The Magic are making some progress on solidifying their roster for next season, agreeing in principle to a new deal with Jameer Nelson.
Orlando’s 30-year-old point guard announced the news on his Twitter account Thursday. The deal comes just a week after Nelson opted out of the final season and nearly $8 million of his contract to test free agency.
”Glad to say I’ve reached an agreement with the Magic… I’m blessed to have the best fans and a great organization supporting me!” Nelson posted on his Twitter feed.
He did not disclose the length of the new pact. A message left for Nelson seeking additional comment was not immediately returned.
Free agents can’t officially sign new deals until July 11 when the NBA’s moratorium ends. Teams aren’t allowed to comment on new contracts until then, either, but Magic general manager Rob Hennigan said earlier this week that there was a desire to see Nelson return to the team.
”My hope is that he remains in Orlando and in a Magic uniform,” Hennigan said of Nelson. ”But there needs to be a mutual desire for that to happen.”
The question for Nelson was whether he was better off playing out next season under his expiring contract and risk becoming a trade asset, or to seek a long-term deal elsewhere. The new deal indicates that he found comfort in both the finances and length of the Magic’s new deal.
Nelson has spent each of his eight NBA seasons in Orlando, which drafted him along with Dwight Howard in 2004. Howard is signed through next season, but recently told the Magic he wanted a trade to Brooklyn and wouldn’t sign long-term anywhere else.
When Howard originally made his trade demand to the Magic last season, he referenced a desire to play with other point guards, including the Nets’ Deron Williams and Los Angeles Clippers’ Chris Paul.
Intentional or not, it seemed to be a direct comment by Howard on Nelson’s ability to lead the Magic to a championship.
Though Nelson has dismissed the notion that any of that affected his play, former general manager Otis Smith – who had talked with Nelson about it – said last season that he thought it was on Nelson’s mind at times.
Nelson shot a career-low 42 percent from the field this season and averaged 11.9 points and 5.7 assists per game this season. The scoring and assists numbers were both down from the previous year.
Along with Howard’s unresolved status, the Magic also has lingering decisions to make on forward Ryan Anderson, as well as guard J.J. Redick.
Redick is due $6.1 million next year in the final season of his deal, but the team can get out of that if they waive him by July 7.
Anderson is the reigning league most improved player and a restricted free agent, though the Magic extended a qualifying offer to the third-year forward. It allows the team to match any offer he receives on the open market this summer.