It was no secret the Washington Wizards needed point guard help behind John Wall. It’s also no secret the rebuilding Orlando Magic are no longer a great fit for 32-year-old Jameer Nelson.
The two teams would have made sense as trade partners before last week’s deadline.
In fact, the Wizards reportedly really wanted to be trade partners with the Magic.
John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com:
The Wizards settled for Andre Miller, and so far, so good. Washington is 3-0 with Miller, because he’s stabilized their play when John Wall sits.
Before the the trade, the Wizards were outscored by 11.7 points per 100 possessions without Wall. Since, Miller has played all 44 minutes Wall has sat, posting a modest 12 points and nine assists total. But he’s turned the ball over just twice and improved Washington’s net rating to -1.2 without Wall.
I doubt the Wizards have much regret.
But, at the time, I would have narrowly preferred Nelson if I were Washington. So, what were the Magic seeking that prevented the trade from happening?
The Wizards surrendered the Pelicans’ 2015 second rounder for Miller, so Orlando likely wanted more than that. Washington can’t trade any future first-round pick due to its trade for Marcin Gortat, so that limits options. Maybe the Wizards own 2014 second rounder or multiple second rounders? That wouldn’t be totally unreasonable, but if Orlando were willing to accept less and was just playing hardball, it backfired when Washington traded for Miller.
Either way, the Magic took a risk. At 32, Nelson’s production projects to decline further. Their best chance of getting better value for him is trading him after the season for a bigger contract to a team seeking cap relief. Then, that team could buy out Nelson for just $2 million (of an $8 million salary) on or before July 15.
Will that return best the Pelicans’ 2015 second rounder? That’s the bar for Orlando.