Steve Nash hasn’t lost the deep competitive fire he feels for the game of basketball, but his body has begun to betray him to the point that the ability to extend his career beyond this season has become a legitimate concern.
Nash has said that his recent string of injuries and the constant rehabilitation they require can have him ready to play at full strength maybe once a week, but not much more beyond that.
He also acknowledged that in the NBA, that simply isn’t good enough.
Nash will have a tough decision to make this summer, to see if he wants to try to get his body ready for one more season playing as close to his peak performance as his age of 40 years will allow.
Whatever he decides, it won’t come with it any pressure from the Lakers front office.
Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak noted that “obviously it’s going to be a challenge” on whether Nash can return and stay on the court. But does that mean this will mark Nash’s last season with the Lakers?
“At the appropriate time, I’ll sit down and talk about it. But it’s really his decision,” Kupchak said of Nash. “He’s under contract to play basketball next year. There’s a lot of moving pieces in something lke this. For us to sit down and influence one way or the other is not ethical. It’s really his decision.”
The Lakers don’t benefit from Nash retiring before his contract is up at this point, unless he becomes physically unable to play at all — determined by doctors, and signed off by the league office.
The other point that Kupchak made was that the Lakers aren’t an organization interested in making deals to dump salary. Obviously they’d rather not go through another season with Nash like this one, but his contract number, especially next year when so much cap space will be available, is really of minimal concern.