The Denver Nuggets have re-signed free-agent C Nene, Nuggets vice president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri announced today. The deal is reportedly for five years and $67 million.
Nene, 6-11, 250, has been a model of consistency in the paint over the past three seasons, averaging at least 13.8 points and 7.6 rebounds each year. Most recently, he averaged 14.5 points and 7.6 rebounds while leading the NBA in field-goal percentage in 2010-11.
“We’ve always said that Nene is a Nugget, and we are happy to welcome him back to Denver,” Ujiri said. “Quality big men are hard to find, but we feel we have one of the best. Not only is he a great player, but he is a great person who will be part of our roster for years to come.”
The Nuggets scheduled a 4 p.m. press conference to discuss the signing. The conference will be televised live by Altitude Sports & Entertainment.
Nene, 29, has overcome major obstacles in his career to become a dominant big man in the NBA. He missed 81 games after tearing the ACL in his right knee in the first game of the 2005-06 season, and he was diagnosed with testicular cancer midway through the 2007-08 season.
In the three seasons since beating cancer, Nene has played in 234 of 246 games, and he soon will join Byron Beck, Alex English and Dan Issel as the only players in franchise history to wear a Nuggets uniform for 10-plus seasons.
Originally selected seventh overall by the New York Knicks in 2002, Nene was acquired by the Nuggets in a draft-night trade, and he offered a preview of things to come when he was named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team.
He has averaged at least 10 points in all six of the seasons in which he has played at least 60 games, while his .563 career field-goal percentage ranks second in franchise history. In addition to his scoring and rebounding, Nene consistently ranks among the top centers in steals and assists.
A native of Brazil, Nene has represented his country at the 2001 Goodwill Games in Australia and the 2007 FIBA Americas Olympic qualifying tournament.