Mandatory Credit: Douglas Jones-US PRESSWIRE
Be sure to read this update on Jameer Nelson's contract situation, filed shortly after this post was published - ED
Per the contract extension he signed just before tipoff of the 2007/08 NBA season, Orlando Magic point guard Jameer Nelson must notify the team by Friday if he'll exercise his contract option for 2012/13. Nelson has said before he wants to finish his career with the Magic, the only team for which he's ever played at the pro level, but the decision to use the option isn't an easy one.
If Nelson were to exercise his option, he would play the 2012/13 season as an expiring contract worth around $8 million, according to ShamSports, a not insignificant amount. He'd instantly become the team's best trade asset, and Nelson does not want to be traded. Like anyone would in his situation, Nelson wants a say in where he's headed, and it's difficult to imagine a scenario in which the cash- and asset-strapped Magic don't trade him if he exercises his option.
Nelson will assuredly elect to test the free-agent market, and as Steve Kyler noted on his stint on ESPN 1040 Thursday afternoon, in his "heart of hearts" he'd hope to re-sign a long-term deal with Orlando, one which would keep him in Magic pinstripes but also drastically reduce his chances of being traded in the near future.
Orlando, which still does not have a General Manager or a coach after parting ways with Otis Smith and Stan Van Gundy, will have plenty of tough decisions to make this summer, among them what to do with Dwight Howard if he won't sign an extension, how much to pay Ryan Anderson, and whether to guarantee J.J. Redick's 2012/13 salary. Nelson's decision is a key one in the future of the franchise, and it's one over which it has no control.