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'm hearing Nash's pain is forcing him 2 seriously consider calling it a career. He'd still get $ this yr & next & LA'd get cap relief next
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.
D'Antoni on Nash: "He’s going to try and do everything he can to come back. Whether he can get over this, we’ll see. We think he can."
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.
Kevin Durant fined $25,000 for telling fan to “shut the f*** up”
Personally, if you choose to engage a player that way during a game, he has the right to fire back and say whatever he wants. If you want to get in the NBA trash talk game, you have to be able to take it, not just dish it. Those are not the ground rules, however, so KD gets a fine.
Only high schoolers who would’ve been consensus draft candidates to receive $125,000 minor-league offer
The NBA is limiting eligibility for the professional path program to prep players who would be considered consensus candidates for the draft if there were no early entry rule to prohibit them. Feaster will work with a group that includes Strickland and the NBA’s basketball operations and player development staffs to evaluate the potential players.
“It will be elite prospects with a readiness for a professional league,” Feaster told ESPN. “We want to target players who would not be going to a university if it weren’t for the NBA eligibility rule. That’s more or less what’s going to dictate this.”
Feaster expects a “handful” of players to be part of the initial group in the professional path. Feaster and Strickland emphasized that the program will be judicious in choosing those eligible for the pro path opportunity.
For reference, 17 high schoolers were picked in the final two drafts (2004 and 2005) before the NBA implemented its one-and-done rule. So, that suggests about 8-9 players annually will get offered the $125,000 deal.
That still leaves the other question: Who will take it?
Then, Fultz’s agent, Raymond Brothers, informed the 76ers the guard wouldn’t play or practice until visiting a specialist Monday. Fultz will miss at least three games – against the Pelicans, Cavaliers and Nets.
76ers coach Brett Brown:
It’s kind of the first real sort of red-flag-type news.
This news about his shoulder, it did catch me off guard. But if it’s that real that he needs to go seek further consultation, then we support him. In my eyes, it’s not complicated. If that’s what it is, then we’ll support him.
76ers general manager Elton Brand:
We thought it was the regular bumps and bruises.
There’s nothing that we saw medically that didn’t allow him to play.
It’s also hard to take the 76ers seriously when they suggest it seemed like business as usual. Fultz’s shot is disturbingly broken. There is clearly a problem. Maybe letting Fultz play without fretting over the issue was the right course, but how surprised can Philadelphia be that he took a more drastic measure?
Hopefully, the specialist helps Fultz identify and fix this issue.
Bulls’ Denzel Valentine likely to miss entire season
A lottery pick two years ago, battled ankle injuries during his rookie year and underwent ankle surgery after the season. He stayed mostly healthy last year, but his season still ended early for knee surgery. Then, over the summer, he got torched in the Drew League by Frank “Nitty” Session, who questioned how Valentine was in the NBA:
Denzel Valentine was originally expected to miss one to two weeks after suffering a sprained ankle on the second day of training camp. One setback led to another, and on Monday the Bulls announced that the third year guard will undergo surgical reconstruction on that left ankle. He’ll miss four to six months, the team announced, effectively ending his season.
The long end of that timeline will keep Valentine sidelined the entire season. The short end would allow him to return late in the year, but with Chicago so dismal, there’s little incentive to rush him back.
Valentine is under contract next season, the final year of his rookie-scale deal. He might need to prove himself to make Nitty’s question still relevant.