With the way the Orlando Magic is getting rid of salaries and veteran players, someone must be cooking something behind the curtains.
ESPN.com reports that the Orlando Magic waived yet another veteran guard in Jameer Nelson, saving up $6 million in salaries and handing over the point guard duties to newly drafted point guard Elfrid Payton. With the departure of Nelson, the last link to the old days of Dwight Howard, Rashard Lewis and Stan Van Gundy and company who went to the NBA Finals in 2010 is finally gone.
Nevertheless, the 10-year veteran starting point guard of the Magic is grateful for opportunities given his way by the organization.
"I appreciate the opportunity the Orlando Magic has afforded me and my family over the past 10 years," Nelson said as per ESPN.com. "All good things must come to an end, however, and it's time to move on. I look forward to continuing my career as an NBA player and will never take for granted my time in Orlando."
This development comes just weeks before the team would have to be obligated the full $8 million dollar of the final year of his contract. That number was substantially reduced to $2 million guaranteed salary as they waived him before the July 16 date.
A fan favorite in Orlando, Nelson started his career with the Magic after the organization acquired him in a draft day deal with the Denver Nuggets who selected him 20th overall in the 2004 draft. Listed at just 6 feet, he was initially estimated too small to man the starting point guard spot in the NBA. However, he proved critics wrong as he averaged 12.6 points and 5.4 assists in 651 regular season games with the Magic. He was also selected to the All-star games once during the 2009 season. He departs the franchise as the all-time leader in assists with 3,501 and the second in minutes played (651).
His departure would open doors to the veteran who is expected to be considered by contenders and rebuilding teams alike for his veteran leadership and possibly mentoring skills as he did with Victor Oladipo last year. Nelson is reportedly being eyed by several teams such as the Charlotte Bobcats, Miami Heat and the Dallas Mavericks as soon as they have chased their initial, prime free agent targets.