The Nene Situation: Will the Brazilian Be Benched? (UPDATE: Yes)
Nene has been suspended for one game. Obviously not ideal and perhaps not totally just, but in my current opinion, he got what he deserved. As the veteran, Nene should have kept his composure. And although reports are saying it was because of the head-butt, the decision was undoubtedly based on cumulative acts: aggressive head needling, double-handed head grasping, and perhaps, a menacing fist. So, the Wizards must move on, and they can certainly win Game 4 without Nene. But also: This is #SoWizards.
What is the Nene situation? Wouldn’t we all like to know. The Big Brazilian losing his cool is nothing new. In 2009, as a member of the Nuggets, he was suspended two games for head-butting an opposing player, Louis Amundson, then of the Phoenix Suns, now a Chicago Bull, and for making contact with an official.
But did Nene head-butt Jimmy Butler on Friday night? On ESPN TrueHoop, I’ve broken down the situation and what it means for the Wizards.
Washington was able to survive a 21-game stretch from late February to early April without Nene (due to a sprained MCL) with a 12-9 record, but against this Bulls squad in these playoffs, he’s a critical component, particularly from an offensive standpoint. The defeat brought an abrupt end to the Wizards’ playoff honeymoon, but a Game 4 without Nene could slap Washington with the cold reality of an even series and the return of home-court advantage to Chicago.
Asked if he thought he would be playing on Sunday, the spiritual Nene said, “I don’t know. You know the rule, huh? So, I’ll see.”
But for this particular occasion, the NBA will be Nene’s judge and jury, determining in a day whether he will be in uniform, or simply wearing his Sunday best.