Jameer Nelson has a life-changing decision to make and not much time left to make it.
Nelson has a player option to make $7.8 million next season, or he can become a free agent. There would be some demand for him on the market — especially after a good playoffs where he averaged 15.6 points and 6.6 assists per game — but what he really would be looking for is a three or four year deal. He might give up a little money short term for some long-term security. (Although I doubt he’d give up much if any money, what he makes is the going rate for a quality starting point guard.)
But, he has to make the decision by Friday. From the Orlando Sentinel.
The Orlando Magic’s co-captain and starting point guard must make a decision whether invoke his player option for the 2012-13 season, and General Manager Otis Smith said that Nelson is contractually obligated to make his choice known within three days of the Magic’s final postseason game.
The problem for Nelson is, he wants to know little details like who the coach will be and who the general manager will be and maybe if Dwight Howard is going to be sticking around. And he’s not going to know any of that by Friday.
“I can’t make the decision until some other decisions are made around here,” Nelson said. “I want to be here in the Orlando Magic uniform. I love being here. I love being in the city.”
My guess is he declines the option, for a few reasons. One is he wants to be in control and if he picks up the option the Magic could trade him; as a free agent he can sign back up with Magic if they make moves he likes, or he can listen to other offers.
Another reason is he can get the multiple years he wants. Being in the last year of a deal can be good if you put up big numbers, but it comes with injury risks as well. Right now he is healthy, he can get a good deal.
The question is will it be in Orlando?
Kevin Durant might have left the Thunder, in part, because he grew tired of playing with Russell Westbrook.
But does that mean nobody wants to play with Westbrook?
Presented with that claim, Oklahoma City center Enes Kanter refuted it strongly:
Of course, many players want to play with Russell Westbrook. He’s a great player and even better competitor. People want to be around someone so maniacal about winning and capable of delivering.
But there’s an obvious difference between Kanter and Durant. It’s much easier for a pick-and-roll big man than a superstar wing to play with Westbrook.
Westbrook tends to over-dribble, and he can be selfish. I’d understand Durant preferring a team with more ball movement like the Warriors.
Kanter doesn’t have the cachet to pick any team at any salary like Durant did. Of his options, Kanter is probably genuinely happy to play with Westbrook. And the Thunder should be happy to have Westbrook (as long as they do). His strengths far outweigh his flaws.
No scoring star seamlessly blend with each other. Even LeBron James and Dwyane Wade — close friends and one an elite passer — struggled to mesh early in their Heat days. It’s just hard when there’s one ball.
So, it’s unfair to kill Westbrook for this drawback to his game. Maybe he’d click better with another star who’s more aggressive than Durant. And it’s not even as if Westbrook and Durant failed together. Oklahoma City won a lot of games with those two.
Plenty of players would sign up to replace Durant as Westbrook’s partner in crime.
Amar’e Stoudemire — despite spending more time and having more success with the Suns — signed with the Knicks to retire.
Why not Phoenix?
John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7:
Stoudemire was linked to the Suns last year, but a return never happened.
It didn’t make more sense now. Phoenix already has 15 players, the regular-season roster limit. John Jenkins and Alan Williams have unguaranteed deals, but why waive one for Stoudemire? The Suns are semi-rebuilding, and Tyson Chandler already serves as a veteran big.
There’s a reason Stoudemire retired rather then sign somewhere. Maybe nobody wanted him.
But it’s also only July, and teams are still filling out their rosters. If Stoudemire wants to keep playing, he might have opportunities later, especially after the trade deadline. He’s just 33. There’s now reason to believe his retirement won’t stick.
Derek Fisher is already stumping for his second head-coaching job.
Fisher has done plenty since retiring as a player — getting hired by the Knicks, getting fired by the Knicks and in between being attacked by Matt Barnes and finding another controversy about player relations.
All the while, Fisher counted against the cap for the Thunder, his last NBA team.
Oklahoma City finally renounced him to sign Alex Abrines.
Albert Nahmad of Heat Hoops:
This is one of my favorite salary-cap quirks, explained in further detail here.
These are becoming fewer and further between, because teams are using cap room more frequently as the salary cap skyrockets. Gone are the days of a team operating above the cap for a dozen straight years.
There’s also even less utility in old cap holds now that a player must have played the prior season for a team to be used in a sign-and-trade. (Not that these holds were useful except the rarest of occasions prior, anyway.)
Fisher’s quick transition from playing to coaching helped make this an exception, allowing this weird (and trivial) transaction.
Where will the NBA hold the 2017 All-Star game?
New Orleans? Probably.
New York/Brooklyn or Chicago? Maybe.
One more maybe: Las Vegas.
Scott Kusher of The Advocate:
The NBA held All-Star Weekend in Las Vegas in 2007. By all accounts, it was wild.
I’d be surprised if the league returned the event to Las Vegas, but at this point, I’d really be surprised by any option besides New Orleans.