Denton: Nelson's Decision Delayed

By John Denton
June 14, 2012

ORLANDO – In a move that should satisfy the long-term wishes of the Orlando Magic and Jameer Nelson’s immediate future, the NBA approved an amendment on Thursday to the veteran point guard’s contract that will delay his opt-out decision until later in the month.

Nelson, Orlando’s point guard the past eight seasons, will now have until June 29 to decide whether or not he will stay in the final year of his contract or opt out in pursuit of a long-term deal.

Under the original terms of a contract signed four years ago, Nelson was to have informed the Magic of his decision by Friday. But because the Magic have yet to hire a general manager and a head coach following the dismissals of Otis Smith and Stan Van Gundy, both sides sought an amendment to the contract that would offer more time.

Nelson, who had 27 points in Game 5 against Indiana in what proved to be Orlando’s final game of the season, has stated his love for the Magic franchise and is seeking a long-term deal that will keep him in Orlando for several more seasons.

Here is the crux of Nelson’s quandary: The Magic co-captain is due $7.8 million next season, which will be the final year of his contract. He would like to sign a contract extension or a deal that would guarantee him several more seasons of security. But to do so, he would have to opt-out of the final year of the deal and he possibly might have to go elsewhere.

``I’d love to stay here in Orlando and I want to be in Orlando. I have to sit down with my agent and my family and decide what’s best for myself,’’ Nelson said last month. ``We just have to sit down and talk to the organization about what’s going on and make a decision.’’

Getting the deadline pushed back to June 29 gives the Magic the ability to get a GM in place and likely a head coach hired. Also, with the NBA Draft being held on June 28, the Magic should have a better understanding of their personnel by Nelson’s new deadline.

Magic CEO Alex Martins has spent much of the past two weeks interviewing candidates for the GM job and hopes to have someone hired well before the NBA Draft. Nelson could be looking for a deal similar to that of Rajon Rondo ($10 million), Jose Calderon ($9.7 million) or Russell Westbrook ($9 million).

A more likely scenario would likely be something of at least three years worth the $6.5 million a season that Memphis point guard Mike Conley makes.

The 6-foot Nelson has spent his entire NBA career with the Magic, averaging 12.4 points and 5.0 assists in 527 career NBA games. He averaged 11.9 points and 5.7 assists this past season while playing in 57 of 66 games.

In the playoffs against Indiana, he averaged 15.6 points and 6.6 assists. He scored in double figures in all five playoff games, scoring 17 in the Game 1 win and 27 in the Game 5 loss.

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