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Report: Steve Nash told friends he plans to retire after season. He says he’s not stopping.

Feb 10, 2014, 2:45 PM EDT

Chicago Bulls v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

While this is the dream of some Lakers fans and has some logic to it, let me caution you to take this report with a grain of salt.

And if you were really fans of Steve Nash and basketball you’d be cheering for it not to be true.

But a report out of New York, Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News, says that Nash is going to call it quits after this season.

Steve Nash finally made it back to the Lakers and has told a few friends this is going to be it, even though he has one season to go on his contract, at $9.7 million. Nash, who turned 40 Friday, doesn’t expect to help much, but that’s been the story of his injury-plagued Laker career. He really missed the camaraderie with his teammates when he was out for three months with a nerve injury in his back, and says he wants to experience that for at least the last part of this season before he calls it a career.

Again, take it with salt. For one reason, look at what Steve Nash said.

Secondly, and more importantly (as players will say on thing to friends and another to the media), walking away from the game simple is not who Steve Nash is as a person.

Nash is a two-time league MVP not because he was born with more athletic gifts than other point guards in the league, rather he was born with a good mind for the game and a drive to make himself the best. He has spent most of this season working to retrain his body to move in different ways, ones that do not aggravate the root nerve issue that has bothered him since a broken leg at the start of last season. He is like Lakers’ teammate Kobe Bryant in this sense — put a challenge in front of him and his default mode is to figure out how to conquer it.

After all that, does that really sound like a guy who just wanted to get back for the rest of this season then walk away?

If you are rooting for Nash to do just that and walk away you miss the point of sport — you value “cap space” over human achievement, over the will to overcome what most people would just walk away from and give up. That Steve Nash did everything he did to make it back to the court is something to be celebrated, not dismissed as inconvenient to your long-term dreams.

The Lakers are better having their young players see Nash striving to overcome long odds, seeing real work ethic, having that attitude become part of the Lakers’ culture than they are gaining some cap space they shouldn’t use this summer anyway (LeBron James isn’t coming and Carmelo Anthony would be a disaster).

Nash should be celebrated by Lakers fans, not dismissed.

  1. aboogy123456 - Feb 10, 2014 at 2:53 PM

    At this point Steve Nash has been hurting the lakers more than helping them. His great week of basketball came at the expense of two wins that actually hurt them. I respect him as a basketball player, but he was never truly a laker and it would hurt them if he plays next year.

    • unfrozencavemanlawyer2 - Feb 10, 2014 at 3:05 PM

      He wore a Lakers unform. Collected a hefty paycheck from the Lakers- I’d say that makes him ‘truly a Laker’. However- what he is not- is truly healthy- nor is he likely to be ever again. He’s 40- with a bad back. His career is over. Not sure why Kurt insists on warning us off the Nash retirement talk. The guy is done and has too much pride to continue to be paid to sit on the bench. Hats off to him- he was great- once upon a time.

    • misremembered72 - Feb 10, 2014 at 3:19 PM

      “…never truly a Laker” <—- What does that even mean? Lakers fans have the worst entitlement issues

      • aboogy123456 - Feb 10, 2014 at 4:55 PM

        I apologize that statement came out the wrong way. Ever since he’s been a laker he’s been nothing but a team player and played with a ton of heart. I meant to say that when we look back on his hall of fame career, I’m gonna think of the great things he did for the Mavs and Suns, not his short stint for the lakers.

      • asimonetti88 - Feb 10, 2014 at 4:57 PM

        He’ll never be remembered as a Laker. He will always be remembered for his time in Phoenix, and Dallas, before his time in the City of Angels. And rightfully so. Same can be said for Karl Malone and Gary Payton.

      • asimonetti88 - Feb 10, 2014 at 6:05 PM

        I think his point is that Steve Nash is about as much of a Laker as Willie Mays is a Met.

    • casualcommenter - Feb 10, 2014 at 5:00 PM

      ” His great week of basketball came at the expense of two wins that actually hurt them. he was never truly a laker ”

      What’s funny about this comment is that one of the Lakers past two wins came with STEVE NASH NOT PLAYING. Nash never actually played against the Cavaliers, but he’s being blamed for helping them win that game somehow.

      • casualcommenter - Feb 10, 2014 at 5:13 PM

        Just saw this comment got downvoted a couple of times by “Lakers fans” who aren’t watching “their favorite team” this season.

        It’s a fact that Nash didn’t play a single second of that Cavaliers game, so it’s not his fault that the Lakers won that game. The Lakers have won 2 games in the past 3 weeks, and Nash only played in one of those wins.

        So no, Nash isn’t ruining the Lakers’ draft position by leading the Lakers to multiple wins by himself. The Lakers still suck with him playing.

      • aboogy123456 - Feb 10, 2014 at 5:17 PM

        you’re right. The point of my comment was that he is hurting them more than helping at this point. That is not only with wins, but evaluating guys like kendall marshall who could be a potential long term solution at backup point guard, but facts are facts, I’m not sure how I missed that.

  2. therealhtj - Feb 10, 2014 at 2:54 PM

    Spare us the rhetoric, Helin. Fans of any team want championships. Steve Nash no longer provides that, good story or not. He made it back to the court for this dumpster fire of a season, congratulations. One thing everyone seems to glance over is this latest “injury” happened in Nash’s 9th game of the season. The precise number of games he can play and still get off the team’s books as a medical retirement next season. EVERY Laker fan should hope this comes to fruition.

    Whether or not he retires, we know he’s not leaving near 10 million on the table. If he does, he’d be the first in the history of the guaranteed contract in the NBA to do so. In the NFL, he wouldn’t have even been invited back this season.

  3. stephenlin - Feb 10, 2014 at 3:01 PM

    As a Lakers fan, and more importantly, a fan of basketball, I want to see Nash go out the right way. Not at the behest of armchair fans.

    • sportsfan18 - Feb 12, 2014 at 11:37 AM

      Amen

  4. spursareold - Feb 10, 2014 at 3:12 PM

    He’s a thief if he doesn’t retire. He’s been taking the Lakers money for the better part of two seasons.

    Retire and show your class, Nash.

  5. kb2408 - Feb 10, 2014 at 3:13 PM

    Look, I have always said Nash was not all that! But I was so WRONG! This dude is a great, great basketball player. In his prime, he was a good as any PG of his era, and maybe even the best. It’s just a shame he didn’t get to play on the biggest stage a couple times in his career. It has not worked out well for him in the PURPLE AND GOLD. But I am one LAKERS fan that is honored that he played for my favorite team.

    • mickdamill - Feb 10, 2014 at 4:13 PM

      How does this get down voted? lol

      • unxpexted1 - Feb 10, 2014 at 4:30 PM

        must of stopped reading after the first line

    • kb2408 - Feb 10, 2014 at 5:09 PM

      @mickdamill & @unexpected1…the IQ level is not very high on this site. And they hate because I speak the truth!
      #iwillkeeptryingtoeducate

      • sdlakerfan - Feb 11, 2014 at 1:29 PM

        Wait what? So all during his prime when he was an all-star and winning MVP awards, you thought he wasn’t “all that”? Now that he’s a shadow of his former self and shows brief glimpses of what he was you’ve suddenly realized how great he was all this time?

        And anyone who down votes this ignorant self-aggrandizing blather is a low IQ hater who you will keep trying to educate even though you’re the one who admittedly had it wrong all this time?

        #iwillkeeptryingtoeducate => #startwithyourself

  6. asimonetti88 - Feb 10, 2014 at 3:19 PM

    I don’t understand the people who say Nash doesn’t have “great athletic gifts”. Yeah at age 40 he may not, but in his prime he was one of the quicker players with the basketball in his hands. He killed the Lakers for years, and I was glad to finally see him on our side. I hope he comes back and is able to contribute this year and next, should he choose to play.

    • spursareold - Feb 10, 2014 at 3:37 PM

      He was a very good ballhandler in his prime, but he’s never been overly quick. His deadly jumper makes players play him close, and allows him to use whatever quickness he has to go by them. If he doesn’t shoot as well as he does, he would almost never go by anyone.

      • asimonetti88 - Feb 10, 2014 at 3:44 PM

        I’m not saying he was ever a John Wall kind of track star guy, but he wasn’t some plodding slow guy. He also has the ability to move at the same speed with the ball as without it, an underappreciated skill.

      • borderline1988 - Feb 10, 2014 at 3:53 PM

        There’s a difference between being fast and being quick, and Steve Nash was definitely amongst the quickest guards in the NBA for years.

        He had an ability to shift directions very quickly with the ball in his hands. It threw defenders off because even the faster defenders couldn’t turn their hips in time to keep up with him.

        In a pure sprint or even in terms of first-step explosiveness, Nash was average as you say. But he was very quick with the ball. He could take players one-on-one even if his shot was just average for a guard.
        Chris Paul is the same way..I wouldn’t take him in a sprint against most NBA guards, but with the ball, he is really quick and can beat anyone off the dribble.

      • aboogy123456 - Feb 10, 2014 at 5:00 PM

        Nash was really good at stamina. He could play 40 minutes a game and not really lose that much energy, so even if you were faster or quicker than him, you would probably get tired guarding him.

  7. fearthehoody - Feb 10, 2014 at 3:32 PM

    It does not matter! Lakers are literally OLD NEWS! LA’s a Clipper town now, 2011 & counting

    • asimonetti88 - Feb 10, 2014 at 3:49 PM

      The Lakers TV ratings are down 37% this year and they’re still higher than Clippers ratings.

    • notfromaroundhere937 - Feb 10, 2014 at 5:23 PM

      The Clippers. That’s a good joke.

  8. 00maltliquor - Feb 10, 2014 at 3:41 PM

    KH, your article is full of sht. I LOVE the NBA, and basketball more then anyone on the planet (in my eyes), but wanting Nash to call it quits and see him be able to function past his 50’s and enjoy a regular life means you care more about him then “cap space”!

    Dude, there’s nothing left for him to prove. He’s had a great 18 career and is a 1st ballot H.O.F.er. He’s 40 years old, it’s not like he’s Greg Oden or Brandon Roy, who were taken and robbed waaaay to early in life, he has put in the work and has an excellent body of work. Sticking around past this season on this squad ain’t gonna prove anything. If he can stand on his own two at the very last game THIS season on his own terms then that’s the way to go out.

    Yeah I would like him gone to provide cap space to sign a player or two that you can actually count on to play and not just look good in a suit on the bench, but that’s because im a LAKER fan, not a Steve Nash fan. If Kobe or Artest or Tyson Chandler or Tayshaun Prince, Derrick Fisher etc. etc. etc. were in this position THEN I might have a different p.o.v. because those guys are some of my favorite players. Steve Nash wasn’t because he used to rip us up on the Suns!

    Bottom line though, Steve had a great career, has nothing left to prove and above all, is a phenomenal human being.I would really not like to read about him 5-10 years down the line on an article that the quality of his life is poor because he put in 2 meaningless years too many. Bet you anything you’re gonna block this too.

    • nathanielhagoodn - Feb 10, 2014 at 4:00 PM

      “Yeah I would like him gone to provide cap space to sign a player or two that you can actually count on to play and not just look good in a suit on the bench, but that’s because im a LAKER fan, not a Steve Nash fan. If Kobe or Artest or Tyson Chandler or Tayshaun Prince, Derrick Fisher etc. etc. etc. were in this position THEN I might have a different p.o.v. because those guys are some of my favorite players. Steve Nash wasn’t because he used to rip us up on the Suns!”

      So, what you’re saying…is if Kobe was truly on his last legs (he kinda is), and there are better players that the Lakers can sign, and the Lakers have to get cap space, while Kobe is rendered inefficient for the Lakers…that…you wouldn’t hope Kobe retire?

      Your whole comment on this post is blatant hypocrisy.

      “He used to beat the Lakers! He used to tear them up! So I hope he goes first!” Word? He gets less love than Kobe or Chandler or MWP because HE DID HIS JOB WHEN HE WAS PLAYING FOR ANOTHER TEAM?

      Come on, son.

      • 00maltliquor - Feb 10, 2014 at 6:09 PM

        You clearly didn’t get the bigger picture.

  9. gmsingh - Feb 10, 2014 at 3:50 PM

    Wouldn’t he be easier to celebrate is he actually completed the game? He’s like ex-Bull Rip Hamilton–he still has skills, but he’s off the court more than he’s on the court. If he averaged 5 minutes per game he’s still have trouble completing those 5 minutes. He made some passes in the Bulls game that few guys in the league could even execute, and then later he got a glancing blow to the knee from Kirk Hinrich (not a very big guy) and he was out for the rest of the game. How are Lakers fans supposed to celebrate this?

  10. rainmaker1982 - Feb 10, 2014 at 4:06 PM

    Kurt, I’m glad you’re not in charge if an NBA franchise. Nash has been hurting this team since the day he signed. Did you know what he was doing last offseason? He was playing soccer in some stupid league where he could’ve setback his injuries. Bet you didn’t know. In fact, this might be news to some Lakers fans.

    And look where’s he at now. Injured again. Teams don’t pay on your past achievements as you put. They pay for what you can do now and in the future.

    As Lakers fan, I’m embarrassed for the Franchise. Their quickly becoming the laughingstock of the NBA. It’s depressing.

    • Kurt Helin - Feb 10, 2014 at 6:05 PM

      We have run stories on his soccer exploits during the summer. Guys risk injury every time they workout or play in a pickup basketball game during the summer, soccer is no different.

      • sportsfan18 - Feb 11, 2014 at 12:29 AM

        Exactly. Many players play on courts like Rucker in NYC and places in L.A. etc…in the summer. There are videos all over Youtube and the net showing this.

        Durant, a yr or so back played flag football with college kids on a campus during the summer.

  11. mdpickles - Feb 10, 2014 at 4:32 PM

    The NBA could use a Coach Nash. Can’t be worse than JKidd.

  12. shanelsweet - Feb 10, 2014 at 5:00 PM

    Why would he walk away from almost $10 million? He doesn’t strike me as that eager to start his life after pro basketball.

    • casualcommenter - Feb 10, 2014 at 5:06 PM

      He’s dealing with marital problems and, as you said, he’s a guy who refuses to talk publicly about retirement.

      You could make a case that it’d be beneficial both for his own personal health and for the Lakers’ roster flexibility for him to retire, but it does seem like Nash is committed to trying to come back for another year.

      • sportsfan18 - Feb 11, 2014 at 12:32 AM

        I know Nash already has a divorce in his past. I’m sure that cost him quite a bit.

        I have no idea what he’s done with his money, but he’s ALREADY earned OVER $137 million dollars in his career.

        I certainly hope he doesn’t need to play next year for $9 plus million…

  13. lakerade - Feb 10, 2014 at 5:13 PM

    Do what you want, Nash, Mitch has accounted for it either way.

    Personally I’d like to see what he has left as he still has his guy as coach and we’ve never gotten more than the smallest taste of what he and Kobe could do together (last year’s switching of roles where Kobe played initiator while Nash played deadeye shooter was most intriguing).

  14. notfromaroundhere937 - Feb 10, 2014 at 5:21 PM

    I don’t value cap space, I value production. He’s been completely worthless as a Laker and the sooner he’s gone the better off the team will be.

    • sportsfan18 - Feb 11, 2014 at 12:37 AM

      I know he only played in 50 games last season ( a lot more than Kobe will play this season by the way, so about Kobe’s production vs. his money this season, well Nash’s production last season was better than Kobe’s this season).

      But when he did play last season during those 50 games, he shot .438% from 3 pt range, .922% from the free throw line and .497% from the field.

      Had he made only two more baskets instead of missing them, he would have shot 50% from the field.

      Just how difficult is it to have a season where one shoots 50% from the field, 40% from 3 and 90% from the line?

      Only 6 players have ever done it. 4 men (Durant, Nowitzki, Reggie Miller and Mark Price) have done it once.

      Mr. Larry Bird did it twice.

      Nash has done it 4 times. He just missed doing it last season for the Lakers at 37 yrs old.

      Yes, this year he hasn’t played really at all. But last yr, in those 50 games he did play, he produced while he was on the court.

  15. jammer73 - Feb 10, 2014 at 5:33 PM

    3 years too late.

  16. billtetley53 - Feb 10, 2014 at 6:05 PM

    One only has to type in KB2408 or lakerluver+ probasketballtalk to see the “education” he speaks of.

    Know nothing, over the top, homeristic fandom at its worst.

    Before you “try to educate others”, why dont you try learning something yourself?

    People dislike you on here, not because you tell your version of the “truth”, but because youre a 40 year old man that has the mindset of a 13 year old.

  17. thetooloftools - Feb 10, 2014 at 7:37 PM

    He needs to retire, but he won’t. He may be bought out.

  18. pfic15 - Feb 10, 2014 at 10:50 PM

    Trade him to OKC…

  19. polarbearsquares - Feb 10, 2014 at 11:13 PM

    Can you quote any Laker fans who want Steve Nash to retire? Or are all they anonymous?

    Every story I hear you quoting supposed Laker fans but where are they? Am I just supposed to take your word for it?

    What about the Laker fans who want him to retire because we think its the best thing for his health and not just our salary cap situation? What about Laker fans who don’t want him to retire? Have you ever talked to them?

    I’m just tired of you speaking for Laker fans without any proof. Stick to the facts. You speaking for all Laker fans is annoying, irritating, and most of all, inaccurate.

    There is no consensus on what Nash should do. To say there is, without any actual quotes from them, leaves me to believe you’re making this $#!t up.

  20. billtetley53 - Feb 11, 2014 at 3:55 PM

    sdlakerfan: Bravo! That moron knows so little about basketball its not even funny anymore.
    He didnt know that Jerry West was a great defensive player, i had to educate him about that.
    Im glad to see his fellow lakers fans finally starting to call him out on his inane blather. I shouldnt paint all of you fans with the same brush.
    Nash, a 2 time MVP…..and hes not all that..good lord is he painfully dumb..

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