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Grade the deal: Jameer Nelson's contract a function of thin market

The Denver Nuggets have signed free-agent point guard Jameer Nelson, reports Chris Dempsey of The Denver Post.

The Denver Nuggets have signed free-agent point guard Jameer Nelson, reports Chris Dempsey of The Denver Post.

The deal is worth $13.5 million over three years, according to Dempsey.

Nelson finished last season with the Nuggets after the team acquired in a January trade with the Boston Celtics. Nelson began the 2014-15 season with the Dallas Mavericks. 

Over 34 games with the Nuggets, he averaged 9.6 points and 3.7 assists while shooting 45% from the field and 35.4 percent from three-point range. The Nuggets selected Nelson in the first round of the 2004 draft, but promptly traded him to the Orlando Magic, where he spent the first 10 seasons of his NBA career.  

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In this year's draft, Denver selected point guard Emmanuel Mudiay with the No. 7 pick. Meanwhile, veteran point guard Ty Lawson has been the subject of trade speculation this offseason.

In June Denver hired former Kings coach Mike Malone as its next coach.

• MAHONEY: Mudiay's Summer League start bodes well for Nuggets

Analysis: Nelson’s mid-season acquisition worked out well for the Nuggets—surprisingly so given how much the veteran guard had struggled during his short stints in Dallas and Boston. Yet this deal will carry the undersized Nelson through his 36th birthday, committing a hardly insignificant sum to a non-essential player through his athletic decline. The contract’s specifics are likely more a product of a thin point guard market than anything else. Denver needed insurance for Ty Lawson’s seemingly inevitable exit and Emmanuel Mudiay’s eventual growing pains. Nelson fits in that regard, if at a price that doesn’t sit especially well. —​ Rob Mahoney

Grade: C