Lakers Rumors: Lakers May Opt Against ‘Stretching’ Steve Nash
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With only 21 games remaining, the Los Angeles Lakers have nearly completed another disappointing season. Steve Nash has again been saddled by injury, Kobe Bryant has only managed to play in six games and Pau Gasol has continued to voice his frustration with Mike D’Antoni and the direction of the offense. Along with the expectation of getting a lottery pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, some believed the Lakers may also be active in the free agent market, given their forthcoming cap space.

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However, general manager Mitch Kupchak recently stated the team may not fill their entire cap space, which Bleacher Report’s Kevin Ding corroborates and expands on with respect to Steve Nash:

And the fact is, as of this time, Nash will get one last chance to play next season with the Lakers, who are not planning a free-agent spending spree this summer and are therefore thinking it does not make sense to use the stretch provision to waive Nash.

By stretching Nash’s contract, the Lakers would be able to pay the remaining $9.7 million over three years, which would lower the amount of the annual hit to their salary cap. While some may be in favor of stretching Nash so as to finally part ways with the point guard who has been unable to stay healthy since joining the Lakers, absorbing Nash’s contract for just one more season could be more advantageous. Several players could opt-out of their contracts this summer, but nothing is guaranteed.

Should the Lakers wind up deciding to waive Nash, the point guard tells Ding he would then retire:

“That would be it,” he said. “I’ll either be back here or I’ll be done.”

Nash has worked tirelessly to recover from nerve-root irritation that has affected his legs and already problematic back, but after playing four games in early February, he was shut down again due to injury. Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni recently conceded the point guard who led his Phoenix Suns teams may not suit up again this season. What, if anything, the current oldest player in the league at age 40, will be able to contribute next season is largely unknown. It may not be an issue however, if the Lakers re-sign Jordan Farmar or guarantee Kendall Marshall’s contract, which may result in Nash be relegated to limited minutes.

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