Dwight Howard has been stating relentlessly that the rumors surrounding the trade request he made in December have not and will not affect his performance on the basketball court. The same cannot be said for the other Orlando Magic starter affected by these rumors, point guard Jameer Nelson.
Nelson has been struggling throughout most of the regular season so far and many people have speculated that the reason for that are the rumors of the Magic trying to pick up a star point guard to convince Dwight Howard to re-sign in Orlando. If the Magic do trade for or sign a new point guard, that will spell the end of Jameer Nelson’s career in a Magic uniform.
After a strong performance by Nelson on Friday night scoring 17 points and accumulating 9 assists against the Los Angeles Lakers, Nelson finally admitted that these rumors might have affected his play. Magic general manager Otis Smith stated earlier Friday that he thought Nelson’s struggles were caused by Howard because he “indirectly threw him under the bus”. Smith has dismissed any conflict between Howard and Nelson, who were both drafted in the first round of the 2004 NBA draft, saying that they are the best of friends.
Nelson added that he can’t worry about what anybody says about his situation and that he still feels that he’s wanted in Orlando. “I’m human and a lot of things affect you,” Nelson commented after Friday night’s game, “We’re basketball players, but we’re also human. A lot of the stuff that came out about other point guards being here was basically months ago, so if I was hurt, I’m over it.”
The Magic currently sit in second in the Eastern Conference at 11-4, only one loss behind the Chicago Bulls. If the Magic want to go deep into the playoffs this year, they’ll need more of the Jameer Nelson they saw Friday night. As for the trade rumors, Nelson’s decided to let it go.