Is this the end of the Steve Nash era?

By Sekou Smith, NBA.com




VIDEO: Steve Nash on his career and overcoming injuries

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — You hate to see anyone who loves his job as much as Steve Nash does dealt the blows he has been in the twilight of his career.

But Father Time spares no one, not even a player as beloved by his teammates, coaches and fans as Nash. The two-time MVP point guard is facing what could be the final crossroads of his storied career. His 2013-14 season is over, and really never got started thanks to an assortment of injuries, aches and pains that simply did not allow him to perform up to his lofty career standards.

But just to be sure, Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni closed that door this afternoon …

The news comes just hours after Kobe Bryant‘s season was officially sacked, the casualty of a knee fracture and recovery from a torn Achilles tendon that cost him all but six games. All this happens in Lakerland as legendary Lakers and Chicago Bulls coach Phil Jackson decides to take his talents to New York and run the Knicks.

Nash’s season included appearances in just 10 games. He just couldn’t overcome the avalanche of injuries that have plagued him throughout his two-season run with the Lakers. He’s already said that if the Lakers use the stretch provision (the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement gives the Lakers the option of waiving Nash and spreading the cap hold of $9.7 million salary over three seasons) and release him this summer that he’s all but calling it a career.

“If the Lakers release me this summer this is it,” Nash said during Episode 2 of the Finish Line, the documentary he’s doing with Grantland.com that chronicles his final season(s) in the league. “You know, I finally got my kids here in L.A., I’m not going to move them again, and I’m not going to be without them for another year. So, it’s either back with the Lakers next year or I’m done.”

Nash was a part of the core group the Lakers assembled before the start of the 2012-13 season — Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol and Bryant were the others — that was supposed to return the franchise to its previous championship glory.

It never happened. Nash suffered an early injury, never regained his form and wound up playing in just 50 games. Howard struggled with his recovery from back surgery and the adjustment from Orlando to Los Angeles and ultimately bolted for Houston in free agency last summer. Gasol struggled with injuries and his new role as a set piece on the periphery for Howard and Bryant and will be a free agent this summer. Kobe suffered that Achilles injury late in the season, as he was grinding away to make sure the Lakers made the playoffs, and ended up missing the postseason altogether.

Kobe and Nash were expected to lead the Lakers this season, but again, injuries derailed those plans.

The accumulation of that wear and tear on Nash’s body and mind could very well lead to the future Hall of Famer (I don’t think there is any doubt he’s headed there eventually) to indeed call it a career.

No one can blame Nash, 40, for hanging it up at this point. When it takes this much painstaking work just to get fit enough to take the floor, any player in his right mind would consider closing the door on that part of his career and moving on.

Nash has other endeavors that will surely keep him plugged into the game, including his post as head of the Canadian national program.

His playing days, however, could very well be over.

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VIDEO: Steve Nash talks about the stretch provision in The End Of The Line: Episode 2 on Grantland

39 Comments

  1. phil says:

    There is & was never a more beloved expatriot national treasure than Steve Nash… Considering that list includes an absurd number of comedians, musicians, actors, game show hosts, tv personalities and the entire brain drain that lead the US space program to even build Gemeni, apollo & the space shuttles… More loved than the canadians who put americans on the moon, something americans are universally so proud of, that’s an accomplishment!

  2. Rhedz says:

    Nash is sure shot HOF legend, maybe just maybe if he can develop into a ray allen type then maybe his still got a season left in him for atleast a chance for that ring if he gets out of L.A but then again if L.A takes stupid d antoni out even without kobe lakers still got another chance next season to make the playoffs. That is if L.A can net carmelo from knicks. I wish nash can play for 1 more season or 2, develop a shootin ability behind the arc. But kuch respect.

  3. Nash and Kobe says:

    The new lakers era GM is out for only one thing. Getting the biggest named stars to come to his team. No matter his age or injury status. With this attitude the lakers will NEVER get back the days of old. Amnesty kobe and let nash retire and learn how to build a franchise. Never have been a fan of the lakers and never will be but as an NBA fan not seeing the lakers in the playoffs every year isnt the same. Let the old run downed players go and start from the bottom with draft picks. Even the bulls got tired of michael jordan after awhile…. I rest my case and I thank you!!!!

  4. Eaglos says:

    Nash era has been over since 2012 when he left Phoenix. Kobe era has been over since 2010
    when he won his last ring. The only thing that they got since then was injuries and degrading
    performance.

    It is a shame that Nash hasn’t won any ring but that was to be expected by his poor choice of clubs.
    At least Malone made the right choice by joining Lakers back then and would have won his ring if
    not for their bad luck with injuries.

    • Witness says:

      No they didnt beat Detroit for that ring because KOBE being the selfish shotjacking BALLHOG that he was is and always will be, MOST DEFINITELY NOT because of bad luck with injuries. Sorry

  5. lbj says:

    he never got a ring because he wasn’t smart enough to go play with the King “Lebron”. there’s still time, we can trade Rio “Chalmers” and a second round pick to the lakers.

    • kd says:

      he never got a ring because he wasn’t smart enough to go play with kevin durant . there’s still time, we can trade “reggie jackson and a second round pick to the lakers.

  6. Cheng says:

    I simply sigh….and sigh again…….Why many players who have ever been thought to well deserve a ring or even Final-MVP can not leave with even a ring, this world is not fair…I knid of hated Spurs those days…they were very cunning..

  7. 3ptdagger says:

    He probably has a good 10 years left in him. He’s gonna be a 50 yr old NBA Legend with his 46 year old teammate Kobe Bryant! They’re gonna school all these young players in their mid 30s!

  8. kobeballhog says:

    Lakers are in the dumps for the next 2 years until mr ballhog retires. Just like what kobe fanboys been saying all along with his overpriced contract. He deserved to be paid. Nash also deserve to be paid. Why should nash retire when he still could get his millions. If kobe is really after championships then he is the one who should back down from his out of this world salary for the next 2 years.

  9. Mike says:

    I wish Steve Nash all the best for whatever he chooses to do. With or without a ring, one of the greatest players to grace the court, and an all-round outstanding human being.

  10. mffl says:

    well he has to live with the wrong decision he made in 04 to leave dallas. dirk and nash coulda been an all time duo with a ring or 2

  11. vincent says:

    such a shame, was always rooting for him to win a championship. Refs kinda screwed against the spurs back in phoenix days. But y nash signed the extension with phoenix knowing stoudemire could leave?bad move., man

  12. None Of The Above says:

    Steve Nash can take pride in that he has managed to keep time at bay longer than many players do.

  13. jeremy says:

    Nash has one more shot, next year. I think he will come back. If not though, he had a fantastic run, and played inspired basketball. Too bad he won no championship. He was robbed several times by refs, after the Robert Horry hip check, with the ridiculous suspensions that followed, and turned that series around. He played with dogged intensity and creative brilliance, and had an amazing career. The Suns used to run other teams into the ground, and it was a blast watching them do it.

  14. Laker City says:

    Lakers should’ve went for Okafur and trade up Pau Gasol. They would’ve had a decent center by 2015, could sign Kevin Love. Sign Kyrie Irving, and tehy would be perfectly fine. Especially with a strong rebounder like Kaman coming off the bench.

  15. Unkle Daddy says:

    These injuries were all put on Nash because he shook the hand of the Devil, Kobe… So, here’s what is gonna happen, the Lakers will waive him after this season. He then will say I’m gonna retire, but then Mark Cuban and his deep pockets will call Nash and bring him back to Dallas for one last shot at a title with his former partner in crime Dirk. He will also pay out over the luxury tax to get these two some serious help. Nash will be the reserve point guard to save some of the wear and tear on his body.

  16. Ivan says:

    Nash should stop been selfish and leave your spot free to someone else! Its time to move on !

  17. KLorteau13 says:

    Terrible he has to go out this way

    • Shaq says:

      greed gets you to go out this way. If he stopped when he still got some game left then you wouldn’t have said this. He should quit at 37. 40 is too old to be playing in the nba

  18. Andrew says:

    Come coach The Wizards. Teach Wall how to drive through the lane when there isn’t an opening for a shot; he’s a little slow on the uptake.

  19. Jacob says:

    He should become a coach for a team with Kobe

  20. Patty says:

    STEVE NASH SHOULD RETIRE. STOP HOLDING A SEAT FOR A PLAYER THAT CAN PLAY.

  21. dustydreamnz says:

    and another Steve Nash thread…

  22. Vash says:

    What about going to the Clippers? He can stay in L.A and still play.

  23. thespectator says:

    we all know lakers not winning a title any time soon…you really think lakers are able to compete with the likes of OKC, SPURS, Clipps, Rockets and Blazers ? cmon man..lol..lakers era is done, and will be for a long long time..they needa big three to even stay in title contension…

  24. OfficePlus says:

    Sad way to go out, should of retired 2 seasons ago…hes basically crawling on his knees and arms to retirement. Too bad he wanted to do this, could of left on a high note..

  25. Evens says:

    The only way for him to win a championship before retiring is sign up with the Spurs of the Heat as a back up PG.

  26. Brenan says:

    All right, All right, All right Lakers fans give it up for your 2014-2015 Lakers Season Home Opener Starting Lineup!

    In a wheelchair modified for the intensity of the NBA, crippled veteran who should just retire and help his team and career that way…Point Guard Steve Nash!!!! Can this guy even breathe without risking an injury that sidelines him for 96.2% of the season?

    Next your future HOF…the Black Mamba…back in perfect form…dropping 35 a game chasing personal greatness but forced to disregard chances of winning a title due to bad management and coaching…SG Kobe Bryant!

    Next your starting center, he can’t really play basketball that well, and thinks he is a Canadian Birdman, has tattoos on tattoos on tatoos (failed interpretation of the Kobe system)…his biggest highlights come from celebrating for his teammates’ dunks on the bench (and one time one of his opponents’ dunks…)….D League Worthy Center Robert Sacre !

    Unfortunately Lakers fans, Mitch Kupchak your love to hate GM decided it was in the best interest to pursue high profile free agents this summer and didn’t sign anyone to a contract to fill the rest of the roster….It is lamentable he failed to realize no elite player let alone mediocre player wants to play for management that drove away a future HOF center and a coach who cannot understand what defence and coaching means…

    But Fear not Lakers fans, we have enough money to do exactly what we did last year. And we’re going to do it this year too! and next year as well when we miss out on free agents again! I am happy to report inside info that the Lakers have signed D Leaguers to fill the remainder of the roster and compete with NBA calibre players on the remaining 29 teams in the league.

    Last but not least, led by Italy’s very own, can’t play basketball, can’t coach basketball, can’t handle pressure, lies about being a good coach, ruins a franchise, is judged on a single good season that never materialized into something special, the worst coach in the NBA…Mike Pringles D’Antoni!!!! He predicts the Lakers will average 125 PPG this year.! Wow! Oh wait my mistake folks, I’ve just been informed the opponent will average 165 a game against us. Sorry for getting your hopes up.

    Now let’s get this season opener against the Bobcats underway! I predict a monster 40-28-15-10 Game for Josh McRoberts!

  27. Karlo Garcia says:

    I’m 80-90% that Steve Nash will be back with the Lakers in 2014-15.

  28. Weedmoker says:

    He is very old!

  29. RECCO MARLEE says:

    he should have one more season IN DALLAS WITH NOWITZKI POSTIN THAT ON HIS TWITTER LOL that would be awesome if he came back

  30. dunkmycat7 says:

    Hey doug smith @ the Toronto Star
    How do you like your boy now ?
    so glad no one listened to either of you when you and BC wanted him here…
    just another example of why you know NOTHING about Basketball.
    RETIRE ALREADY !!!

  31. Paul says:

    Why should he retire as long as this stupid Lakers management keeps paying him? It’s their fault, he’s just collecting the cream. He’ll quit when they tell him to quit.