Cooler heads prevailed.
Nene will return to the Houston Rockets after agreeing to terms on a three-year, $11 million deal.
It was touch and go for a few days after both Nene and the Rockets learned that the four-year, $15 million deal they had originally agreed to was not legal under the new CBA. Both parties had misinterpreted the deadline of the new over-38 clause. It was reported that Nene was back to “square zero” and was looking at other teams and options.
The concern was that the Rockets would have to dip into the mid-level exception if they were going to sign Nene, but that wasn’t the case as Nene agreed to the non-Bird three-year deal, letting the extra four million bucks go.
Nene was a key contributor last season for the Rockets as he worked extremely well with James Harden on pick-and-rolls and in post-up situations. He was a monster in the playoffs, averaging 13.6 points on an absurd 84.8% shooting (!) in the first round against the Oklahoma City Thunder, providing a great counter to the physicality of Steven Adams and Taj Gibson. Unfortunately, he suffered a left groin tear in Game 4 against the Spurs and was lost for the remainder of the season.
Houston’s roster right now is starting to take shape with James Harden, Chris Paul and Eric Gordon in the backcourt (I mean… “WOW!”), Trevor Ariza and PJ Tucker covering the wings and smallball four spots and Clint Capela and Nene manning the five.
The next question will be what happens with the traditional four and Ryan Anderson.