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Sunday, July 2, 2006
Nuggets, Nene agree to six-year, $60 million deal

ESPN.com news services

Brazilian big man Nene agreed to a six-year, $60 million deal with the Denver Nuggets on Sunday.

 Nene
Nene

"If there is any question about Stan Kronke's commitment to the Denver Nuggets, I think it's been answered this weekend," said Dan Fegan, Nene's agent. "Between this signing and the Carmelo Anthony extension, there's no doubt that they're 100 percent committed to winning."

The deal can't become official until July 12, when the salary cap is set for the 2006-07 season and exact contract values can be computed.

Nene, who was married Saturday in Rio de Janeiro, has career averages of 10.7 points and 6.2 rebounds. He played just three minutes last season before blowing out his right knee on opening night. He is recovering from surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament and isn't expected to return to full-court activity for another two months.

Will he be 100 percent healthy for next season?

"Both parties have had doctors look at Nene," Fegan said. "The doctor used the word 'beautiful' to describe how the ligaments healed. He's about three weeks away from being released for full-court competition."

Nene also missed 27 games in 2004-05 due to injuries, but the restricted free agent was one of the most prized players on the market because of his age, 23, and rare mix of brawn and athleticism for a man who packs 260 pounds on a 6-foot-11 frame.

"He has great size, great courage, great fundamentals and an upside that any NBA team would want on their roster," Nuggets coach George Karl said.

Fegan said he thought the Nuggets were ready to add more players. One of those could be another of Fegan's clients, power forward Reggie Evans, who joined the Nuggets at the trade deadline and solidified Denver's defense down the stretch.

"We're hopeful that we can reach an agreement with the Nuggets on Reggie and we're working toward that," Fegan said.

It's unclear how Nene's deal affects Kenyon Martin's stay in Denver. Martin has been on the outs with Karl for months after the Nuggets coach suspended Martin for insubordination during Denver's playoff series against the Clippers.

"Hopefully we'll be able to work it out," Karl said. "There's a high likelihood that he could be part of the team come October. He's got to be ready for that, and I've got to be ready for that."

One potential suitor for Martin is Dallas. Sources say the Mavericks are interested in adding toughness and athleticism to their front line.

ESPN Insider Chad Ford and The Associated Press contributed to this report.