Jameer Nelson

Sixers Hiring Jameer Nelson As Scout, G League Exec

Former NBA point guard Jameer Nelson is poised to join the Sixers‘ front office, according to John Clark of NBC Sports Philadelphia, who hears from sources that the 76ers are hiring Nelson as a scout and as the assistant GM of the Delaware Blue Coats, Philadelphia’s G League affiliate.

The 20th overall pick in the 2004 draft, Nelson spent 14 seasons in the NBA, averaging 11.3 PPG and 5.1 APG across 878 regular season contests, earning All-Star honors for the Magic in 2009. He last appeared in the league during the 2017/18 season, when he played a total of 50 games for the Pelicans and Pistons.

About a month before the 2019/20 season began, Nelson said he hadn’t given up on the idea of making an NBA comeback and was putting off retirement for the time being. However, after not catching on with a team over the last year, it sounds like he’s prepared to transition into the next stage of his career.

Nelson’s agreement with the Sixers will represent a homecoming of sorts for the 38-year-old. Nelson grew up in Chester, Pennsylvania and played his college ball at Saint Joseph’s before going pro.

The Sixers have been making an effort to revamp their front office around general manager Elton Brand this offseason, with Nelson’s hiring representing the latest part of that effort. The team is also bringing aboard Peter Dinwiddie as executive VP of basketball operations and Prosper Karangwa in a key scouting role.

Atlantic Notes: Lowry, Brown, Miller, Prince

Long-tenured Raptors All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry is averaging 20.8 PPG, 7.6 APG, and 5.0 RPG during Toronto’s excellent 22-10 start to the season. That win percentage would translate to 56 regular season victories if Toronto sustained its pace, just a two-game depreciation since losing their 2019 Finals MVP, Kawhi Leonard, to the Clippers in the offseason. Lowry and breakout star forward Pascal Siakam have picked up the slack in Leonard’s absence.

The 33 year-old, a five-time All-Star for the Raptors, credits retired point guard Jameer Nelson with helping him navigate the NBA to reach his current position, as one of the most important leaders for one of the league’s best teams.

“Nobody knows this, but to this day, I thank Jameer for helping me get to where I am,” Lowry told The Athletic’s Michael Lee. “Whenever he text[s] me, I text him, I tell him, ‘You’re the reason I even understand how to work.'” In the summer of 2005, following his rookie season for the Magic, Nelson began mentoring Lowry, then coming off his freshman season for Villanova. Lowry has been with the Raptors since the 2012/13 season.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • Wing Jaylen Brown, currently enjoying a breakout year for the ascendent Celtics, has a chance to make his first All-Star squad during his fourth season, according to NBC Sports Boston’s Chris Forsberg. However, that is hardly Brown’s focus. “I’m not really paying attention to [the All-Star buzz],” Brown claimed after a post-practice workout. “It would be extremely dope to even be mentioned in the conversation. To be honest, I still think I can be a lot better. I think the best is yet to come for me this season.”
  • Marc Berman of the New York Post tracks how new Knicks head coach Mike Miller’s success with the team makes David Fizdale defenders look bad. Berman specifically cites Fizdale’s defensive planning, his unnecessarily rankling players, and not involving all his assistant coaches equally for in-game strategizing. Steve Popper of Newsday concurs that the Knicks’ play has improved under Miller. New York is 5-6 under its new coach; the team was 4-18 under Fizdale this season.
  • Nets forward Taurean Prince is currently shooting a career-worst 37.3% from the field. His shooting struggles have taken their toll on Brooklyn, according to the New York Post’s Mollie Walker. “I think he’s going through a cold spell,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson reflected in post-practice comments on Friday. “I told him today, he’s a 40 percent career 3-point shooter, he’s got to keep shooting.”

Jameer Nelson Not Ready To Formally Retire

Longtime point guard Jameer Nelson hasn’t appeared in an NBA game since March of 2018, but he tells Josh Robbins of The Athletic that he hasn’t given up on resuming his career if a team expresses interest.

“I continue to stay in shape just in case somebody calls,” Nelson said. “If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, then there’s nothing I can do about it.”

Although Nelson is still working out in case he gets another opportunity, he sounds as if he’s prepared to move onto the next phase of his career, according to Robbins, who writes that the 37-year-old is interested in finding broadcasting work. Nelson participated in the NBPA’s four-day broadcaster training program in June and is intrigued by the idea of becoming a color commentator.

“I love talking about the game, I love giving my knowledge,” Nelson told Robbins. “I played for 14 years (in the NBA), so I know situations, I know styles of play. If you listen to a guy who has played at a high level for a long time, I’m sure you can learn something.

“… I just have to get the reps,” he added. “Get the reps and be me.”

Nelson has appeared in 878 total regular season games for the Magic, Mavericks, Celtics, Nuggets, Pelicans, and Pistons since entering the league in 2004, earning an All-Star nod and a Finals appearance with Orlando in 2009.

He put up some of the worst numbers of his career in 2017/18 with New Orleans and Detroit, but was an effective contributor the year before for Denver, averaging 9.2 PPG and 5.1 APG on .444/.388/.714 shooting in 75 games (27.3 MPG) for the Nuggets.

Free Agent Stock Watch 2018: Detroit Pistons

The Pistons made it clear with their midseason blockbuster that they’re interested in competing in the Eastern Conference right away. While we won’t truly know the outcome of the Blake Griffin trade until the roster logs a full, reasonably healthy season together, there’s no denying that the franchise is committed to this core for better or worse.

With over $117MM already on the books for 2018/19, president Stan Van Gundy and general manager Jeff Bower have little room to get cute in free agency this summer. For that reason, the Pistons will have to rely primarily on in-house upgrades, and any reinforcements that do come from elsewhere will need to be modest.

James Ennis, SF, 28 (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $6MM deal in 2016James Ennis of the Detroit Pistons
The Pistons brought Ennis aboard in one of their deadline-day deals, seemingly desperate to pad their core with solid veterans. While Ennis is typically a glue guy, capable of knocking down shots and contributing defensively, it’s hard to imagine that he showed enough during his half-season in Detroit to justify a raise — or even a similar contract to his current deal. The Pistons could benefit from having Ennis’ toughness on the perimeter as they look to establish themselves in the East, but they could probably seek out that skill-set on the cheap if they want to trim their overall payroll.

Jameer Nelson, PG, 36 (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $2MM deal in 2017
One can’t fault Van Gundy for turning to a former pupil to help his current team take the next step, but the acquisition of Nelson has to be considered – by and large – a disappointment. The veteran point guard only played seven games during his time with the Pistons and was usurped on the depth chart by Dwight Buycks. With Reggie Jackson back in the fold for 2018/19, the team will already have three relatively capable options at the point, leaving little room for Nelson.

Anthony Tolliver, PF, 32 (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $3MM deal in 2017
It was a disappointing season for the Pistons, but one consistent presence that helped provide stability as the club dealt with injuries and personnel turnover was Tolliver. Fresh off the second-highest scoring year of his 10-year career, Tolliver will be an intriguing free agency option for contenders looking to add veteran leadership. He stepped up in 2017/18, showing that he’s more than just a solid locker-room presence, shooting 43.3% from beyond the arc while registering an offensive rating of 125. If the Pistons truly plan on breaking into the postseason picture next season, they’d be wise to bring the 32-year-old combo forward back, since he can fit into whatever role or position the team needs.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Pistons Notes: Jackson, Griffin, Nelson, Postseason

The Pistons announced this week that injured guard Reggie Jackson has entered the next stage of his rehab as he recovers from a sprained ankle. Jackson has been out of action since late December as the Pistons have remained on the periphery of a postseason run.

As Ansar Khan of MLive.com writes, Jackson is cleared for light running and shooting. Per head coach Stan Van Gundy and Jackson himself, there is no indication that his recovery is being hindered in any way.

“I feel good that I’m getting better, but still not quite where I want to be,” Jackson said. “No setbacks. Wake up, it feels good. Some days it feels a little bit worse or a little bit better, but there’s nothing I’m doing that’s damaging it, so I’m just trying to get better, strengthen it and continue to get my cardio and making sure I’m taking care of it.”

The Pistons are 1.5 games behind the Heat for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. A healthy Jackson joining midseason acquisition Blake Griffin and stalwart center Andre Drummond would help the Pistons’ mission to make the postseason.

Check out other Pistons news and notes below:

  • Since acquiring Griffin, the Pistons have not had much time to familiarize him with the team’s offensive strategies. With 25 games left, head coach Stan Van Gundy is determined to speed up that process, NBA.com’s Keith Langlois writes. “Blake’s different than anybody we’ve had at that spot,” Van Gundy said. “We’re not going to plug him in to what Tobias and (Anthony Tolliver) do. You’ve got to try to play through him more and get him in positions closer to the basket. You’ve actually having to do some stuff new to everybody and that’s been a challenge – a significant challenge.”
  • Jameer Nelson was traded to the Pistons on deadline day, unsure of what his role would be for the rest of the season. Rod Beard of The Detroit News analyzes Nelson rejoining his former coach in Orlando, Van Gundy, and how the veteran point guard expects to fit in the rest of the way.
  • The Pistons would not be in the playoffs if the season ended today, but the team still has a realistic shot at sneaking in as the eighth seed. John Niyo of The Detroit News examines Detroit’s chances to make a postseason run and how several players on the team view the last 25 games.

Central Notes: Bulls, Nelson, J.R. Smith, Pacers

The Bulls need to get more serious about tanking and start making moves to improve their lottery chances, Nick Friedell of ESPN.com argues. Cristiano Felicio, Paul Zipser, Noah Vonleh and Cameron Payne should receive a lot more playing time, while veterans like Robin Lopez and Justin Holiday should have their minutes reduced, Friedell says. Holding out Zach LaVine on the second game of back-to-backs would also facilitate the cause, Friedell adds.

Also around the Central Division:

  • Small forward James Ennis and point guard Jameer Nelson have jumped right into the Pistons’ rotation after being acquired just before the trade deadline. Ennis, who was traded by the Grizzlies for forward Brice Johnson and a future second-round pick, has averaged 9.5 PPG and 17.5 MPG over the past two games. Nelson, who was traded by the Bulls for Willie Reed and future draft considerations, has averaged 9.0 PPG and 5.0 APG in 19.5 MPG during his first two games with Detroit.
  • Nelson, 35, told Hoops Rumors and other reporters that he’d like to continue playing after this season. The Pistons point guard be an unrestricted free agent this summer.  “I never want to put a limit or a time frame on my career,” he said. “My body feels good, my mind is right. So I’ll just continue to work. My body and mind will tell me when it’s time for me to go. I think there will be a lot of teams that will need a guy like me next season.”
  • Pacers players lobbied GM Kevin Pritchard to stand pat during the trade deadline, Jim Ayello of the Indianapolis Star relays. Pritchard was approached by six players, who told him they wanted to see what they could accomplish with the current mix. “They feel like they are overachieving and had a little bit of a chip on their shoulder,” Pritchard said during a press conference. “They wanted to have the opportunity to finish this out and try to get into the playoffs. … That carried a lot of weight with me.”
  • Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith held onto his roster spot and retained his starting job, but he admits he was sweating out the deadline, as ESPN’s Dave McMenamin reports. “My name was being thrown around a lot out there, so it was nerve-wracking for sure,” Smith said. “When you see six guys getting traded and there’s still more than an hour to the trade deadline, there’s no telling what can happen.” Smith is owed $30.3MM over the next two seasons, which made his contract difficult to move, McMenamin notes.

Central Notes: Irving, Nelson, Pacers

The Celtics and Cavaliers are preparing for their third meeting of the 2017/18 season and the outcome of this past summer’s Kyrie Irving trade is still a hot topic. ESPN’s Kevin Pelton breaks down how the trade that shipped one of the top point guards in the league out of Cleveland can be considered a lopsided bust.

Pelton notes that the consensus, in the beginning, was that the Cavaliers’ return was fairly decent; Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the Nets’ 2018 first-round pick. However, it did not come out until later that Thomas’ hip injury was worse than initially feared, which delayed his Cleveland debut until several months into the season. Also, Pelton used two recent cases of players coming back from a similar labrum tear only to see their production wane.

Thomas’ trade value went south through 15 games with the Cleveland, Crowder was a massive disappointment and the organization blew everything up in the hours up until the deadline. Meanwhile, Irving has been his usual stellar self for the Celtics, making the deal go from fair to lopsided in a hurry.

Check out other Central Division news below:

  • Veteran point guard Jameer Nelson is not expected to play much for the Pistons but he is ready to help the team any way he can, Ansar Khan of MLive.com writes. Nelson had an eventful deadline as he dealt twice; first, the Pelicans shipped him to the Bulls in the Nikola Mirotic trade and then Chicago traded Nelson to Pistons. The trade also reunites Nelson with his former Magic head coach, Stan Van Gundy, NBA.com’s Keith Langlois writes. “Still the same Stan,” Nelson said.
  • The Pacers stood pat at the deadline, with the team more focused on the future than short-term fixes, Clifton Brown of the Indianapolis Star writes. At 31-25, Indiana is currently in sixth place in the Eastern Conference and on track to make the playoffs. However, Brown notes that the Pacers do not feel like they were one trade away from being a championship contender and elected to not make a move.

Bulls Trade Jameer Nelson To Pistons

1:53pm: The Pistons have confirmed the trade via a press release.

10:11am: The Bulls are sending veteran point guard Jameer Nelson to the Pistons in a deadline-day trade, reports Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports (Twitter links). According to Charania, center Willie Reed will be headed to Chicago. The Bulls will also get the right to swap 2022 second-round picks with the Pistons, per Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post (via Twitter).Jameer Nelson vertical

Both Nelson and Reed have already been traded within the last week and a half — Nelson moved from New Orleans to Chicago in the Nikola Mirotic trade, while Reed was one of the pieces the Pistons acquired from the Clippers alongside Blake Griffin. Nelson and Reed were both eligible to be traded again this week, but couldn’t have had their salaries aggregated with another player’s salary in a deal.

For the Pistons, Nelson will help fortify the point guard position, which has been somewhat shorthanded this season due to Reggie Jackson‘s lengthy injury absence. Ish Smith and Dwight Buycks have done a respectable job handling point guard duties with Jackson on the shelf, but Nelson will provide a steady veteran hand.

Nelson, who will turn 36 on Friday, appeared in 43 games for the Pelicans this season, averaging 5.1 PPG and 3.6 APG with a .410/.364/.765 shooting line in 20.9 minutes per contest. In Detroit, he’ll reunite with Stan Van Gundy, who coached him for several seasons in Orlando.

As for Reed, the 27-year-old center was solid as a part-timer in Miami last season, averaging 5.3 PPG and 4.7 RPG in 71 games with the Heat. His per-minute numbers have remained solid for the Clippers and Pistons this season, but he’s playing a career-low 10.2 MPG. He was also recently hit with a six-game suspension as a result of a domestic incident that took place last summer, though the NBPA has filed a grievance on his behalf.

Like Nelson, Reed will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, so he seems unlikely to fit into the Bulls’ long-term plans. In fact, Vincent Goodwill of NBC Sports Chicago reports (via Twitter) that Chicago plans to immediately waive the big man.

The Bulls and Pistons will each create modest trade exceptions in the swap, with Chicago getting one worth Nelson’s salary ($1,429,818) and Detroit creating one worth Reed’s salary ($1,471,382).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Robin Lopez Trade Talks Intensifying

After sending Nikola Mirotic to the Pelicans last week, the Bulls remain on the lookout for more potential trades, with Robin Lopez among the candidates to be dealt. According to K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune, talks centering on Lopez have “intensified” as of late, with this year’s deadline just three days away.

Lopez, 29, is averaging a career-best 12.6 PPG this season to go along with 4.8 RPG, a career-high 2.1 APG, and a .525 FG%. While Lopez’s per-minute rebounding numbers in 2017/18 are the worst of his career, he continues to be a respected defender with a reputation for effectively boxing out opponents and allowing his teammates to grab boards.

A report last week suggested that the Bulls are seeking a first-round pick in exchange for Lopez, which may be a tough sell. Although the veteran’s contract isn’t toxic, he’s Chicago’s highest-paid player, with cap hits of $13.79MM this season and $14.36MM next year. In order to have a chance at a first-rounder for Lopez, the Bulls would probably need to take on a bad contract, as they did in the Mirotic trade when they acquired Omer Asik.

Lopez isn’t the only trade candidate on the Bulls’ roster, according to Johnson, who notes that Jerian Grant continues to be available. Recently-acquired veterans Tony Allen and Jameer Nelson are also being kept on the roster in case they can be used in larger packages or traded on their own. Johnson reported over the weekend that the Bulls and Thunder have discussed Allen.

Bulls Notes: Nelson, Allen, Grant, Dunn

Newly acquired Bulls Jameer Nelson and Tony Allen shouldn’t get too comfortable in Chicago, writes Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. Both players served as salary fillers in the deal that sent Nikola Mirotic to New Orleans, and neither may remain with the Bulls after Thursday’s trade deadline.

‘‘We now have a situation where we’re invested in these young guys,’’ said VP of basketball operations John Paxson. ‘‘Our focus remains on growth and development of them. This is consistent with what we set out to do on draft night.’’

The term “young guys” doesn’t describe Nelson, who turns 36 next week, or Allen, who reached that age last month. They may be able to provide short-term help for a contender, but they don’t have a place on a rebuilding team like the Bulls. They also carry affordable, expiring deals, with salaries of about $1.43MM for Nelson and $1.47MM for Allen.

There’s more news today out of Chicago:

  • Cowley suggests in the same piece that Paxson would be willing to move anyone on the roster except Lauri Markkanen, Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn in exchange for a young player or draft pick, even if it means taking on a large salary in return. That’s what the Bulls did in the deal with the Pelicans, absorbing Omer Asik‘s contract to obtain a top-five protected first-rounder from New Orleans. “To acquire a [protected] first-round pick in the trade for Niko I think fits the direction this team is heading,” Paxson added. “Obviously, we’re going to have our pick, which will be a very high pick, and then we’ll see what happens with that New Orleans pick.’’
  • The Thunder have talked to the Bulls about acquiring Allen, according to K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune. Oklahoma City needs defensive help in the backcourt after a ruptured patellar tendon knocked out Andre Roberson for the rest of the season. Chicago has been offering up point guard Jerian Grant around the league for several weeks, Johnson adds.
  • An illness has complicated Dunn’s return from a concussion he suffered January 17, Cowley writes in a separate story. Dunn was progressing through the early stages of concussion protocol before getting sick. He has been ruled out for Monday’s game at Sacramento and may not play again before the All-Star break. Dunn still needs to finish the protocol and get some practice time before he will be cleared to return.