Jameer Nelson’s Future
Lost in the all of the Dwight Howard drama is the fact that Jameer Nelson could potentially be in the last year of his contract. Nelson can opt out of his contract at the end of the season. Should Nelson decide to exercise his option and remain with the Magic, he will be owed $7.8 million.
“My thing is, I definitely want to be here next year and for the rest of my career,” Nelson told Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel.
Clearly, Nelson wants to remain in Orlando, the only place he’s ever called home during his eight-year career.
Sources have told ESPN Florida that Nelson will likely opt out of his contract, but the reasons why were not specified.
Although Nelson isn’t going to earn $7.8 million on the open market, there are some reasons Nelson would opt out.
First of all, Nelson doesn’t want to be traded. With an expiring contract worth $7.8 million, Nelson would be attractive to teams trying to create cap space for the class of 2013, which includes Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, Josh Smith and Monta Ellis, among others. Nelson doesn’t want to stick with the Magic and be traded to a team near the bottom of the standings solely looking to clear cap room. Nelson would rather pick his destination – he doesn’t want it chosen for him.
Another benefit of opting out could be long term security. Nelson could agree to opt out of his contract and sign a lengthy deal worth less money per season to stick with the Magic.
Nelson, who got off to a terrible start, is now averaging 11.9 points and 5.7 assists per game for the Magic this season.
Magic To Open The Postseason Saturday
The Orlando Magic will open the postseason on Saturday in Indianapolis when they take on the Indiana Pacers.
The time is not yet known, but the NBA has announced the start times for Saturday’s four games – 1:00 pm EST (TNT), 3:30(ABC), 7pm(ESPN) and 9:30pm(ESPN).
It’s been speculated the Magic will play in the early game at 1:00 pm EST.
Big Baby Sprains His Ankle
After playing just under nine minutes in Wednesday night’s win over the Charlotte Bobcats, Glen Davis went down, clutched his leg and was brought to the locker room.
Magic officials later classified Davis’s injury as a sprained right ankle.
“He’s walking on it, which is a good sign,” Stan Van Gundy told reporters after the victory. “Other than that, I can’t really tell you.
Davis is expected to miss Thursday’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies, but the Magic are hopeful he will be healthy when their first round series with the Indiana Pacers starts Saturday.
Jason Richardson also appeared to injure his ankle late in the game, but Richardson said he simply was hit in the shin.
Magic Won’t Return Home
The Orlando Magic will not return home after their season finale against the Grizzlies in Memphis and instead, will head straight to Indianapolis after the game.
“I told them ‘Congratulations, good win and as your reward after tomorrow night, you get to spend a week in Indianapolis’…,” Van Gundy said, following Orlando’s 102-95 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats Wednesday.
The win clinched the sixth seed and locked the Magic into a first round matchup with the Pacers.
Harper, Liggins Told To Prepare For Summer League
Magic rookies DeAndre Liggins and Justin Harper have been told the Magic expect them to participate in the 2012 Orlando Pro Summer League, according to John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com
The pair of second round picks likely would have participated in summer league this year, but it was of course cancelled because of the lockout.
Liggins has appeared in 16 games, playing 5.6 minutes per game. He’s averaged 1.6 points, 0.6 rebounds, 0.4 steals and 0.3 assists per game.
Harper has played in just 13 games, averaging 0.3 points, 0.4 rebounds and 0.1 assists per game in 3.9 minutes per game.
Orlando will host the summer league July 9-13. It is not open to the public.
(Andrew Melnick is the ESPNFlorida.com Magic and NBA Insider, co-host of the ESPN 1080 Insiders Show and publisher of Howard the Dunk. The Insiders Show can be heard Sunday mornings at 10:00 am EST on AM 1080 in Orlando and on ESPNFlorida.com. You can follow Andrew on twitter here.)