Steve Nash’s tenure with the Lakers has come to an unfortunate and anticlimactic finale. But before we talk about the the end, let’s rewind to when the Lakers first traded for Nash.
I remember exactly where I was, who I was with, and how I received the information, that seemed rather jubilant at the time, that Steve Nash was a Laker. It was July 4th, and I was at a Dodger game with my brothers Isaiah and Isael, and with my good friend Manuel. The Dodger game had just started. And in between innings I went on Twitter and that’s where I read multiple tweets from reporters saying that the Lakers had just traded for Nash. I went on ESPN to confirm that what I read on Twitter was correct. To my elated reassurance, Steve Nash was indeed a Laker.
I couldn’t believe it. My friend Manuel was ecstatic at the fact we traded for Nash; he couldn’t control himself and gave out a shout. Then the possibilities of seeing Kobe and Nash playing together came to fruition and they were awesome. We all started to wonder how it would work? How would the team look? How good does this make the team? We didn’t worry to much about Nash’s age or health because he looked good the season before. We were excited to have Steve Nash on our team; yes I said it, “our team.” Steve Nash was a Laker. It was all a dream. Then, later came the summer the Lakers traded for Dwight Howard. We could instantly envision our championship team.
It all appeared too good to be true. And as with most things that seem that way, it was. Steve Nash broke his fibula on the second game of the season against the Portland Trailblazers. That was the writing on the wall that the Nash experiment wasn’t meant to be. That broken leg was the beginning of the end. I think we all knew it. But somehow we hoped we were wrong because it was Steve Nash. After all, he is one of the good guys. So, for the next two years Nash would be in and out of the lineup rehabbing from his broken leg that caused nerve damage. But also, he was rehabbing from his back that had been given him trouble for years.
Nash made quite a stir last year when he was filming a documentary with Grantland entitled “Finish Line” and admitted that he will be playing out his last year of his contract instead of retiring because he wanted the $9.7 million that he was going to due. Fans questioned why he would take the money and ostensibly keep the Lakers hostage with his contract instead of just calling it quits. His admission poisoned the fans outlook on athletes playing primarily for the money.
I had no problem with Nash’s admission. I understood where he was coming from. If I were in his position, I’d probably do the the same thing. You’d be very hard pressed to find someone who would walk away from a guaranteed $9.7 million. This was going to be the last contract Nash would ever have, his last chance to get paid to play the game of basketball. And it wasn’t as if Nash was just going to collect a check and go home. Nash was working and trying to come back and play with the Lakers.
It is evident: Nash’s mind is willing but his body is worn down. And just like that, Nash’s season with the Lakers is over. Sadly to say, but Nash’s time was over before it even got a chance to start. It’s a shame Laker fans never truly saw Steve Nash play like Steve Nash except for glimpses here and there. Now the question is: what do the Lakers do with Nash’s contract?
Nash isn’t going to retire and forfeit the money coming to him so that option is out the door. The Lakers can now look to trade Nash as a salary dump for a team that is looking to better their position for the lottery. If the Lakers trade Nash they can acquire a player with a salary of $15 million.
The Lakers can also apply for the medical disability which would give them the ability to sign a free agent to a $4.85 million contract or trade for a player whose contract is worth $4.95 million, the Lakers would have till March 10th to add this player who is on a one year contract.
The Lakers also have the option to buyout Nash’s contract for a less amount than his contract is worth. The Lakers last option is to do absolutely nothing and just let Nash take up a roster spot. And it’s the last option that I believe the Lakers will utilize. I believe the Lakers will take the salary hit from Nash’s contract and get the cap relief for next off season. The other options sound great and give the Lakers an ability to add a player but the question is what player will they add? And if they add a player, can he actually make a significant impact for the Lakers? The front office also has to decide how good this team is and what are the expectations for this Lakers team. I don’t believe the Lakers can trade Nash without giving up a young player like Randle or Clarkson, or draft picks which the Lakers cannot afford to trade. It’ll be interesting to see what the Lakers decide to do with Nash’s contract.
The Steve Nash saga has sadly come to an abrupt yet expected end. Now Lakers can move forward as can Steve Nash. Laker fans, and fans of basketball in general, can appreciate the career that Steve Nash had. He’ll go down as one of the best point guards to play the game. It’s moments like these that should make fans everywhere treasure their favorite player because you’ll never know when it will all come to end. So here’s to Steve Nash: the greatest Canadian to play the game of basketball. Oh Canada!