With Denver Nuggets center, Nene Hilario, becoming a free agent this year, he has a lot of suitors looking to grab him. Among those teams are the Miami Heat, who have been looking for a solid center to help them in the long run in the playoffs. It clearly showed in the NBA Finals that they needed help at the center position after being dominated down low by the Dallas Mavericks.
But could the Indiana Pacers get Nene?
Writes one of my good partners, Michael Fogliano, at my website HardcourtMayhem.com:
The Pacers are a young, solid team and could use the veteran help from Nene.
Indiana already has its own 7’2″, unique low-post presence in Roy Hibbert. Nene alongside him equals nasty.
Keep in mind, Hibbert is just 24 years old.
Starting with Danny Granger, I think the Pacers have a solid, upcoming core. Nene added to the mix would make them significantly better, as their lineup would be complete.
With the addition of Nene, they would be able to utilize Tyler Hansbrough coming off the bench, which I think would be a great ability to have.
The Pacers have plenty of room to sign him—five players off the books this year—it’s now only a matter of pursuing and gaining his interest.
I would love it if Nene joined the Pacers. If Hilario were to join, the starting line-up would have Darren Collison starting at point guard, Paul George at shooting guard (I hope), Danny Granger at small forward, Nene at power forward, and Roy Hibbert at center. Indiana would be dominant on the boards with two big seven-footers attacking the boards.
The Pacers were in fact one of the top teams in rebounding this past season, and the addition of the likes of Nene could put them on the top. Plus, with the cap space they have this year with guys like Mike Dunleavy, T.J. Ford, and Jeff Foster leaving with their big salaries, I could definitely see Indiana getting Nene on their roster. Plus, with that, the Pacers got a monster coming off the bench in Tyler Hansbrough, so it basically means Indy is all set down low.
However, sadly to be honest, I don’t think it will happen. Why? Well, first of all, Nene wants to go to a contender team that can make the Finals basically right now. The Miami Heat can do that, and are the favorites to win it all this season. I’m still rooting for Indy to get a Finals win, but being realistic: this team is young and is not ready for that. Right now, their best bet is just continuing to make the playoffs.
As for Nene, it looks like he’ll be heading to South Beach, taking a bit less money, and looking to get a ring. As for Indy, it won’t be that bad. The Pacers still can go after other guys like David West or Carl Landry. News recently popped up this morning that they are interested in West and are one of the top teams on his radar. Landry would also be a nice fit.
If I were Indy, I think they should go after Landry first. Actually, I’d much rather have Landry. West is coming off a big injury and is getting older, so I much rather have a younger Landry who can score for Indy down low, something they can definitely have help with.
Nonetheless, I expect a lot coming for the Pacers this off-season with all the cap space they have.