There’s no Derek Jeter-style farewell tour planned, but entering the last year of his contract with the Los Angeles Lakers, it’s been generally understood that Steve Nash is going to hang it up after this season. However, the two-time NBA MVP isn’t closing the door on a possible prolonging of his career beyond this year.
Hence, Nash may prolong his NBA career once his $9.8 million contract with the Lakers expires after this season. That decision hinges on a few variables.
“My health, enjoyment and effectiveness,” Nash said. “If I have a chance to play, it would have to be here. I’m not going to at this stage move somewhere else for a season and move my kids there.”
It’s a nice thought, and if he was actually healthy enough to play more, there’s nobody who wouldn’t like to see Nash stick around. But it’s tough to see that happening for a variety of reasons.
At 40, Nash is the oldest player in the NBA, and he’s had no shortage of health issues since joining the Lakers in 2012. He played in just 15 games last season while dealing with various back and leg ailments, and missed 32 games in 2012-13. In the few games he did play in 2013-14, Nash was far from his peak self. He saw significant dropoffs in nearly every statistical category, including shooting a career-low 33.3 percent from three-point range. Nash, who has had four 50/40/90 seasons, also shot below 40 percent from the field and averaged just 6.8 points and 5.7 assists per game.
Since training camp began, Nash has been optimistic about his health — he recently said that he’s felt “100 percent” all summer, but feeling healthy in the summer and maintaining it during an 82-game season are very different things, especially for someone Nash’s age.
He hasn’t definitively said it yet, but barring a miracle, it’s safe to assume that this is probably it for the future Hall of Famer.