The NBA and NBA Players’ Association have altered the nature behind Nene’s newly-signed 2-year, $20 million deal.
The NBA and Players Association has made ruling on Nene’s two-year, $20M deal to return to Rockets: Contract will keep its $2.6M base but will exclude the “likely” bonuses of more than $7M per year as a salary in a trade, sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) September 19, 2019
The deal was an interesting loophole way to turn Nene into a valuable trade asset to acquire a pricy veteran, like Grizzlies wing Andre Iguodala, but the NBA ultimately changed the valuation.
The base of Nene’s contract, $2.56 million, remains intact. However, if traded, Nene’s “likely bonuses” would not count.
Nene contract details for 2019-20:— David Weiner (@BimaThug) September 11, 2019
$2.565M base salary
$2.435M "likely" incentive - play 10 games*
$2.5M "likely" incentive - play 25 games*
$2.5M "likely" incentive - play 40 games*
* Team must also win 52+ games
(Nene played in 42 games, & HOU won 53 games, last season.) https://t.co/pR0wXvy6jV
The bonuses were based on how many games Nene played and if the Rockets won 52 or more games.
The Rockets signed him to this contract strictly as a trade asset, but the part of the contract that turned Nene into a trade asset is now void.
While Nene is unable to be traded before January 15, the Rockets would have been in prime position to move Nene sometime between then and February 6, the trade deadline.
If Nene stays on the Rockets’ roster before February 15, his $2.69 million option for 2020-21 will become fully guaranteed, which seems unlikely at this point.
Nene can still be traded, but it won’t be a deal that the Rockets were initially hoping for. His salary would have been able to match one with a price tag in the neighborhood of $8-10 million, but now it is simply a small veteran’s contract.
Perhaps the Rockets could appeal, but it does not seem like an appeal the Rockets would win.
While the ruling is a loss for Houston, it isn’t a catastrophic loss and won’t set the Rockets back too much. They still have a great veteran that will keep the chemistry strong and another mentor for the squad.