Steve Nash and the Lakers agreed to a parting of the ways before the season began, citing the ongoing nerve issues stemming from back injuries as the reason he wouldn’t be able to play for the team on anything close to a consistent basis.
Mitch Kupchak and Byron Scott had expressed hope that Nash would be around the team to serve in a mentorship role this season, after some time away to come to grips with what appears to be his career coming to an end sooner than he expected.
But Nash has stayed away to this point, even though Scott has reached out.
From Beto Duran of ESPN Radio in Los Angeles:
Byron Scott called Steve Nash but hasn’t received a return call. Does he expect to see Nash around team? “Don’t know. I’d like to”
Allow me to to throw out a completely unsubstantiated theory as to why this may be the case.
If you saw any of Nash’s documentary which chronicled his workouts to try and make it back to the court last season, then you know just how badly he wanted to continue to play. And, back in October, he said he had felt 100 percent all summer long, and even didn’t rule out playing beyond this season.
Is it possible the Lakers ruled him out for the season, essentially against his wishes?
The organization may have simply said not to worry about trying to come back, that the constant distraction of “will he or won’t he” wouldn’t be worth the sporadic production he could provide, and the team could form a more consistent rotation with Nash completely out of the picture.
If things went down that way, it would be easy to see why Nash has no desire to be around the team, even though he’s still under contract this season.
Now, Nash suffered a setback during the preseason, and Scott said at the time his plan would be to just bring Nash off the bench whenever he was healthy enough to play. That might have been reason enough for Nash to decide that the payoff wouldn’t be worth all the hard work he’d need to put in to be able to play again, and for him to come to the team and tell them enough was enough.
But if he remains away all year, despite the wishes of an organization that is still paying him, it will be worth wondering exactly how the decision to rule him out for the season was ultimately reached.