Following 10 seasons with the Orlando Magic, Jameer Nelson has been released by the franchise with which he has spent his entire career.
The Magic confirmed the news on Twitter Monday following the decision:
Nelson was a consummate professional with Orlando, posting more than 10 points and five assists per game during each of the last seven seasons as a starter. Despite turning 32 last season, he still tallied 12.1 points and seven assists on the season.
Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel provides more specifics on the situation and shares his thoughts on what it means for the player: "The move will save the Magic $6 million, and it also could help Nelson, who is expected to draw interest from playoff teams that need an experienced point guard."
Robbins added more about the possible future for Nelson:
I expect that Jameer Nelson will receive interest from playoff teams that need an experienced PG who can shoot.— Josh Robbins (@JoshuaBRobbins) June 30, 2014
I think Jameer will welcome a chance to go to a winner again. It'll be interesting to see how free agency develops for him— Josh Robbins (@JoshuaBRobbins) June 30, 2014
John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com speculates on some possible landing spots for the former Magic point guard:
I fully expect #Pistons President & coach Stan Van Gundy to reach out to Nelson in free agency. Both have tremendous respect for one another— John Denton (@JohnDenton555) June 30, 2014
Right decision by Orlando?
Though it's never ideal to see such a longtime player depart, the Magic are clearly allowing Nelson to look at his options and attempt to secure a championship before he retires.
Some of the options Denton provides aren't exactly playoff contenders, but franchises like the Miami Heat and Washington Wizards will compete for a championship in the next several seasons. For both teams, having a veteran backup point guard could be a crucial piece for a late playoff run.
As for the Magic, the team recently traded away Arron Afflalo and could be looking at moving in a different direction next season. Invigorated with young players like Victor Oladipo, Aaron Gordon and Elfrid Payton, Orlando is clearly in rebuilding mode and shaping the roster for the future.
What the actual future holds for both sides is up to anyone's guess. For now, Nelson is a free agent with plenty of experience, and he can step up for a playoff contender.