Jameer Nelson was officially waived by the Nuggets in a move announced Thursday morning signaling an end to the veteran’s two-and-a-half year run in Denver.
In a heartfelt message on Twitter, Nelson thanked the Nuggets organization and the city of Denver for their continued support over the past few years.
“Most importantly I would like to thank my teammates. You allowed me to be me and lead in the locker room,” Nelson said. “Each one of you had my back and you put your trust in me to be your point guard, your leader.”
Nelson’s full message is below:
— Jameer Nelson (@jameernelson) October 20, 2017
Nelson, 35, was acquired from the Celtics in 2015 when Denver dealt Nate Robinson to Boston in exchange for the point guard’s services. He would spend the next two years in Denver and help renovate a tarnished culture that had infected the Nuggets’ locker room under the organization’s previous regime.
The Saint Joseph’s product averaged 9.2 points on 44.4 percent shooting from the field and 38.8 percent from three across 75 games (40 starts) for Denver last season. Nelson took over the Nuggets’ point guard reins from the struggling Emmanuel Mudiay at the mid-way point a year ago and helped guide Denver into contention for the eighth seed in the Western Conference before the Nuggets ultimately fell a game short of the playoffs.
Nelson found himself in a three-way point guard competition during training camp and the preseason between Mudiay and Jamal Murray for Denver’s starting spot. In a battle that went all the way up until opening night in Utah on Wednesday, Nuggets’ coach Michael Malone named Murray the team’s starter and Mudiay played with Denver’s bench unit.
Nelson, who was waived to make room for free agent Richard Jefferson, was not with the team that night. The 13-year veteran injured his toe in Denver’s first training camp practice back on Sep. 26 and was never 100 percent during a preseason where he only appeared in three out of a possible five games.
“Jameer is a guy that I have tremendous respect for,” Nuggets’ coach Michael Malone said. “I got to know Jameer originally when he was in Orlando when my father was there and Jameer was one of the main focal points of a very good playoff team in Orlando. You have a 13-year veteran that’s seen and been around everything. Been to The Finals, been an All-Star and I think his ability to mentor and help young players is something that people didn’t hear enough about because I think Jameer has a great basketball mind and he has a passion for the game. And let’s be honest, last year with Jameer as our starter we made a great push for the playoffs and came up one game short. Jameer had a huge impact while he was here.”