NBA Free Agents 2011: Nene Returns to Denver for 5 Years

Karthik TadisinaSenior Writer IDecember 15, 2011

Nene.Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

 Yesterday was a big day for the Denver Nuggets organization as they made a major announcement and a trade in regards to their immediate future. After trading Carmelo Anthony to the New York Knicks in February, the Nuggets had big questions to answer come free agency.

Their starting center Nene was going to become an unrestricted free agent in the summer and with the team in a rebuilding phase, would he look to return? Additionally, after losing J.R. Smith and Wilson Chandler to China for the 2011-12 NBA season, would the team be able to (add some depth) replace them?

After the lockout was officially over, and free agency was declared open, the Nuggets still had every intention of re-signing Nene, who was courted by multiple teams in search of a true NBA center.

The New Jersey Nets and the Houston Rockets were two teams that were considered to be aggressively looking to add a big man to their roster for the upcoming season. The Nuggets re-signed Brazilian center Nene to a multi-year contract and acquired Rudy Fernandez and Corey Brewer from the Dallas Mavericks to add to their bench.

The Denver Nuggets signed Nene to a five-year contract worth close to $67M. He will make the rebuilding process easier as the players acquired from the Knicks (who are still there) will get more time playing together. The additions of Fernandez and Brewer will also shore up the bench as having a deeper bench will help to deal with the tighter 2011-12 NBA schedule.

Overall, re-signing Nene is a great move for the Nuggets as they do not have to rebuild from “scratch." However, they can do some tweaking and see where that will take them in the Western Conference.