Jameer Nelson is not in the future plans of the Orlando Magic, which is why he’s on everybody’s trade watch lists for this season.
The Magic are rebuilding with youth, he is a 31-year-old point guard making a team-high $8.6 million this season but can be bought out for $2 million next season. (Yes, technically Hedo Turkoglu could make more than Nelson if Turkoglu is not bought out, but that’s another story and he’s not around the team). It was a little bit of a surprise the rebuilding Magic re-signed him to a three-year deal before last season, but he wanted to stay and they wanted to smooth the transition.
Nelson is available by trade. So are Glen Davis and Arron Afflalo — Magic GM Rob Hennigan is not giving them away for pennies on the dollar, but you can get them for a package that helps the Orlando rebuilding process.
“I’m just here right now,” Nelson said. “That’s my goal: to be here as long as I can. Like I said in past years, I love it here and I definitely would like to stay. I understand things happen and it’s a business. Right now, I’m here and my job is to help lead and to help get these guys where we need them to be as a team and as an organization.”
The Magic had rookie Victor Oladipo playing point in some scrimmages, Nelson can certainly be a mentor and help that process along for now. But it sounds like Nelson knows what is coming.
The quote above is from a guy who sounds like he knows what is coming and has a “go bag” packed near the door for when he has to suddenly hit the road.
Nelson is still a very good pick-and-roll point guard when he is aggressive and looks for his shot. But he can get passive on offense and he’s not a great defender (he’s strong but not relatively quick). For teams looking for point guards — or contenders thinking about a quality backup — Nelson may be the guy. At worst, you can get out cheap next season.
If you’re looking at guys to be traded this season, Nelson should be near the top of your list (along with a few other Magic players).