NBA Free Agents 2012: Jameer Nelson Declines Orlando Magic Option

Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-US PRESSWIRE

Jameer Nelson notified the Orlando Magic he will decline his option for the 2012/13 season with the club, reports Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel, which decision will make him an unrestricted free agent on July 1st. Nelson had until midnight Friday to accept the option, which acceptance would have guaranteed him approximately $8 million for 2012/13, or to decline it. He chose the latter option, to no one's surprise.

Had Nelson accepted the option, he would have become a valuable trade chip for the Magic as a productive veteran with a reasonably sized, expiring contract. He would not have been able to block a trade and thus would not have a say in his NBA future.

New Magic General Manager Rob Hennigan has publicly expressed his admiration for Nelson, a team co-captain. "We hope he is wearing a Magic uniform next season," he said in a Wednesday meeting with the media.

Nelson's decision to opt out does not necessarily rule out a return to Orlando, the only team for which he has played in his eight-year professional career. Rather, it gives him some flexibility and a chance to secure his long-term future in the league. "Who doesn't want a long-term deal?" he said in June. "Everybody wants that security."

Nelson is the second player in as many days to opt for free agency over the 2012/13 season with Orlando: reserve big man Earl Clark will also become unrestricted on July 1st.

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