Jameer Nelson will be 33 years-old on Feb. 9th, and will be joining his third NBA team this season. The Nuggets will be Nelson's fourth team in his career, after spending 10 seasons with the Orlando Magic - where he made an NBA Finals appearance, that could have come against Denver (inbounds plays!).
The trade details, from Yahoo! Sports:
The Boston Celtics have agreed to a trade to send point guard Jameer Nelson to the Denver Nuggets for Nate Robinson, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
The Celtics are expected to negotiate a buyout of Robinson's $2.1 million contract and waive him, sources said. If Robinson clears waivers, the Los Angeles Clippers could be a candidate to sign him. The Clippers previously had talks with the Nuggets about Robinson, sources said.
Nelson, 32, began the season with the Dallas Mavericks and came to Boston in the Rajon Rondo trade last month. He is averaging 6.8 points and 4.4 assists in 29 games this season. He missed the past five games with the Celtics with an ankle injury, but is expected to soon return to the court. He is making $2.7 million this season and has a $3.2 million player option for next season.
Nelson has been steady throughout his career, averaging 12.3 points and 5.3 assists. He can stretch the floor as a career 37.2% three-point shooter, but his best days are behind him. Another in the recent trend of small point guards for the Nuggets, Nelson goes just 6'0" and has posted career low shooting numbers from the field this season (37.4% with the Mavericks in 23 games and 22% with the Celtics in just six games). He's still capable of playing 20-25 minutes a night, but doesn't bring a ton on the defensive end, and has posted a 105.2 defensive rating. While the Nuggets obtained a guy who can shoot the ball, they don't get any better on the other end with Nelson.
Nelson's shot chart from this season:
Expect Brian Shaw to continue to ride Ty Lawson, with Nelson being a more than capable backup that likely won't command major minutes. The Nuggets have another shoot-first guard, but he knows how to run an offense and has more of a point guard mentality than both the departed Nate Robinson and Randy Foye.
Robinson had been struggling to get back from his ACL injury, suffered last season, but had been playing better recently. Not a coach's player, Robinson was a difficult signing for first year coach Brian Shaw, but was beloved by many of his teammates. NateRob also introduced music into the Nuggets' locker room last season (gone this season), and was a bit of a class clown in a lot of regards.
With NateRob set to be a free agent after the season, he didn't fit into the team's plans moving forward, and some type of move was basically expected. Nelson's acquisition is a bit of a head scratcher, too. Owed just part of $2.7 million this season, Nelson also has a player option for somewhere between $2.8M and $3.2M for the 2015-16 season.
What does this trade mean for the Nugget?
The Nuggets have a veteran point guard that can handle the duties for the next couple of years. It's anybodies guess as to whether he'll opt in to the final year of his contract, or if he'll opt out and look to join a contender, or search long term security with a longer contract.
This move could also open up the Nuggets for another trade involving one of their guards. Arron Afflalo could be a guy Denver could get good value, as the deadline approaches and teams look to load up for a title run. Randy Foye is another sharp-shooter that the Nuggets could potentially move, but his return value is obviously not as great as Afflalo's.
Does this trade mean the Nuggets are still thinking playoffs?
The Nuggets are currently 17-20 and just 3.5 games out of the eighth and final playoff spot, behind the 22-18 Phoenix Suns. That last spot will be a battle between the Suns, Pelicans, Thunder, Nuggets, and Kings. Denver has their own first-round pick this season, and many fans seem mixed on where they want the team to go. Some want to see the team cash in on another lottery pick, and others would like to see that playoff run.
As Nuggets GM Tim Connelly told us on the Colorado Sports Guys podcast, he has little interest in 10-win teams, but also doesn't want to claw to make the post-season. But it appears the Nuggets will stay in the middle ground this season, unless more moves are made as the trade deadline approaches.
We are still in wait-and-see mode with the Nuggets. But this Nelson move appears to be more about obtaining the right kind of veteran, while sending out another kind of veteran.
Jameer Nelson's career transactions from Basketball Reference:
-June 24, 2004: Drafted by the Denver Nuggets in the 1st round (20th pick) of the 2004 NBA Draft.
-June 24, 2004: Traded by the Denver Nuggets to the Orlando Magic for a 2005 1st round draft pick (Julius Hodge was later selected). Remember Julius Hodge?
-June 30, 2014: Waived by the Orlando Magic.
-July 24, 2014: Signed a multi-year contract with the Dallas Mavericks
-December 18, 2014: Traded by the Dallas Mavericks with Jae Crowder, Brandan Wright, a 2015 1st round draft pick and a 2016 2nd round draft pick to the Boston Celtics for Dwight Powell and Rajon Rondo. (2015 pick is conditional. Boston also receives $13M trade exception.)