Green Target: Nene

Denver Nuggets center Nene Hilario has chosen to opt out of the final year of his six-year, $60 million contract, making himself an unrestricted free agent and the newest Green Target. The 28 year old big man out of Brazil has played very well for the Nuggets over his first nine seasons in the NBA, and has become known for his ability to rebound, defend, and establish control within the paint. With that being said, he has also demonstrated improved awareness on offense, and has become a legitimate scoring threat in Denver's front court over the past few years. This past season, Nene averaged 14.6 points and 7.6 rebounds per game, as well as a block, a steal, and a sky high field-goal percentage of 61.5%.

How the Celtics could get him: Nene has really padded his resume with such productive career numbers in Denver, but he has decided that he wants to test free agency, and potentially become part of an organization with more playoff success than the Nuggets have had. Nene immediately becomes one of the biggest names on the market right now, and likely the most valuable big man outside of Tyson Chandler, who will likely be rejoining the reigning NBA champs in Dallas. Many teams will likely pursue Nene, but with glaring issues at the center position, and uncertainty about Big Baby's future, I could definitely see Boston making a legitimate offer to bring him in as the new starting center.

Pros: With aging big men and a thinning front court, the Celtics are undoubtedly in need of a capable starting center who will both contribute on offense and establish control in the paint on defense. Nene has the talent and athleticism to do both, and could potentially fill the void left by the losses of Perkins, Shaq, and Krstic. Also at the ripe age of 28, Nene is not yet approaching the end of his career, and his offensive awareness and scoring ability may continue to improve. He played in 75 games this past season, and played all 82 in the 2009-2010 season. Nene has many of the intangibles that the Celtics truly need in their starting center, plus more than 14 points per game to boot. Nene and Kevin Garnett could become a very dynamic duo in the paint, and Nene could see more production than ever by becoming a central piece to this star-studded lineup. His points per game would be virtually guaranteed to increase with Rondo as his point guard.

Cons: Consistency. Nene has some spectacular games where he shows signs of brilliance, utterly dominating the paint, putting up huge offensive numbers, and anchoring the defense. That is exactly the kind of guy that the Celtics need right now. However, there are other games where Nene seems almost invisible and fails to make a significant impact. When this happens, it is often due to foul trouble, but Nene has shown that he has the ability to be the difference maker on the court, and must always play hard enough to exemplify that role. Chris "Birdman" Andersen has emerged as the "energy" guy for Denver, filling in for Nene and making a push for the starting center job by always playing hard in the paint. Nene has all the talent, but he needs to cut down on the temporary lapses on the court to bring out his full potential. It will likely require a relatively beefy contract to bring him in, so he needs to play consistent, especially in the playoffs, in order to warrant all that cash. However, I firmly believe that a shift to Boston could potentially bring the best out of Nene, once he's starting alongside the Big Four.

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