Denver Nuggets' Nene to opt out of contract, become an unrestricted free ag

Now the real work begins for the Nuggets in trying to retain their starting center.

Nene will opt out of the final year of his contract worth nearly $12
million and, as a result, become an unrestricted free agent, a source
familiar with the situation said Wednesday night.

It means Nene can sign with any team he wishes without the Nuggets
getting a chance to match the offer when free agency begins after the
expected NBA lockout, which likely will start Friday.

Nene had until today to make a final decision.

The Nuggets tried to sign him to a contract extension before today, the last day of the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement, but to no avail. Instead, Nene figures to have many suitors — including the Nuggets — as he explores his options.

Nene opted out of the final year of the six-year, $60 million contract that he signed in 2006.

Nene repeatedly has said he would like to retire in a Nuggets uniform. But he expressed concerns about his situation in a wide-ranging interview with The Denver Post after the season.

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