Nash and Kobe may not play another game this year

Daniel Rapaport —  March 4, 2014

ESPN Los Angeles’ Dave McMenamin first tweeted out the news that has seemed growingly inevitable as the season wears on- more likely than not, Steve Nash has played his last game this season.

There’s no other way to describe this news other than plain old sad. Nash has worked his tail off to get back to form this season and make due on that increasingly unexplainable contract that pays him upwards of $9 million per season. But when you’re body simply won’t cooperate, there’s nothing you can do.

I was one of the millions of Laker fans who was ecstatic when the news broke on July 4th, 2012 that the team had acquired the two-time MVP. Never in a million years did I expect Nash to function more as a cap-clogger than anything productive on the floor. It’s now a legitimate possibility that the Lakers use the stretch provision on Nash, would could end the future hall-of famers career. By exercising this provision, the Lakers would release Nash and his cap figure would be spread across three years, allowing the Lakers added flexibility to chase free agents.

If Nash has indeed played his last game in purple and gold, his final game tally in two years would be 60. Not what the Lakers had in mind.

Kobe’s in a similar position in the sense of not knowing whether he’ll suit up for another game this year. He’s still weeks away from an evaluation, and if he’s cleared to play then, he’d likely have to have at least a bit of practice time to get him back into game shape. And judging from the 4 games he played in his return from the achilles injury, he wouldn’t be his usual self- at least not at first- when he does make it back onto the court.

All of this injury news bodes well for those Laker fans aboard Team Tank. The Lakers enjoyed probably their best win of the season last night in snapping Portland’s five-game win streak. In Portland. The win was so surprising that it prompted this headline from the LA Times: “Lakers beat Trail Blazers…in Portland…really!” But despite this, and the win over Sacramento where the Lakers caught fiiiiire from three, the upcoming schedule remains brutal- six out of the next eight games are against teams above .500, including two each against the Thunder and Spurs (who are absolutely incredible. Nothing less. Each and every year I count them out, figuring Father Time will eventually prevail. Those who believe the age-old adage that Father Time is undefeated doesn’t know that Gregg Popovich exists. Okay, Spurs rant over).

Without Kobe and Nash for the foreseeable future, the Lakers should return to their losing ways in the next couple weeks. Of the remaining 22 games, 15 come against teams above .500. If you’re rooting for losses, things are working out quite nicely for you- the Lakers’ remaining schedule is brutal and they will be without the production of both Kobe and Nash, however limited that production might be, when they go toe-to-toe with these superior teams.

Daniel Rapaport

Posts

3 responses to Nash and Kobe may not play another game this year

  1. What are the advantages the Lakers would get from using the stretch provision? Are there any realistic scenarios where it would help them?

    If they are looking for Love (or another top free agent) in 2015 Nash’s contract doesn’t really seem to matter a lot.

  2. Wow, this is really a slow news day on the Laker front. So…another reason (besides the obvious two rings) to raise Gasol’s #16 to the rafters when he retires. He’s simply the best power forward to ever where the purple & gold for an extended time (Malone’s Laker career was a cameo). Actually Gasol looks to be the next one up, no one else comes to mind.

  3. Lakers don’t need Kobe or Nash this season. They don’t need wins, and I absolutely don’t believe in tanking. They should play with passion with whatever the healthy roster is, improve playing in the D’Antoni style, and be professional in everything they do. That’s important for this team, whether they actually manage to win many games or not. Kobe and Nash should take all the time available to get as healthy as they can for next season.

    Unless he’s truly damaged and won’t get back to playing, I’m leaning towards the Lakers not using the stretch on Nash. I think next season, the Lakers might not use all their cap space.