Culver City Observer -

Injured Nash Won't Play For Lakers This Season


October 30, 2014

By Mitch Chortkoff

Sports Editor

Steve Nash is one of the best point guards ever to play in the NBA. He's been MVP twice and ranks third all-time in assists.

Unfortunately for the Lakers, Nash did his remarkable work before he signed here at the age of 38.

In two Laker seasons he played in only 65 games, 50 the first year and 15 last season as he was unable to ward off a back injury.

Last week the Lakers and Nash jointly announced he won't play this season. He didn't announce his retirement, preferring to say he'll focus on rest and rehabilitation.

But he'll be close to 42 next season and won't have a contract. Some team will have to make an offer for him to play a 20th season in the league.

Two seasons ago, following the death of long-time Laker owner Jerry Buss, his son Jim Buss became the boss.

Jim Buss' first two moves were to sign Nash and Dwight Howard, both as free agents. Neither one will play for the Lakers this season and the Lakers are obligated to pay Nash his $9.3 million salary. According to NBA rules, Nash won't come off the Lakers' books until one year after he played his last game. That will be in April of 2015.

I can't help wondering how much better off the Lakers would be if one of their former great players had been hired to reshape the roster after Jerry Buss died.

Magic Johnson and Jerry west come to mind. Johnson wasn't asked and became part owner of the Dodgers. West wasn't asked and became a consultant with the Golden State Warriors, where he has helped the team become one of the most successful in the NBA.

Although the Lakers have had two miserable seasons since they signed Nash he can be very proud of his career.

Coming from Canada, he wasn't sought by major colleges in the USA. No Pac-10 Conference school offered him a scholarship, for example. He then signed with Santa Clara, where he quickly became a star.

His rise to prominence was so successful that he became the No. 16 pick in the 1996 NBA draft.

Marc Stein of ESPN, a former colleague of mine when he covered the Lakers for the LA Daily News,

wrote a comprehensive story when the Lakers signed Nash.

He reported that Toronto made a better offer which Laker general manager Mitch Kupchak told Jim Buss.

According to Stein, Jim Buss told Kupchak to keep trying.

Ultimately the Lakers won out. But Nash's inability to overcome his back problem prevented him from being the player the Lakers hoped he'd be.

Jeremy Lin was signed to a one-year contract by the Lakers this season as protection if Nash couldn't play.

Lin is expected to be the Lakers' starting point guard with nine-year NBA veteran Ronnie Price as the backup. Price was signed this season to a non-guaranteed contract.


Reader Comments

TexasSportsFan writes:

Dr. Jerry Buss was alive when the Lakers acquired Nash & Howard. Nash's problems with the Lakers resulted from the broken leg he suffered in his second game in LA and the nerve damage that resulted. No real details have been given about the decision not to play this season but nerve damage has been suggested.


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