On the table in front of Nene are two choices: Take the last year of his contract, which would keep him with the Nuggets, or opt out of his contract, which could make him a former member of the Nuggets.
While no final decision has been made, Nene said Monday he is strongly considering opting out of the final season of his six-year, $60 million contract, which would pay him $12 million, and testing the free-agent market.
After nine seasons in the NBA, Nene has full control of his future and it could take hard work for the Nuggets to make him happy enough to return.
"I've been here for nine years," said Nene, 28. "If that doesn't work how you want it, you need to sit down and evaluate everything and see what you can do."
The overarching issues in this situation are his level of happiness with the Nuggets and, ultimately, his value on the open market.
Players similar to him — Utah's Al Jefferson, Chicago's Carlos Boozer and Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge — will make $11 million to $14 million next season. The NBA's new collective bargaining agreement will have the final say about what the market can offer Nene, but he stands to command big dollars.
Nuggets executives Masai Ujiri and Josh Kroenke have said they want Nene back, but will have to ask themselves how high they want to go.
But it's not all about the next contract for Nene. There is a large component of appreciation that Nene says is missing, and that's proving to be equally as important as the dollars.
"If I play happy, if I enjoy the game, my game improves," Nene said. "I did my best for the team, for the city. I tried to do my best for the fans. But the (Nuggets) need to understand you need to see the return on the other side, or you need to look for it. You need to look for it sometimes.
"They don't realize all of the sacrifices I made. When you don't feel appreciated, it's hard."
During his career in Denver, Nene has had to battle back from major injuries and ailments: a torn ACL in his right knee in the 2005-06 season opener, a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb in November 2007 and a bout with testicular cancer in January 2008.
Nene made it through and has been a durable player the past three seasons, playing no fewer than 75 games.
This season, Nene set a career high in field-goal percentage (.615). The 6-foot-11 center from Brazil was near career highs in points (averaging 14.5), free-throw percentage (.711) and rebounds (averaging 7.6).
"I'm very professional. I do my best and I want the team to do their best too — look good, have the best players they can have, be smart," Nene said.
And he intends to continue operating in that fashion whether it's with the Nuggets or another team.
"Nine years you give your best to represent the Denver Nuggets name," Nene said. "There's not many players that take that seriously, that name. I did because I want to be here. I want to retire here. But God says you know your present, but your future is in his hands."