Jameer Nelson would prefer to remain with the Nuggets, but if it appears he won’t see more playing time than he received down the stretch this season, he won’t hesitate to have agent Steve Mountain ask Denver to trade him, reports Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post. Nelson signed a three-year, $13.622MM contract with the Nuggets just this past summer and began the season as the primary backup to Emmanuel Mudiay, averaging 27.6 minutes per game through January 15th. Nelson appeared for only one seven-minute stint after January 30th, though that was initially because of a wrist injury that at one point threatened to prematurely end his season.
The 34-year-old Nelson returned to the active list after the wrist caused an eight-game absence in February, but while he was out, Denver traded for D.J. Augustin, who played well enough to convince coach Michael Malone to drop Nelson to third on the depth chart, as Dempsey details. Malone is clearly fond of Augustin, calling him the team’s “security blanket,” and Augustin has said he’d love to re-sign with the Nuggets when he hits free agency this summer.
“Like I said we’ll figure it out and see what’s going on,” Nelson said, according to Dempsey. “I would love to come back here. That’s the reason why I signed a three-year deal. But it’s just one of those things that, it’s a business. It’s a business, and we have to figure it out.”
Nelson had sincere doubts about Denver when the Nuggets acquired him via trade during the 2014/15 season, but he praised the organization this past fall, saying the team delivered on its promise that it had a role in mind for him, and he organized a summertime bonding session with teammates. He was a fan, like most Nuggets, of Melvin Hunt, the team’s interim coach for the spring of 2015, and while he opted out last summer and said the team’s choice of a new coach would be a determining factor as he thought about whether to re-sign, he followed through and signed his new contract with the Nuggets after they hired Malone.
Orlando, where Nelson spent the majority of his career, maintains a place in his heart, Nelson said this season, and Magic GM Rob Hennigan has spoken openly of his desire to have more veterans on the team. The Magic will have plenty of cap room available to absorb Nelson’s salary of close to $4.541MM for next season without sending salary in return, if necessary.