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Nene deal with Rockets falls apart because no fourth year, reportedly he’s “back to square one”

Houston Rockets v San Antonio Spurs - Game Two

SAN ANTONIO, TX - MAY 03: Nene Hilario #42 of the Houston Rockets drives against LaMarcus Aldridge #12 of the San Antonio Spurs during Game Two of the NBA Western Conference Semi-Finals at AT&T Center on May 3, 2017 in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

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Nene Hilario thought he had a deal, he was going to sign a four-year, $15 million contract to come off the bench for the Houston Rockets.

Except, he couldn’t sign a four-year deal — he turns 35 before next season starts, which subjects him to the “over-38" rule. Bobby Marks of ESPN explains.

The structure of the Nene contract with Houston is three-years, $10.9m. Houston is not permitted to give Nene a four-year contract because of the Over 38 rule. The fourth season would have extended past his 38th birthday.

That didn’t work for Nene, reports Marc Spears of The Undefeated at ESPN.

I get Nene is frustrated, but he also has to know that no team can give him a four-year deal because of the over-38 rule (which used to be the over-36 rule until this new CBA). What he wants to do now is squeeze more money out of the three-year deal he can sign, knowing that there’s a good chance this is his last NBA contract.

Houston was offering an average of $3.3 million per year for a player who averaged 9.8 points and 4.2 rebounds in the 67 games he played — he’s good and efficient still if teams can keep his minutes in the 15-18 per game range. But he’s also got a long history of injuries — 67 games last season was the most he’s played in six seasons. He’s not getting younger. How much would other teams pay? Will other teams looking for a bench big later in July offer a little more per year?

Nene may be willing to wait it out and see.