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NBA PM: Steve Nash Not Retiring

Los Angeles Lakers point guard Steve Nash has been ruled out for the rest of the regular season, but will not be retiring… Portland entering trying times…

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Los Angeles Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni announced today that point guard Steve Nash will miss the remainder of the regular season, which has 18 games remaining in it for the Lakers. This comes just one day after the team announced that Nash’s backcourt mate Kobe Bryant would miss the rest of the regular season as well due to his a broken bone just below his left knee.

An ailing back is the culprit for Nash, who missed 32 games last year due to a leg injury and only played in 10 games this season. There has been a lot of talk about whether the Lakers will use the stretch provision on his contract, allowing them to spread out the $9.3 million remaining on his contract over the next three years. However, there is also some logic behind the Lakers keeping Nash on board and just being rid of his contract completely at the end of next season. The Lakers are considering saving their cap space for next offseason if they don’t land any big time free agents this summer, keeping Nash would eliminate another $3 million off of their books, if that is indeed the route the go.

One thing the Lakers should not be expecting is for Nash to retire. His tenure with the Lakers have been marred be injuries, but he has no plans to walk away from the final year of what is likely going to be his last NBA contract.

“It’s just a reality,” Nash said in the latest episode of his documentary on Grantland. “I’m not going to retire because I want the money. It’s honest.

“You’re going to have people say he’s so greedy he’s got to take this last little bit. Yes, I do. I have to take this little bit. I’m sorry if that’s frustrating to some but if they were in my shoes they would do the exact same thing.

“I still love the game enough, still love the fight and want to do everything I can to get back out there.”

In the 10 games he did play this season, Nash averaged 7.6 points and 4.7 assists, down from 12.7 points and 6.7 assists last season. Due to his status and the injuries Steve Blake and Jordan Farmar suffered, the Lakers were forced to hit the free agent market for a point guard and they found a quality option in former North Carolina Tar Heel Kendall Marshall. The Lakers traded Blake at the deadline to the Golden State Warriors, but between Marshall and Farmar at the point guard position minutes are going to be difficult for Nash to earn next season.

The 40 year old veteran could be in a position where he is asked to mentor more than play next season, if he is not waived with the stretch provision, not only because of Marshall and Farmar but because the Lakers are projected to have a high lottery pick in this year’s draft. They may not end up in the top three, where top prospects Joel Embiid, Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker are expected to go, but they are going to be in prime position to draft either point guards Dante Exum or Marcus Smart, both good enough to give the starting job, or at least a sizable role to, from day one.

Even if healthy, it’s hard to imagine Nash making too much of a difference in the way this season has gone for the Lakers. They’ve been devastated by injuries once again and even at full strength their potential did not appear to be too high. He may have made them a better offensive team and a little bit more enjoyable to watch, but his days as a savior are long gone. The year that he really could have made a difference was last year, but that’s neither here nor there.

Depending on how next season goes and if his health is still an issue, the Lakers could look to buyout Nash at some point in the season. He’s made it clear that he has no intentions of going to play anywhere else. He loves playing in L.A. because it keeps him close to his kids, but they’re not going to depend on him for the third consecutive season based on how the first two have gone. There’s a strong chance that the Lakers are going to have a new head coach next season; if D’Antoni is replaced, the likelihood of Nash seeing the floor much are even slimmer. His potential replacement won’t have the same type of attachment to Nash that D’Antoni does, stemming from the great success they experienced together in Phoenix.

With 18 games remaining in the regular season the Lakers are after ping pong balls in the lottery more than they are wins. They’ve drafted in the lottery twice in the last 20 years, both times coming away with quality players in Andrew Bynum and Eddie Jones. Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak continues to caution Laker fans from thinking all of their problems will be solved with a high draft pick, but the fact of the matter is that’s one of the few things they have to look forward to right now with the future holding so much uncertainty otherwise.

Trying Times in Portland: The Portland Trail Blazers lost their third straight game last night and continue to slip down the Western Conference rankings after being in position to have homecourt advantage for the first round of the playoffs for much of the season. To make matters worse, in that loss against the Spurs last night their All-Star power forward LaMarcus Aldridge went down with a lower back contusion that is going to keep him out for the next couple of games at the very minimum. They’re going to re-evaluate him next week and see when he can come back.

Despite his injury and the rest of the injury woes they are currently dealing with, the Blazers are opting to stand pat rather than hitting the free agent market for some additional help.

They are going to try to rebound with what they have. After last night’s lost the team held a players only meeting in hopes of getting back on the right track. They’re not in any serious danger of missing the playoffs, but this is a team with aspirations that go beyond just being one-and-done. If they don’t get back on the right course soon, though, they could find themselves as heavy underdogs in the first round either against the San Antonio Spurs or Oklahoma City Thunder.

NBA PM: Nash Not Retiring

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni announced today that point guard Steve Nash will miss the remainder of the regular season, which has 18 games remaining in it for the Lakers. This comes just one day after the team announced that Nash’s backcourt mate Kobe Bryant would miss the rest of the regular season as well due to his a broken bone just below his left knee.

An ailing back is the culprit for Nash, who missed 32 games last year due to a leg injury that also gave him trouble this season and only played in 10 games this season. There has been a lot of talk about whether the Lakers will use the stretch provision on his contract, allowing them to spread out the $9.3 million remaining on his contract over the next three years. However, there is also some logic behind the Lakers keeping Nash on board and just being rid of his contract completely at the end of next season. The Lakers are considering saving their cap space for next offseason if they don’t land any big time free agents this summer, keeping Nash would eliminate another $3 million off of their books, if that is indeed the route the go.

One thing the Lakers should not be expecting is for Nash to retire. His tenure with the Lakers have been marred be injuries, but he has no plans to walk away from the final year of what is likely going to be his last NBA contract.

“It’s just a reality,” Nash said in his latest documentary on Grantland. “I’m not going to retire because I want the money. It’s honest.

“You’re going to have people say he’s so greedy he’s got to take this last little bit. Yes, I do. I have to take this little bit. I’m sorry if that’s frustrating to some but if they were in my shoes they would do the exact same thing.

“I still love the game enough, still love the fight and want to do everything I can to get back out there.”

In the 10 games he did play this season, Nash averaged 7.6 points and 4.7 assists, down from 12.7 points and 6.7 assists last season. Due to his status and the injuries Steve Blake and Jordan Farmar suffered, the Lakers were forced to hit the free agent market for a point guard and they found a quality option in former North Carolina Tar Heel Kendall Marshall. The Lakers traded Blake at the deadline to the Golden State Warriors, but between Marshall and Farmar at the point guard position minutes are going to be difficult for Nash to earn next season.

The 40 year old veteran could be in a position where he is asked to mentor more than play next season, if he is not waived with the stretch provision, not only because of Marshall and Farmar but because the Lakers are projected to have a high lottery pick in this year’s draft. They may not end up in the top three, where top prospects Joel Embiid, Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker are expected to go, but they are going to be in prime position to draft either point guards Dante Exum or Marcus Smart, both good enough to give the starting job, or at least a sizable role to, from day one.

Even if healthy, it’s hard to imagine Nash making too much of a difference in the way this season has gone for the Lakers. They’ve been devastated by injuries once again and even at full strength their potential did not appear to be too high. He may have made them a better offensive team and a little bit more enjoyable to watch, but his days as a savior are long gone. The year that he really could have made a difference was last year, but that’s neither here nor there.

Depending on how next season goes and if his health is still an issue, the Lakers could look to buyout Nash at some point in the season. He’s made it clear that he has no intentions of going to play anywhere else. He loves playing in L.A. because it keeps him close to his kids, but they’re not going to depend on him for the third consecutive season based on how the first two have gone. There’s a strong chance that the Lakers are going to have a new head coach next season; if D’Antoni is replaced, the likelihood of Nash seeing the floor much are even slimmer. His potential replacement won’t have the same type of attachment to Nash that D’Antoni does, stemming from the great success the experienced together in Phoenix.

With 18 games remaining in the regular season the Lakers are after ping pong balls in the lottery more than they are wins. They’ve drafted in the lottery twice in the last 20 years, both times coming away with quality players in Andrew Bynum and Eddie Jones. Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak continues to caution Laker fans from thinking all of their problems will be solved with a high draft pick, but the fact of the matter is that’s one of the few things they have to look forward to right now with the future holding so much uncertainty otherwise.

Trying Times in Portland: The Portland Trail Blazers lost their third straight game last night and continue to slip down the Western Conference rankings after being in position to have homecourt advantage for the first round of the playoffs for much of the season. To make matters worse, in that loss against the Spurs last night their All-Star power forward LaMarcus Aldridge went down with a lower back contusion that is going to keep him out for the next couple of games at the very minimum. They’re going to re-evaluate him next week and see when he can come back.

Despite his injury and the rest of the injury woes they are currently dealing with, the Blazers are opting to stand pat rather than hitting the free agent market for some additional help.

They are going to try to rebound with what they have. After last night’s lost the team held a players only meeting in hopes of getting back on the right track. They’re not in any serious danger of missing the playoffs, but this is a team with aspirations that go beyond just being one-and-done. If they don’t get back on the right course soon, though, they could find themselves as heavy underdogs in the first round either against the San Antonio Spurs or Oklahoma City Thunder.

Yannis Koutroupis is Basketball Insiders' Managing Site Editor and Senior Writer. He has been covering the NBA and NCAA for seven years.

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