Two seasons ago, the Washington Wizards made a move for trade for a big man to help the team out both then and in the future. Nene Hilario (now just known as Nene), is making $13M per year for the next three seasons, and the Wizards probably wish that they had saved that money so they could have spent it elsewhere.
It’s not that Nene hasn’t turned out to be a productive piece of the puzzle for the Wizards, as he is their third leading scorer this season at 12.9 points per game. It’s that he is clearly diminishing in value, especially in the Eastern Conference. For a team that is built to start winning either next year or in two seasons from now, this contract really is wearing the team down and killing any chance that it had of going out and signing a big free agent this summer.
As it is for this season, Nene has averaged 12.9 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. This will be the first year that he hasn’t averaged at least 7.4 rebounds per game since 2007-08, and the first year that he hasn’t averaged at least 13.4 points per game since that same injury-shortened season. T
he Brazilian is also only shooting 48.0 percent from the field, a far cry from the 61.5 percent that he was shooting when he was traded from the Denver Nuggets back in 2010-11 and 2011-12.
Our NBA predictions suggest that the Wizards are about set to be able to crack the playoffs in the Eastern Conference with a healthy G John Wall and G Bradley Beal, perhaps as early as the 2013-14 season. However, with Nene really weighing them down, it is going to be tough see how the Wiz can truly contend for an Eastern Conference crown until his contract expires in three seasons.