Deadline passes for Lakers to use stretch provision on Steve Nash

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In a very honest part of a Grantland documentary that ran during the second half of last season, Steve Nash finds out about how the Lakers could use the stretch provision that’s offered as part of the collective bargaining agreement to waive him this summer, and pay out the remainder of his $9.7 million deal over the next three seasons for salary cap purposes.

Nash seems a bit shaken by the news, and admits he’ll take some chances where his recovery is concerned in order to expedite his return to the court.

But with the Lakers being unable to add much in the way of key pieces in free agency, the team is not expected to contend for much of anything in the upcoming season. For that reason, it’s better to take the cap hit for the final year of Nash’s deal all at once, and now that the deadline has officially passed, Nash will remain on the roster for next season.

From Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times:

Had the Lakers waived Nash prior to September, they would have been able to stretch his salary over the next three years at around $3.2 million annually. …

The team considered increasing its spending power by stretching Nash’s salary, but when its top free-agent targets (LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh) signed elsewhere, the Lakers chose instead to protect their cap space over the next two summers — sticking with the NBA’s oldest player for a final season.

This was a move that had been expected for a while, but became even more likely once L.A. was unable to entice any of the top free agents to sign on this summer.

Nash was only healthy enough to appear in 15 games for the Lakers last season, averaging 6.8 points and 5.7 assists in 20.9 minutes per contest.