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Nene Leaning Toward Opting Out Of Final Year With Nuggets, Becoming Free Agent

While speculated at during the NBA Trade Deadline, Denver Nuggets forward Nene told the Denver Post's Chris Dempsey that he is "strongly considering" leaving money on the table by declining the final year of his contract and testing free agency. He would leave $11.6 million behind, but free agency could reward him with, as Chris Dempsey speculates, as much as $14 million per season.

Nene appears to have some issues with the Nuggets, as he said:

"I did my best for the team, for the city. I tried to do my best for the fans. But the (Nuggets) need to understand you need to see the return on the other side, or you need to look for it. You need to look for it sometimes. They don't realize all of the sacrifices I made. When you don't feel appreciated, it's hard."

Is this veiled reference to not receiving an extension from the Nuggets before this past season? Tom Ziller of SB Nation believes this could be a negotiating ploy by Nene to get an extension before a new collective bargaining agreement is struck (player salaries could be reduced in a new one).

The Nuggets will also need to decide on whether they want to re-sign Kenyon Martin, an impending free agent. The Nuggets will certainly need to find some help in the front court in the draft and via free agency.

For more on the Nuggets, please visit Denver Stiffs.