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Tag:Boston Celtics
Posted on: September 11, 2011 4:08 pm
 

Shaq does some talking about a lot of stuff

Posted by Royce Young



You might be shocked by this, but Shaquille O'Neal has some opinons he's not afraid to share them. And with him being retired, it's basically open season for him right now. Ask, and ye shall receive... great answers.

The Times-Picayune talked to The Big Retiree at his recent statue unveiling and Shaq had some interesting thoughts on a wide number of topics.

First up, who's the real "Superman" and what he thinks about Dwight Howard's career.
His mom and my mom are good friends. I don’t have a problem. But my thing is if you want to call yourself me (Superman), then you’ve got big shoes to fill. I’m not in the Superman this, and Superman that. He won a dunk contest with a cape. If you want to be called Superman because of that, it’s fine with me. I’m Superman for other reasons. I don’t envy him; he’s a great young player.

But I’ve never seen him dog another center out. I tried to dog centers out. I went at David Robinson. If Dwight doesn’t win two or three championships, I’m going to be disappointed. He doesn’t have nobody. When I came in the league, I had to go through Alonzo Mourning, Arvydas Sabonis, Kevin Duckworth, Rik Smits. Now I can’t name any other centers besides Kendrick Perkins and Andrew Bynum. Who else is there? That’s it.
Andrew Bogut just raised his hand. And Nene. And Tim Duncan (sort of). And Marc Gasol. And Tyson Chandler. And Darko Milicic (just kidding). I understand Shaq's point, but come on, there's a lot of big man talent in the league right now.  It's might not be as much as he faced at one point, but it's still solid. Plus, the center position is a different world now than it was. It's not about guys like Duckworth who are big and bruising. It's about guys like Nene with speed and athleticism.

But he's certainly right. Dwight Howard needs to win. He's going to be a player defined by that. The idea is that big men equal championships and Howard's head and shoulders above all other big men.

Next up: Who was the best teammate out of Kobe, Wade and LeBron?
They were all different. Coming in, I had to bring Kobe along. Coming in with D-Wade, I didn’t want to lose a friend like I lost Kobe, so I was real delicate with him. LeBron already had everything, so I never had to say anything to him.
Interesting there that Shaq said he lost Kobe as a friend. I mean, we all already kind of know that, but they've both always tried to act like they were cool with each other. Obviously not.

Shaq was asked about the difference between the league now and when he came in.
Business-wise, it’s different. When I was in high school, every team had a star and a Hall of Famer. You don’t have that now. Let’s be real: Orlando, Boston, L.A., Miami — that’s it. Maybe Memphis, the Spurs, maybe Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns and the New York Knicks. Only nine or 10 teams have a star. In my opinion, it’s kind of gone down. You’ve still got some young guys that are very exciting. They understand and grasp the power that they have.
Your new analyst, TNT! Seriously Shaq? No Oklahoma City and Kevin Durant? No Derrick Rose and the Bulls? No Clippers and Blake Griffin? No Mavericks and Dirk? Chris Paul and the Hornets? Deron Williams and the Nets? I understand overlooking Kevin Love or LaMarcus Aldridge, but someone's a little too nostalgic for The Good Old Days. There's more talent in the league than ever. I just counted 20 teams with a star. I think you're shortselling there big time, Shaq.

On deciding to retire at 39 while seeing his skills diminish:
At 39, I wasn’t mentally on the down slope. But I used to feel really terrible after scoring eight points. This ain’t me, the Diesel scoring eight points. My mind was on winning the whole thing, and we had a chance to get the second spot (in the Eastern Conference), and we ended up getting the fourth spot. I even told (Boston General Manager) Danny Ainge not to do the Kendrick Perkins deal with Oklahoma City. I told them I might not be ready, and I’m definitely not coming back. Those guys did what they’ve got to do. I wasn’t surprised; I’ve seen it before. They say all that blah, blah, but you know it’s always going to be something different.
Interesting Shaq says that now because the Perkins trade was largely contingent on his health. Ainge seemed positive that Shaq would return and contribute but according to Shaq, he wasn't sure he'd be ready. So much so that he advised Ainge not to do the trade.

Basically, here's what to take from this Shaq interview: He might not be correct or really even remotely close, but everything's going to be interesting and have a strong opinion. So there's no doubt that he's going to fit in really well next to Charles Barkley.
Posted on: September 5, 2011 1:14 pm
Edited on: September 5, 2011 1:42 pm
 

Realigning the NBA

Posted by Royce Young



Conference realignment has sort of taken over the world the past few weeks. Texas A&M pretty much put the nail in the coffin for the Big 12 by bolting for the SEC and because of it, a whole new chain of events have tipped over. The landscape of college football could look a whole lot different in a few months. Or in a few weeks. Or even tomorrow.

But you know what else could use a little realigning? The NBA's divisions. They're kind of a mess. It's not going to be as a result of some $300 million network, recruiting ties or competitive advantages. Nope. For the NBA, it's more just about common sense. Geographically, the divisions are kind of a mess. In 2011 that's not as huge a deal as it was in 1981 because travel is much easier. You can go from Portland to Oklahoma City in just a few hours.

However, chartered travel is experience. Fuel is very pricey. And with the NBA and teams supposedly losing so much money, why not exhaust every option to cut costs and realign the divisions so they make a lot more sense? Why not group teams together that are hundreds, not thousands, of miles apart?

Plus, it just makes a lot more sense to have structured regions. Grouping teams together based on geography does more to forge rivalries, gives fans a chance to commute between games if the want to and gives the players less travel and more days of rest. All good, right?

So if you're going to spend all this time restructuring a new collective bargaining agreement, why not fix the divisions too? Here's how they should look:

WESTERN CONFERENCE

SOUTHWEST
Dallas
San Antonio
Houston
Phoenix
Oklahoma City

The NBA's new Southwest division is the American League East, the SEC West, of the league. It's a group of five teams that are all pretty good. Things change though and in 15 years, this could be the weakest division in the league. But for now, it'd be pretty good.

And it just makes sense. Dallas and Oklahoma City are about three hours via car away from each other. San Antonio, Dallas and Houston are in the same state. And OKC and the Texas teams and Phoenix just have one state separating them, which is a whole lot better than five.

MIDWEST
Memphis
Minnesota
Denver
Utah
Milwaukee

Clearly the division that needed the biggest overhaul is the Northwest, mainly because of the Sonics transformation into the Oklahoma City Thunder. When the team was in Seattle, the division made a lot more sense. Now it doesn't. That's why a midwestern division with makes a lot more sense.

That creates somewhat of a problem in the Northwest though. There's not a great fit. So for the sake of the argument, the Northwest has to make the Big 12 and peace out. No more Northwest, but instead the new Midwest.

The new Midwest is still a bit spread out, but all the teams are at least located somewhat centrally in the country. A trip from Utah to Milwaukee won't be quick, but the Jazz, Nuggets and Timerwolves have been oddballs in the Northwest. It's not an ideal division with teams right next door to each other, but it makes a lot more sense than the current setup.

PACIFIC
Los Angeles Lakers
Los Angeles Clippers
Sacramento
Golden State
Portland

Moving Phoenix away from the Lakers is a bummer, because those two teams are historical rivals that have always competed in the same division. But if A&M and Texas can separate, I think we can live with the Suns and Lakers moving apart.

The Pacific now features five teams that are actually next to the Pacific Ocean, which seems like it should count for something. Plus having the Blazers and Lakers together makes up for separating the Suns and Lakers.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

CENTRAL
Chicago
Detroit
Indiana
Cleveland
Toronto

Really, the new Central was the inspiration for this. Why aren't the Raptors in this division? Look at how close those teams are to each other. I think you could almost ride your bike between arenas. The old Central was really good too -- maybe better -- but the Bucks have to move. So it's the Raptors who replace them and the solid geographic setup remains.

ATLANTIC
Boston
New York
Philadelphia
Washington
New Jersey

Nothing too radical here. Five cities that you can transport between using a train. Old rivalries are preserved and the Wizards are added, which frankly, makes a lot of sense.

SOUTHEAST
Miami
Orlando
Atlanta
Charlotte
New Orleans

Two teams would swap conferences with the Bucks moving back to the West and the Hornets heading to the East. Not that this would upset the competitive balance of the league or anything, but it just makes a lot more sense for the Hornets to be placed in a division with Orlando, Charlotte, Atlanta and Miami.

And let me add this: If college football has no issue tossing tradition and historical rivalries out the window, why not just eliminate conferences all together? It would be a radical move, but what's the point of the East and West, other than just that's the structure of the playoffs? If it were one unified "super" conference, that would finally solve the issues of a 50-win Western team missing the postseason while a 37-win Eastern team slips into the eight-seed.

You could even just build the league into three 10-team divisions. Combine the Southwest and the Pacific, the Midwest and the Central, and the Atlantic and the Southeast. There are your super-divisions. Now you can keep teams playing more in their division than anything else and cut down on long road trips. It would make a West coast road trip for the Mavericks a whole heck of a lot more interesting.

Basically, we'd be looking at a league with three sub-conferences and once the playoffs started, seeding would just be based from that. Almost like the NCAA tournament, you could set two regions and seed from there. Head-to-head tiebreakers, division records and all that stuff would separate any identical records. Just an idea while we're brainstorming, you know?

(Note: I don't really love that idea, quite honestly. But I was just throwing it out there. One of those things that probably makes sense, but wouldn't ever happen. Much like Bill Simmons' terrific "Entertaining As Hell Tournament." Really, a unified conference makes it easier to implicate the tournament too.)

Let's face it: The West has kind of sort of dominated the past decade. Sports operate in cycles, but if there's a way to prevent that, should we? The West compiled a record of 2,257-1,643 against the East from 1999-2008 and over the last 13 seasons has represented 10 champions. That's pretty dominant. That'll change eventually, but what really is the point of the conferences, other than the standard, "that's just the way it's always been done" answer? 

All that is after the fact though: Divisional realignment is the start. Fixing the structure of the postseason would be the ideal next step. It's kind of like a plus-one for college football. Maybe a pipe dream, but something that's really in the best interest of the game. But if anything's to be done, it's to realign the divisions so they at least make a little more sense. Preserve rivalires, start new ones, save money, cut down on travel and hopefully, help the league grow a little bit more.

Picture via Jockpost
Posted on: September 3, 2011 7:49 pm
 

Kevin Garnett: I want to retire as a Celtic

Posted by Ben Golliverkevin-garnett-celtics

Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett is 35 years old. He has slowed down a touch but hasn't yet lost a step, easily making the 2011 All-Star team and keeping his statistics -- 14.9 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.3 steals, 53 percent shooting -- where they have been for the last three seasons.

Still, he's entering the final year of his current contract and the end is in sight. Garnett isn't sure exactly when he will hang up his sneakers, but he did tell the Boston Globe that his preference is to retire as a member of the Celtics.
"I want to finish my career as a Celtic,” said Garnett, who joined Boston in a trade with Minnesota before the 2007-08 season. “This is it. I don’t plan on bouncing from team-to-team, that’s not really the plan. Hopefully God willing, I can finish my career out in the classy, elegant with a class-full organization as Boston. I don’t want to downgrade. I want to continue to be where I’m at. This is the first option and hopefully the only option.”

When asked if he would play past next season, Garnett said with a giggle: “My body and I gotta actually have a one-on-one to see future-wise, where I’m at and what I want to do. So I will make that decision.”
Well, that's hardly a surprise. Back in Dec. 2010, Garnett hinted that he was embracing the possibility of retirement. Playing more than 48,000 career minutes (regular season plus postseason) will do that to you.

It's not just a matter of mileage. Garnett may have been a maniac on the court, occasionally surpassing society's standarsd of respect of decency, but he's always been a loyal, proud man. He stuck with the Minnesota Timberwolves for 12 seasons, nearly twice as long as LeBron James hung around as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers. He handled the trade process to Boston with the utmost class and respect for Timberwolves fans, so much so that outside observers almost felt relieved and happy when he was finally moved. In the years since, his former team has bottomed out completely while he went on to win an NBA title with his new teammates, and yet virtually no one holds that against him.

How often does that happen in the modern NBA?

It only happens because Garnett, for all his antics, is a company man through and through. He puts his heart and soul into every game, wears his jersey with pride, leads on and off the court, connects with fans and doesn't hang his coach or management team out to dry. He might have been a maniac, but he is no mercenary, and he has a ring to solidify his career already, so it's virtually impossible to envision Garnett bouncing from contender to contender in his twilight years.

If I was a betting man, I think Garnett calls it quits after the 2011-2012 season, as long as it goes at least 50 games. If there's a lengthy work stoppage or cancellation, I can see him coming back on a one-year, team-friendly deal for a victory lap. Past that, though, and his pride will start screaming in his ear. It's difficult to imagine an ineffective, aging Garnett hanging around the NBA just because.
Posted on: September 1, 2011 4:03 pm
Edited on: September 2, 2011 12:25 pm
 

Kevin Garnett: I was almost a Laker in 2007

Posted by Ben Golliver

kobe-garnett
Welcome to one of the most remarkable "what if" scenarios in recent NBA history.

Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett told the Dan Patrick Show --as transcribed by WEEI.com -- that he could have been traded to the Los Angeles Lakers by the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2007 if he had approved the move.

Patrick: How close were you to joining the Lakers?

Garnett: I was pretty close, to be honest. What’s disturbing about the whole Lakers situation was just Kobe [Bryant] and Phil [Jackson] at the time. They were at each other pretty bad, and a new situation full of uncertainty wasn’t something that I wanted to get into.

PatrickIt was your choice not to go to the Lakers?

GarnettIt was my choice, yes.

PatrickBecause you were worried about the friction with Kobe and Phil?

GarnettNo, I wasn’t worried about it.

Patrick: But that was going on?

Garnett: There was a lot going on, and I didn’t want to be a part of it.

Garnett's supposed decision to pass on the Lakers made way for his eventual trade to the Celtics for Al Jefferson, Ryan Gomes, Gerald Green, Sebastian Telfair and Theo Ratliff and multiple first round picks. It also left the Lakers without a premier forward, a hole they addressed by trading Kwame Brown, Javaris Crittenton, Aaron McKie, Marc Gasol and two first round picks to the Memphis Grizzlies for forward Pau Gasol

Following all of the strings on this one is almost impossible. To put it briefly, Garnett's decision totally changed the course of at least four NBA franchises and impacted at least the next three NBA Finals. 

Let's start with the biggest losers: the Timberwolves, as always. The centerpiece in the Garnett trade was supposed to be Jefferson, but he dealt with knee injuries and was eventually a salary dump to the Utah Jazz to clear minutes and touches in the middle for All-Star forward Kevin Love. Memphis wound up receiving Marc Gasol, one of the most promising and productive young centers in the league and a reasonable player to pair with Love. Marc Gasol, like Jefferson, is no substitute or replacement for Garnett, the best power forward of his generation, but he's a lot better than repackaging Jefferson for nothing. Lamar Odom and other pieces might have been in the final package needed to get Garnett, too.

Had Minnesota moved Garnett to Los Angeles, that would have left Memphis looking for a buyer for Pau Gasol and Boston looking to add a premier talent to put it over the top in exchange for its young prospects. Would there have been a trade match there? If so, could the more passive Gasol joined Ray Allen and Paul Pierce and pushed the Celtics to the same heights -- a 2008 NBA title and a 2010 NBA Finals appearance -- as Garnett? Probably not. If Boston's Big 3 doesn't have as much success and the Eastern Conference playing field is more level, do LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh all decide it's necessary to team up with the Miami Heat? Or, are they instead more patient with their individual situations? Tangentially, how much did Garnett's arrival and the 2008 title influence our opinion of Paul Pierce and Ray Allen? If the Celtics never win a title, are those players a peg or two lower on the historical scoreboard?

As for Memphis, it's possible that either they hang on to Pau Gasol and spin their wheels, never taking a chance on Zach Randolph, or they ship him somewhere else for a package that doesn't include the invaluable diamond in the rough that turned out to be Marc Gasol. Do they have their dream run through the playoffs in 2011 if not for the Marc Gasol acquisition? Maybe, maybe not.

The biggest winners in this "what if" scenario clearly would have been the Lakers. Pairing the league's best player at the time, Kobe Bryant, with the league's premier forward and best defensive player, plus a young and developing center in Andrew Bynum, would have been a virtually unstoppable combination. Can you imagine how much mentally tougher Bynum would be with Garnett's mentoring day in and day out? Could Garnett have helped Bryant cut down on the gunning?

Had Garnett approved the deal to Los Angeles, the Lakers very likely would have won the 2008, 2009 and 2010 titles and, depending on how the roster moves were impacted by Garnett's presence, could have made a much better showing in the 2011 playoffs, during which Gasol laid an egg and dealt with off-court distractions. The Lakers have already enjoyed a significant stretch of Western Conference dominance and their main foe -- the Celtics -- would have been critically wounded with the absence of Garnett. Had everything broken right, it's not inconceivable that Bryant would possess seven rings right now instead of five and be right in the middle of the conversation as the greatest basketball player of all time.

Of course, that's not what happened. But, man, imagine if it did.
Posted on: August 24, 2011 10:59 am
Edited on: August 24, 2011 1:28 pm
 

Jeff Green admits it was hard joining Celtics

By Matt Moore

Jeff Green hasn't had the easiest road in the NBA. He was expected to be the Pippen to Kevin Durant's Jordan. The problem is that he's a power forward that doesn't rebound (6.0 rebounds per game is his career high, which was two seasons ago), or a small forward who doesn't pass (2.0 assists is his career high, three seasons ago). He's a three-point specialist who's a 34 percent career shooter from the arc. The rebounding is what really gets him in trouble. He's got good athleticism and shows flashes of defensive skill, but has never fit a role. When he was brought to the Celtics, though, that was a no-win situation. Replacing a fan and locker room favorite in Kendrick Perkins, Green was confusing for those who didn't know him and infuriating for those that did. 

But even worse than the struggles with his game is what Green had to do in terms of fitting in with the Celtics, who were a championship core that had been together for four seasons and felt like family. In an interview with Yahoo Sports, Green talked about the reality of how difficult it was walking into that locker room:
“They’ve been together for a number of years,” Green said of the Celtics. “They’ve already won a championship, they’ve already have a system, they already have their chemistry and that bond on that team.

“It was tough to go into that situation.”
via Green eyes future with Celtics - NBA - Yahoo! Sports.

The tone of the interview is definitely not one of "I'm excited to be here and feel we can win a championship." It's more "Look, I got sent here, I didn't ask to come here." Green pretty much stops short of saying "They hated me." He talks about how hard it was to grasp all the defensive concepts in half a season. Green's a professional and has never been a locker room problem. He's a restricted free agent, and if the Celtics match or offer Green the best money, he'll play as well as he can. But sometimes it's just not a fit. Maybe when the current core has moved to retirement Green will have a chance to stretch his wings and become a more complete player. 

For now, he's in a dfficult position of having to be something he's not, and being judged by that standard.  What's funny is he could lose five points off his per game average if he picked up five rebounds. That's all anyone cares about these days. Defense and rebounding. The offense will apparently take care of itself.

(HT: SLAM)
Posted on: August 22, 2011 10:03 am
 

Delonte West could end up selling knives

By Matt Moore

You already know that Delonte West has been applying at the Home Depot for a job during the lockout. But it turns out West isn't limiting himself to just the orange big box store. He's got a whole range of places he's trying to get a gig to fill his time and pocket book. ESPN caught up with West this weekend at the Drew-Goodman showdown and he has other places he's looking, including an odd choice for wares to pitch. From ESPN:
“I actually might have work with Sam’s [Club], BJ’s, selling knives,” West said. “That’s pretty cool too. I get a microphone and everything.”
via Delonte West looking for a position in retail - TrueHoop Blog - ESPN.

Delonte West. Selling knives. OK. Could be worse, could be Cabella's or something. 

West also had a quality statement regarding the relationship of the NBA fans to the lockout. 
“With the lockout going on, guys could be anywhere in the world vacationing, but they’re right here supporting the people," he said. "The people are going through a lockout just like we are. They make it a lot about us, but the average American is going through a lockout themselves.”
Of course, the average American isn't being deprived of their profession over a multi-billion-dollar entity somehow losing money, but then, the average American isn't making between $2.5 million and $5 million annually, either. 

West continues to be an enigma on and off the floor. Maybe some time slinging in a big-box store will actually help his leadership skills. And hey, if Delonte West walked up to you, looked you in the eye and told you to buy something, you'd buy it wouldn't you? One tip for his employer, though? Better keep the break room stacked with doughnuts. Just a heads up.  
Posted on: August 19, 2011 1:12 pm
Edited on: August 19, 2011 1:33 pm
 

NBA 2K12 reveals 15 basketball legends

Posted by Ben Golliver

nba-2k12-covers
 
NBA 2K12 has finally revealed its full list of the 15 basketball legends that will be included in this year's game. The group is led by the game's three cover boys -- Michael Jordan, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson -- and also includes Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Julius Erving, who were revealed in early August.

The final ten names, in alphabetical order: Wilt Chamberlain, Patrick Ewing, Karl Malone, Hakeem Olajuwon, Scottie Pippen, Oscar Robertson, Bill Russell, John Stockton, Isiah Thomas, Jerry West.

The final list aligns fairly well with the suggestions we made a few weeks back. Chamberlain, Olajuwon, Robertson, Russell, Thomas and West were all included on our list of preferred candidates. Of course, that means there are some of bones to pick with the remaining four names: Ewing, Pippen, Stockton, Malone.

For starters, that group makes the overall list really heavy on the 1990s, a time when Jordan was king. That makes sense from a marketing and business standpoint, as those are often seen as the golden years of the NBA for men aged 25-40, presumably a major demographic who will be purchasing this game. But if you're going to go all 1990s, leaving Charles Barkley and the insanely fun early-1990s Phoenix Suns off the list is inexcusable. Barkley over Ewing or one of the Jazz pair is a no-brainer. 

NBA 2K12 smartly mitigated against widespread snubbing, though, by including a whole host of other legends in a roundabout way. How? As Kotaku.com notes, Barkley and other top-50 players like Elgin Baylor, Shaquille O'Neal, Pete Maravich,  Clyde Drexler, David Robinson, Earl Monroe and Walt Frazier will be available as players on the opposing teams facing off against the legends in a series of "NBA's Greatest" rivalry games. Barkley will appear as a member of Dr. J's 76ers and a young O'Neal will be on the 1994-1995 Orlando Magic. Here's the full list of match-ups.
  • 1964-65 Boston Celtics (Bill Russell) vs. Los Angeles Lakers
  • 1970-71 Milwaukee Bucks (Oscar Robertson) vs. Lakers
  • 1970-71 Lakers (Jerry West) vs. Atlanta Hawks
  • 1971-72 Lakers (Wilt Chamberlain) vs. Knicks
  • 1984-1985 Philadelphia 76ers (Julius Erving) vs. Bucks
  • 1985-86 Celtics (Larry Bird) vs. Hawks
  • 1986-87 Lakers (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) vs. Celtics
  • 1988-1989 Detroit Pistons (Isiah Thomas) vs. Bulls
  • 1990-91 Lakers (Magic Johnson) vs. Portland Trail Blazers
  • 1992-1993 Bulls (Michael Jordan) vs. Charlotte Hornets
  • 1993-1994 Houston Rockets (Hakeem Olajuwon) vs. Denver Nuggets
  • 1994-1995 Knicks (Patrick Ewing) vs. Orlando Magic
  • 1995-1996 Bulls (Scottie Pippen) vs. Seattle Supersonics
  • 1997-1998 Utah Jazz (John Stockton) vs. Lakers
  • 1997-1998 Jazz (Karl Malone) vs. San Antonio Spurs
It's good to know the game was able to squeeze in just about everyone, even if deserving guys like Maravich, Baylor and O'Neal were left off the "15 legends" list. With the match-up mode expanding the starpower, this game is shaping up to be incredibly sick.
Posted on: August 19, 2011 12:44 pm
 

Nene says money won't decide his free agency

By Matt Moore

Nene is arguably the biggest name in free agency. He's a veteran center who's not too old to contribute and yet still mean as all get out in the paint. He's going to be an extremely valuable commodity on the open market, whenever it opens. So naturally, Nene is looking to cash in, right? This is the big final contract before he heads off to build churches in Brazil? That's got to be his biggest priority. Money. 

Well, Nene  says that's not the case. From the Denver Post

 
Whenever the NBA gets going again, Nene will be a free agent, after opting out of the final year of his Nuggets contract ($11.6 million). He reiterated that it's possible he could return to the Nuggets but suggested that one of the reasons he wants to play elsewhere is for a more immediate chance at a championship.

"After nine years, I have goals and I'm a team player," said Nene, who has averaged 12.3 points and 7.0 rebounds in his career. "I'm very competitive. I want to accomplish everything. It's a big opportunity, and it's the only one in my life to be a top free agent. So I want to enjoy this moment. If people think it's about money, they're wrong. I've saved my money. I could retire today. I don't need to prove points. I like it a lot here."
via Nuggets' Nene stays in shape playing soccer during lockout - The Denver Post.

A lot of players talk about money not being the important thing, but with Nene it's likely true. He's long said that he's not in basketball to make as much money as possible. The only question will be what effect money not being an issue will have on where he ends up. 

If money's not most important, is loyalty? Because that would lead him back to Denver. Denver has the cap space to pay him a max contract, but if that's not his biggest goal, it may be irrelevant.

If money's not important and it is winning, there's a concern from many about another possible destination: Miami. Miami desperately needs a center, a veteran center, and a good veteran center. Nene would make them an even more dangerous team than the Finals participant from this season.

Other candidates if Nene's just looking to pursue a title include Boston (a mean-mug replacement for Perkins) and New York (imagine how many dunks he'd get in that system).  But Nene's been a star in Denver and finally has the spotlight to himself with Melo out. It's a tough decision but a fun one to make. When money's not the only thing that matters, you get to see what your options are a bit more. 
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com