year.
Nene is the cream of the crop in free agency this year and will most likely command a lucrative deal in order to be obtained. A number of teams lacking a center have already expressed great interest in possibly signing Nene, but Hilario has also sent out a list of teams he'd like to join which includes the last two teams to make the NBA Finals.
Nene impressed many last year following the departure of Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups via trade. With the Denver Nuggets in need of a leader, Nene stepped up and assisted the Nuggets into the post season and would even lead the team to a similar record of the Knicks who had traded for the two Nuggets.
He's coming off of a season where he averaged 15 points and eight boards per and is now 29 years old. Even though he's reaching closer and closer to 30 years old, teams are going to come from far and wide and these five teams just may have the chance to grab him before Hilario changes his mind.
One of the leading candidates in the Nene Hilario sweepstakes, the Houston Rockets not only have the money to acquire the Denver Nuggets center but are also in the most need of receiving his services now that the team officially knows about their situation at center.
I say that they finally know because they were in anticipation that Yao Ming would eventually make a triumphant return. It's now obvious that it didn't pan out since he retired and the Rockets are now stuck with 6'6" Chuck Hayes as their starter or the unproven Hasheem Thabeet who has hardly lived up to being a number two pick.
The Rockets salary is only at $47 million which would give the team plenty of room to work with and could potentially offer Nene a deal that would give him as much as $10 million per year. The Rockets don't have much to worry about in free agency this year with Hayes being the only free agent, so it's of great importance that the team makes a serious push to acquire Nene.
Word is that Houston has already contacted Nene as well as Chuck Hayes.
With Hilario in the lineup, the Rockets finally get on a level where they can compete with the elite teams of the Southwest division as well as the rest of an enduring Western Conference that currently features the NBA champion.
In a lineup that features Kyle Lowry at point, Kevin Martin at the two, Chase Budinger at three, Luis Scola at four, and Nene Hilario at the five, the Rockets suddenly look ready to make a return to the playoffs.
With current starting center Tyson Chandler now expecting to leave the Dallas Mavericks, the need for Nene Hilario has just increased. Even though the team is paying over $50 million to current back-up Brendan Haywood, there's no doubt that Hilario would get the immediate start if he does end up joining the Mavericks.
There has been no word on how the Mavericks feel about possibly acquiring Hilario, but apparently it's Nene that's looking to be possibly acquired by Dallas when listing the teams that he'd like to join following his departure from Denver.
The Mavericks will have quite a few significant free agents to deal with including Chandler, Caron Butler, J.J. Barea, and DeShawn Stevenson among others, but with Mark Cuban at the helm it is very possible that he could throw enough money at Nene to convince him to join the team.
Hilario would only be an improvement for this Mavericks team that's only a few months removed from winning their first NBA title. He would join a starting lineup that consists of Jason Kidd, Jason Terry, possibly Caron Butler if he-resigns, and Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki. Throw Hilario into the mix and you have a scoring center that would only add to an already dangerous squad.
The fact that this team is built on perimeter threats only makes this deal look sweeter as the shooters attract attention from the perimeter while Hilario finds himself getting open looks.
The Miami Heat may have nearly $50 million wrapped up in three players, but it's who those three players are that could attract Nene Hilario to actually come play for the Heat and nearly assure a NBA championship.
The Heat usually wouldn't be in play for someone who's set to attract a lot of attention from a lot of suitors which means there will be plenty of money thrown in Hilario's direction, but with Nene claiming that Miami is one of his preferred destinations for next year, it's going to be difficult for the team to say no to such a proposition.
If Hilario does end up signing with the Heat to a deal that would be much lower than what he would be making with Houston or many of the other teams that would offer him a lucrative contract, then the Heat would be set for a plethora of title runs over the next four seasons.
It's completely true that anything can happen in the NBA and every team has a fighting chance, but it's going to be considerably difficult for a team to limit two stellar drivers, a consistent mid-range shooting power forward that can also drive, and a center that can score at a high rate all at the same time while also dealing with the plethora of perimeter shooters that would also be open.
If Nene is willing to negotiate, the Heat will be waiting.
Maybe it's about that time for the Portland Trail Blazers to see what other options could possibly help them at center. The team recently offered their oft-injured center Greg Oden a qualifying offer worth over $8 million, but it may be in their best interest to rescind it on account of the fact that Oden has played 82 games in four years and is one injury away from possibly retiring.
Why not give Nene Hilario a shot?
Despite the team sending out a qualifying offer to their current free agent center in Oden, the Blazers have also announced that they are interested in Nene and will be making a play for him when the period to begin signing free agents and making trades begins on December 9th. With Oden's timetable on his return still questionable, perhaps getting out of dodge may be the best thing for the Blazers to do when dealing with Oden.
After all, just how quality of a player is Oden? Yeah, he can block shots and play defense well but have you actually seen him play offense? Oden's offensive repertoire is abysmal and he's basically limited to making put-back's off of offensive rebounds and throwing down alley-oops. Oden has potential to become a solid player, but as far as we know at the moment he's just another center in a league populated with big men that can play defense but can't score.
With Nene, you get defense, solid rebounding, and a center that can score which bears great significance to a team that runs the ball through their power forward in LaMarcus Aldridge. If Hilario joins the fray in Portland, he can take some of the defensive attention off of Aldridge and allow him to find more comfortable looks from the mid-range.
Time to cut your losses, Portland. Doesn't a lineup with Raymond Felton, Wesley Matthews, Gerald Wallace, Aldridge, and Hilario sound just as enticing?
Not only do the Golden State Warriors have the chance to possibly snatch up Chris Paul, but they might also have the chance to finally rid themselves of Andris Biedrins and instead invest in Nene Hilario.
It's no secret that the Warriors have grown aggravated with the way Biedrins has carried himself since signing a lucrative deal that gave him $9 million per year. The Warriors were deceived into overspending on Biedrins after the Latvian had averaged 11 points and ten boards per as a 21-year-old in only his fourth season.
Biedrins would have a solid year averaging 12 points and 11 boards the next year, but has been atrocious the past two years as he has been injured for the most part and has averaged five points and seven rebounds per game in each year. The Warriors have committed a lot of money to Biedrins and they'll be looking to move it for the chance to gain Hilario.
I think the Warriors could make use of the Brazilian and could feature him in a starting lineup that currently features Stephen Curry, Monta Ellis, Dorell Wright, and David Lee. Having Nene on the team also means more attention being focused in the paint rather than all of the defenses attention being placed on the perimeter where the Warriors feature two quality three-point specialists in Wright and Curry.