The fate of Steve Nash has been uncertain for quite some time. Although the two-time NBA MVP has only played in 12 games this season and appears to be nearing the end of his career, the Lakers are planning on keeping him next season according to Mike Bresnahan of the L.A. Times:
For financial reasons, the Lakers currently plan to keep him next season, The Times has learned, eating the remainder of his contract ($9.7 million) in one swoop instead of waiving him and spreading the money out over three years.
As Bresnahan points out, the Lakers will likely eat the $9.7 million owed to Nash next season in order to be fully prepared for free agency in the summers of 2015 and 2016. This will give the storied franchise more leverage in terms of landing game-changing free agents:
It would give them more money to spend in the summers of 2015 and 2016, when they figure to be active players in the free-agent market amid such possible names as Kevin Love, LeBron James and Kevin Durant.
With Nash continuing to struggle to stay healthy, there’s no telling when or if the veteran point guard will be forced to retire. Nash will have the entire summer to get back to form, but many believe that his days as an elite player are over.
Despite the fact that Nash has been nowhere near the player of old since being traded to the Lakers in the summer of 2012, the team does have the advantage of having him help mentor younger players. Kendall Marshall’s development could be another reason for the Lakers reluctant to part ways along with the prospect of possibly bringing in Australia’s Dante Exum in the upcoming 2014 NBA Draft.
Although Nash will likely never provide the Lakers the kind of production they were hoping, the mentoring aspect in a rebuilding period could become usual moving forward.
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