Steve Nash just looked deflated when he was leaving the arena after the last game he tried to play for the Lakers — you could see it in his face. He has been battling the same nerve/back issue for a year now and he is understandably frustrated.
But he was also clear that he was not going to give up on this — he does not want to leave the game this way. He plans to work through it.
Nash is a fighter who doesn’t give up, been that way his entire career.
Despite that it has been the dream of some Lakers fans that he would walk away and give them even more cap space next summer and that fantasy gained momentum Tuesday thanks to long time NBA writer Peter Vecsey:
I don’t know Vecsey’s source, he’s been around a long time and has a lot of them. I can just tell you nobody around the Lakers or Nash is saying or seemingly thinking anything like that, certainly not in the short term. Basically, nobody that knows him well is talking retirement.
Here is what Mike D’Antoni said after the Lakers practice, as quoted by Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.
Is it possible Nash can’t get past this and retires? Yes. Nobody in the league is more in tune with their body or takes more steps to stay healthy than Nash, if he can’t shake it after a year it is serious.
But a mid-season retirement, don’t bet on it.
Even if he does go that route, getting a medical retirement from the league is far from easy — he has to play less than 10 games this season, plus both the Lakers doctor and a League doctor have to sign off on the idea that with more treatment he could not play. Besides, what do the Lakers gain between now and he end of the season by pushing him out the door if he doesn’t bounce back from this? A roster spot on a borderline playoff team? They will be patient with this and let Nash make his decision in his time.