It’s been a tough year for Jameer Nelson. His season started off horribly, but got better month by month. The same couldn’t be said for his team. The Dwight Howard drama hit an apex seemingly once a month and often times Nelson heard whispers that Howard’s camp was pushing the Magic front office to upgrade the point guard spot. The Magic still have a playoff run to make, but Nelson has something else in the back of his mind. As the Orlando Sentinel’s Josh Robbins writes, Nelson could exercise his player option after this season. The only question is will he?
“My thing is, I definitely want to be here next year and for the rest of my career,” Nelson said. “I’m just focusing on winning games and helping my team win and lead the team. But definitely it’s something in the back of my mind. But, like I said, I can’t focus on it as much as I would like to. I’ll sit down with my team and my family at the end of the season and discuss what’s going on and what are the possibilities.”
Once thought to be a top ten point guard, the last few seasons have been tough on Nelson. If he does opt out of the final year of his deal, he’ll be giving up close to eight million dollars. As Robbins points out, Nelson could opt out and sign a longer deal for less money per season. It worked for Richard Jefferson a couple of seasons back. Signing a long term deal with the Magic would also keep him from being a trade chip at next February’s trade deadline. The better question is why would Orlando commit to anyone but Dwight Howard long term at this point? They want to clear as much money as they can for the summer of 2013 to try to sign Dwight long term and add some new pieces around him. If I were Nelson, I’d opt in to the final year, play my ass off and try to get a long term deal next summer. Plus it’s really hard to walk away from eight million guaranteed dollars.