Jameer Nelson will be among the most desirable free agents this offseason, and though he's said he isn't interested in leaving Orlando, everyone is interested for the right price.
According to ESPNFlorida.com's Andrew Melnick, Nelson is considering opting out of the final year of his contract in Orlando—worth $7.8 million—in favor of testing the free agent waters. He currently averages 11.9 points, 5.7 assists and 3.2 rebounds in 14.66 minutes per game, and with an increased responsibility now that Dwight Howard is out for the postseason, he could make himself even more desirable with a strong playoff performance.
Here's a breakdown of Nelson's most likely landing spots this summer.
1. Orlando Magic
All indications are that Nelson's preference is to stay in Orlando, but that could change. There's no telling who will be the coach or whether Dwight Howard will be around for the whole season, and those factors could change Nelson's desire to be there. Whatever the case, he has to make his case known within a week after Orlando's final postseason game. (They kick off their action against Indiana on Saturday.)
According to Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel, Nelson doesn't want to go anywhere:
My thing is, I definitely want to be here next year and for the rest of my career.
Still, opting out is an attractive option as well because it gives him the opportunity to seek the security provided by a multi-year deal, even it means a lower starting salary. And as Robbins points out, Nelson would have no control over his destination if the Magic decided to trade him mid-season next year to clear cap space.
Staying in Orlando would give Nelson what he appears to want for the near term but very little control over his future and possibly less money.
2. Phoenix Suns
Steve Nash is also a free agent, and if he chases a lucrative deal elsewhere, the Suns will find themselves in need of a point guard. Nelson would be a much cheaper and younger option, though obviously not quite as prolific.
Where will Jameer Nelson end up next season?
Nash will be 38 when the season starts next year; Nelson will be 30. If Nelson opted to sign with the Suns, he could play for a team that could contend for a playoff berth next season while sharing time with Sebastian Telfair.
3. Dallas Mavericks
This offseason, the Mavericks are going to be in the market for someone who can replace Jason Kidd, whose contract expires at the end of the season. He might retire, but even if he doesn't, the Mavericks won't bring him back. Instead, they could try to woo Deron Williams—or, if they don't get him, Nelson.
Williams is interested in opting out of his current deal with the Nets, but according to ESPNNewYork.com's Mike Mazzeo, he hasn't counted out re-signing with the Nets, who are moving to Brooklyn next season. The Mavericks will make a play for him if they can, but in case that falls through, Nelson is a good option to take over point guard duties.