Nene declines player option with Rockets

Colton Jones

Veteran center Nene Hilario has chosen to opt out of his contract and become an unrestricted free agent, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Hilario's contract included a player option for the 2019-20 season for $3.8 million, which he has opted to decline.

The Rockets, who are said to be chasing Jimmy Butler in a sign-and-trade deal, can utilize the cap space in an effort to get that deal done.

Hilario, who turn 37 on Sept. 13, could return to Houston on a one-year, $2.56 million contract, which would include a cap hit of $1.6 million, Luke Adams of HoopsRumors writes.

However, Alykhan Bijani of The Athletic reports retirement is a possibility for Hilario.

The seventh overall pick of the 2002 NBA Draft by the New York Knicks, Hilario averaged 3.6 points and 2.9 rebounds in 13.0 minutes in 42 games (2 starts) last season for the Rockets. He carries career averages of 11.3 points, 6.0 boards, 1.8 assists and 1.1 steals in 26.2 minutes in 965 games (626 starts), shooting 54.8 percent from the field and 66.0 percent from the free-throw line.

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