During the 2016-17 NBA season, Nene established himself as a key contributor for the Houston Rockets. With Dwight Howard signing with the Atlanta Hawks and Clint Capela only 23 years old, the 15-year veteran exceeded expectations for head coach Mike D'Antoni.
While there was a hiccup in free agency, Nene ultimately re-signed on a three-year, $10.9 million deal. In an interview with Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype, the 34-year-old expressed excitement about playing with Chris Paul and James Harden:
“They’ll be great together,” Nenê said of Harden and Paul. “It will be an unbelievable experience to play with James and Chris. James is the best offensive player in the game and Chris is an amazing ball player as well. They can score from anywhere on the court and they both have a basketball IQ that’s off the charts.
Nene also expressed excitement about the Rockets adding PJ Tucker, Tarik Black, and Luc Mbah a Moute in free agency to improve the team's depth:
“I’m very excited for this season,” Nenê said. “We have a great group of guys. We have the talent, leadership and experience to be really good. I have been working extremely hard to get my body ready for this season, and I’m looking forward to going to battle with these guys.”
With every team chasing the defending champion Golden State Warriors, the Rockets will be in the discussion. While there are questions about how Paul and Harden will coexist, the thought process is they will lower each other's workload and stay relatively fresh through the 82-game season grind.
As the new season approaches, the Rockets may not be done making moves. They still remain in trade discussions with the New York Knicks regarding Carmelo Anthony, but will need to put a better package together than Ryan Anderson's remaining three-year, $60 million deal.