The idea of handing a contract extension to Dwight Howard this summer is, in the basketball vernacular, a slam-dunk.
The notion that Jameer Nelson also would be rewarded along with Howard was considered at least a lay-up at one time. . . but not anymore.
Nelsonís decline this season has introduced a degree of difficulty into the process. In fact, the Magic are wondering whether to offer Nelson an extension --- or wait to see what happens should he become a restricted free agent next summer.
"We start talking about extensions like theyíre a given," General Manager Otis Smith told The Sentinel. "Jameer has to understand that we expect more out of him."
In some ways, said Smith, measuring Nelsonís worth is more challenging the figuring out Darko Milicicís. The Magic nixed an extension offer to Milicic before the season, allowing him to become a restricted free agent this summer.
The club has a feel for what the market might be for a young, 7-foot big man. But for a 5-10 point guard who is struggling with turnovers and running a team, well, not so much.
Steve Mountain, Nelsonís agent, recently told the Sentinel that he believes "Jameer has done enough" to prove himself after almost three seasons. The Magic, obviously, are of a different opinion.
"I donít think Jameerís had the best of years," Smith said.
If Nelson expects to be paid a salary similar to, say, Chicago Bulls point guard Kirk Hinrich (5 years/$47.5 million ), no deal will get done between he and the Magic this summer. The clubís contract parameters, perhaps, for Nelsonís extension align closer to Seattle SuperSonics point guard Luke Ridnour (3 years/$19.5 million).
The Magic could be taking on a lot of longterm payroll this offseason. Howard is expected to receive a five-year, $87.5 million deal. If he finds a suitor, Milicic could fetch a four- or five-year contract worth $40-$50 million. The Magic want him back, but on a short-term deal.
Orlando also wants to sign a free agent this summer, preferably a scorer. Adding Nelsonís extension to the mix, along with Howardís and Milicicís, would give the Magic three weighty contracts.
Donít get Smith wrong: Heís a huge Nelson fan. He loves his toughness and believes Nelson can be an outstanding point guard.
He just wants Jameer to prove him right.
What are your thoughts on Jameer's situation on the team?
He's really disappointed me this season, i was sure a breakout was ahead after doing so well ending last season. Do you think he deserves an extention, or should he just become a free agent once his contract expires?
I would love too see him back, but now my thoughts of him are of Jameer being a very nice sixth man. Suppling "instant offense" off the bench. I would love to see him turn into a "pass first" point guard, but sadly i think he just shoots too much.
I agree, hes really dissapointed everyone this year with some inconsistent play, i would re-sign him and then see if theres another PG that could take his place in the lineup and bring Jameer of the bench.
i was talking to my friend about Jameer a couple of weeks back and he plain doesn't like his game. i'm probably one of the few that do like Jameer's game. i threw in the fact that Jameer came from St. Joseph's so it was basically him & Delonte West as the primary scorer's on that team. i agree that Jameer has been shooting alot this season & might better serve the team as a sixth man. i don't see why he can't get his assists up, he's a good shooter/scorer so opposing teams have to respect that part of his game... when you think about the make up of the team though, Jameer's about the only other player besides Hedo & Redick who are distance shooters to free up Darko & Howard in the paint..