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Spears: Blazers Interested In Nuggets FA C Nene Hilario?

Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports reports that the Portland Trail Blazers are on the list of teams potentially interested in Denver Nuggets unrestricted free agent center Nene Hilario, who says he wants out of the Mile High City.

Nene won't lack for suitors. The Golden State Warriors, New Jersey Nets, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Clippers, Indiana Pacers, Miami Heat, Dallas Mavericks and Portland Trail Blazers are among the teams that figure to have interest.

Nene, 29, says he wants to play for a contender - perhaps at the expense of a more lucrative contract elsewhere. The Heat and Mavericks, who will both be over the salary cap, should be happy to hear that.

"It's not about the money," Nene said. "If I wanted to retire today I could retire because I saved my money. So right now I want to be happy and improve. That's what I want. That's what everybody wants. I need help. I need good players around. People say, ‘Nene, the last six years you averaged 14 points and eight or seven rebounds.' OK, but they don't say why.

Ken Berger of reports that Nene wants out but does not include the Blazers on the list of the six teams that are "in the hunt" for his services.

The Nuggets are operating under the firm belief that Nene will test the market as an unrestricted free agent, according to a person familiar with the team's thinking. Six teams have registered interest, the source said: Golden State, New Jersey, Indiana, Miami, Dallas and Houston.

Nene is expected to draw a near-max offer as one of this year's premier free agents and therefore is out of Portland's price range, even if the Blazers were to use the Amnesty Clause on Brandon Roy and opted not to re-sign center Greg Oden. The only reasonable, viable method for Portland to obtain Nene would be by sign-and-trade. With so many teams with cap space in the hunt and Portland's limited stable of quality trade assets, this is the longest of long shots.

-- Ben Golliver | | Twitter