The Magic have waived Jameer Nelson, the team announced via press release, confirming a report from Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel. The team was facing a July 15th deadline to either waive him or guarantee his full $8MM salary. His $2MM partial guarantee for next season will remain on Orlando’s books.
Robbins suggests the move is a precursor to a pursuit of experienced players in free agency, perhaps speeding up Orlando’s slow-moving rebuild. The Magic waived Doron Lamb earlier today, traded Arron Afflalo last week, and are reportedly looking to rid themselves of Jason Maxiell, paving the way to plenty of cap flexibility.
The team’s acquisition of rookie point guard Elfrid Payton on draft night Thursday seemed a harbinger of Nelson’s departure. Nelson had nonetheless maintained his role of starting point guard even with the team experimenting with Victor Oladipo at the point last season. The 32-year-old has spent his entire 10-year NBA career with the Magic, and had been the last remaining player from the 2009 Finals team.
Nelson averaged 12.1 points and 7.0 assists against 2.4 turnovers in 32.0 minutes per game last season. The Steve Mountain client seems like a decent fit for the taxpayer’s mid-level exception of $3.278MM, or perhaps more if he’s willing to sign a short-term deal.