The Magic would trade Jameer Nelson today if they were offered a first-round pick for him, reports ESPN.com’s Marc Stein, citing the “latest rumbles” around the league. It’s not clear if Orlando GM Rob Hennigan is actively shopping Nelson, but it sounds as if the team is very open to moving its veteran point guard.
As Stein notes, NBA teams are increasingly reluctant to part with first-round picks, which have become more valuable than ever under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. As such, flipping Nelson for a first-rounder, even one with heavy protection, may be a tall order for Hennigan and the Magic.
Grantland’s Zach Lowe wrote earlier this week that he has been talking to executives for weeks about whether any veteran players on lottery teams will net a first-round pick on the trade market. The consensus, in Lowe’s words: “It’s going to be very, very hard in this climate to get a first-round pick for that type of player. [Marcin] Gortat might be the only one.”
While the fact that Gortat did net the Suns a top-12 protected first-round pick bodes well for the Magic, it will still be difficult to acquire a first-rounder of their own for Nelson, who is under contract for $8.6MM this season and $8MM ($2MM guaranteed) in 2014/15. Perhaps closer to the deadline an injury-plagued contender in desperate need of a point guard will meet Orlando’s asking price, but otherwise the Magic may have to hang on to Nelson or settle for a lesser return.