Jameer Nelson very easily could have requested a trade at any time this season or last. He signed a three-year deal with the Magic last summer knowing full well that this would be a rebuilding project. He had to know pretty clearly that he may not last the rest of the contract (much less his career).
If anything, Saturday's game would have been an opportunity for Nelson to make it known he wants a bit more when it comes to the end of his basketball career. He has gone from starting point guard on a championship contender and perennial Playoff team to aging veteran on a team in transition.
Even this early in the season, Orlando has taken action to show Nelson is no longer the future of this team. It seems his role can only diminish as the season goes on. Jacque Vaughn opted to sit Nelson for the final 17 minutes of Saturday's 108-100 loss to Dallas on Saturday. Victor Oladipo took those minutes and committed four of his nine turnovers in the fourth quarter of a close game.
Call it whatever you want, plenty of players would not be thrilled with the great Oladipo point guard experiment getting tested with a chance to win just 10 games into the season.
Not Jameer Nelson. At practice Monday, addressing the issue for the first time, Nelson offered no public anger or frustration with the coach's decision (h/t Evan Dunlap of Orlando Pinstriped Post):
I wanted to be on the court. Coach decided not to play me, and that's his decision. I can only play the minutes that he gives me, play them hard as I can, and leave it out there for those minutes. It's his decision who's gonna play the minutes and when they're gonna play them. It's our job as players to, like I said, play the minutes as best we can.
That is about all the response you can ask for from a professional. Nelson is not going to rock the boat or air dirty laundry. He is going to keep that stuff in house.
It is also what he has signed up for. Something he recognized recently in an article by Ian Thomsen of Sports Illustrated.
Nelson has always been a true professional through both the good and bad times in Orlando. This will be no different:
If they tell me they're going to trade me, what can I do? My job is to play, no matter where it is. I would love to continue to play here in Orlando and finish my career here, and see this thing turned around. That's not up to me. My job is to play.
This is just who Nelson is. So if you are looking for a controversy involving his playing time, Nelson is not going to give you one. He is just going to soldier on and do the work asked of him. That is all the Magic can ask him to do at the moment.