Two weeks ago, Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said he “doubts” Steve Nash would play again this season.
One week ago, D’Antoni said “He’s not going to play.”
Now, continuing this logical illogical progression, D’Antoni says Nash could play again this season.
“It’s still a possibility,” D’Antoni said Wednesday when asked if Nash could play at some point in the Lakers’ final 15 games. “We have to see where he is physically. … We’ll have to see some practices and see how it goes.”
The 40-year-old Nash told Time Warner Cable SportsNet on Tuesday, “I feel pretty good. I feel as though I could play now at a good level. The question is could I sustain it?”
This very well could just be D’Antoni placating the competitive Nash. If Nash is working hard to return – because that’s what devoted players do – why squash his hopes? There’s no benefit in proclaiming him to be done, especially if the downside is angering him.
But why would the Lakers actually let the 40-year-old Nash push his limits if he’s not completely healthy? As long as he demands his $9.7 million next season – which he should – the Lakers need as much as they can get from him next year. With his salary still on the books, they might not have the flexibility to get another starting point guard.
This season has become about increasing lottery odds. The Lakers can do that fine without Nash.
Next season, they can use him on the court, and I suspect that’s when he’ll play next, anyway.