Rockets’ Nene To Opt Out

Veteran Rockets center Nene has decided to opt out of his contract to become an unrestricted free agent, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). Nene’s contract featured a $3,825,360 player option for the 2019/20 season, which he’ll turn down.

Nene, 36, averaged a career-low 13.0 minutes per contest in Houston last season, recording 3.6 PPG and 2.9 RPG in 42 games.

Given his age and his increasingly limited role with the Rockets, Nene’s decision to forgo a salary of nearly $4MM isn’t one I anticipated. It will be interesting to see how he does on the open market — perhaps his agent got word that another team is ready to put a more favorable offer on the table, or perhaps he’s doing Houston a favor.

The Rockets are said to be in the running for Jimmy Butler, who would have to be acquired in a sign-and-trade deal. That would put a hard cap on Houston’s spending for the 2019/20 league year.

Removing Nene’s $3.8MM cap hit from their books would give the Rockets some much-needed flexibility in that scenario and the veteran big man could still theoretically return on a minimum salary deal. He’d earn a projected $2.56MM on a one-year minimum contract, but would only have a cap hit of about $1.62MM.

Of course, it’s possible Nene won’t seek a new contract at all. According to Alykhan Bijani of The Athletic (via Twitter), retirement is a viable possibility for the former seventh overall pick.

Nene’s player option decision was the last one to be reported for the 2019/20 season. The full list can be found here.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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7 thoughts on “Rockets’ Nene To Opt Out

  1. Does this mean capella is staying? Or Nene and capella leave and Horford comes in?

  2. hiflew

    Not really THAT surprising. He probably feels like he has a little left in the tank and would like to go somewhere where he will get more PT. He’ll still sign somewhere for nearly the same money as a vet mentor. Even if he has to settle for a million or two less, he’s got more than enough money for his entire lifetime and then some. And if he doesn’t have enough after earning over $129 million, that extra million or two wouldn’t have made that much of a difference anyway.

  3. gersgsf62

    He announced like 2 months ago he was retiring after last season why is anyone surprised

  4. goldenmisfit

    I am so sure a guy with limited playing time is going to opt out just to help out the team that did not want to play him.

    • washington_bonercats

      Nene is a class act man. He’s been around long enough to know your playing time and usage is 1000% based on your current ability. He’s old and he knows it. Retirement is looking peachy for Nene. Gracious move to make things easier for a team he clearly enjoyed playing for.

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