Nene has found a new home. After over four years in Washington, he’s heading to Houston on a very team-friendly deal:
Free agent center Nene has agreed to a deal with Houston, sources tell @TheVertical.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) July 6, 2016
Sources: Nene deal: 1-year, $2.9M— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) July 6, 2016
Washington’s moves in free agency this summer made it clear they were headed in a new direction. After trying and failing to snag Al Horford, they spent big money Ian Mahinmi and Jason Smith to shore up their depth at center.
As we wrote last month, Nene was very effective as a backup center last season and Houston will likely be very happy with what they get from him at such a cheap deal.
Also, while he played well when healthy, the bench as a whole struggled, and several players were reportedly upset Nene didn’t receive the same criticisms during film room sessions from the coaching staff as other players. Even with a new coaching staff in place, it’s never easy to reappropriate a player’s role when they’re still on the same team where they were a critical part of the team’s success at one point.
Nene did a lot of great things in Washington, but it was pretty clear it was time for both parties to move on to new situations.