On Monday, the Orlando Magic cut ties with veteran point guard Jameer Nelson, officially waiving him.
The move save the Magic $6 million. Nelson was due $8 million for the 2014-2015 season, but his deal was only partially guaranteed. Nelson has been a huge part of the Magic’s franchise, spending all 10 of his professional seasons in Orlando, but the losing had to take a toll on him. The Magic could have kept Nelson as a valuable trade chip for teams looking to clear cap space prior to making a big free agent signing or as an expiring contract at the trade deadline.
Instead, the Magic, who thanked Nelson with billboards and a page on their website, did Nelson a favor by letting him pick his next team, rather than choosing for him. The Miami Heat are looking for shooters and another reliable point guard to team with rookie Shabazz Napier, the Brooklyn Nets need a replacement for Shaun Livingston, who signed with the Golden State Warriors and the New Orleans Pelicans are also reportedly interested.
According to Jared Zwerling of Bleacher Report, “about” 15 total teams are interested in Nelson. Zwerling believes Nelson is healthy, wants to win and could serve as a valuable mentor, much like he did with Magic rookie guard Victor Oladipo last season. With the way the market is currently moving, Nelson could command up to $5-7 million.
Nelson averaged 12.1 points, 7.0 assists and 3.4 rebounds per game while shooting 39.4% from the field, 34.8% from beyond the arc and 85.7% from the free throw line last season.