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Mitch Kupchak on prospect of Steve Nash retiring after this season: ‘It’s his decision’

Feb 22, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT

Lakers Steve Nash smiles as he plays in the Lakers season opening game against  Dallas Reuters

Steve Nash hasn’t lost the deep competitive fire he feels for the game of basketball, but his body has begun to betray him to the point that the ability to extend his career beyond this season has become a legitimate concern.

Nash has said that his recent string of injuries and the constant rehabilitation they require can have him ready to play at full strength maybe once a week, but not much more beyond that.

He also acknowledged that in the NBA, that simply isn’t good enough.

Nash will have a tough decision to make this summer, to see if he wants to try to get his body ready for one more season playing as close to his peak performance as his age of 40 years will allow.

Whatever he decides, it won’t come with it any pressure from the Lakers front office.

From Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News:

Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak noted that “obviously it’s going to be a challenge” on whether Nash can return and stay on the court. But does that mean this will mark Nash’s last season with the Lakers?

“At the appropriate time, I’ll sit down and talk about it. But it’s really his decision,” Kupchak said of Nash. “He’s under contract to play basketball next year. There’s a lot of moving pieces in something lke this. For us to sit down and influence one way or the other is not ethical. It’s really his decision.”

The Lakers don’t benefit from Nash retiring before his contract is up at this point, unless he becomes physically unable to play at all — determined by doctors, and signed off by the league office.

The other point that Kupchak made was that the Lakers aren’t an organization interested in making deals to dump salary. Obviously they’d rather not go through another season with Nash like this one, but his contract number, especially next year when so much cap space will be available, is really of minimal concern.

  1. sportsfan18 - Feb 22, 2014 at 11:13 AM

    Sucks for a HOF player to go out like this, in any sport…

    • adoombray - Feb 23, 2014 at 8:24 AM

      no, it doesn’t and we should stop promoting the reality tv notion that it’s so hard to do anything in life. Nash has had a really long, successful, and lucrative career, I really am not going to feel any pity for him because he chose to cash another check in Laker purple and pout in front of the cameras for Bill Simmons.

      Nash just joins the long list of Suns players that break down once they leave that organization. Everyone saw it coming a mile away except for Lakers fans and people who didn’t actually watch Nash his last two seasons in Phoenix – where his body was breaking down and all he really did was run the pick n roll with Gortat over and over at a slower pace each time.

  2. mnsadsportsfan - Feb 22, 2014 at 11:20 AM

    One of my favorites to watch. I wish those phx teams had more depth when he played. Its time though its been time to retire

    • patsfan92 - Feb 22, 2014 at 7:57 PM

      they were fine, they just didnt have a coach that preached defense as much as offense

  3. Professor Fate - Feb 22, 2014 at 11:35 AM

    Here’s yet another reason why players want to play for the Lakers, despite some of the crap you read on sites like this from fans of other teams: The Lakers are an organization that respects and values its players. If you are willing to be team-oriented, like Nash, instead of self-centered (like a certain center playing out his contract last year whose name I refuse to mention in the same sentence with Nash) then this team will honor its commitment to you and allow you to make the decision on whether or not you want to stay.

    • davidly - Feb 22, 2014 at 12:12 PM

      Willing to be team oriented? That’s all it takes? Well, there was a different big guy (before last season) who happily came off the bench and contributed quite well, and when Bynum went down, he started in his place for a total of 35 games during which period the team continued to play good team ball. When Bynum returned, that player returned to coming off the bench.

      He never complained. He was the epitome of team oriented. You might say he was the polar opposite of locker room cancer. Oh, and by the way, he won the 6th MotY award that season. Anyway, LA sent him packing and he hasn’t been the same since.

      • envykz - Feb 22, 2014 at 12:41 PM

        Please.. You don’t know anything about Odom. I read everything and I still read anything related to odom and the lakers. Do you know what happened to Odom that year and the year before ? A lot of psychological trauma. Anyway he didn’t get dumped to the mavs, he quit on the lakers.

      • asimonetti88 - Feb 22, 2014 at 12:55 PM

        Maybe they “sent him packing” because they had the good sense to know he wasn’t going to be the same anymore.

      • davidly - Feb 22, 2014 at 1:00 PM

        Well, I’m not singling out the organization for brutal treatment of its players — merely pointing out that the assertion made to which I was replying is bs.

        And if you’re right, that spidey-sense seemed to have died regarding Steverino.

        As far as Odom fate goes, it is remarkable the sorts of things that lead to one’s downfall. Feeling betrayed at a time when you could use loyalty more than any other would certainly be one of them.

      • casualcommenter - Feb 22, 2014 at 1:04 PM

        “Maybe they “sent him packing” because they had the good sense to know he wasn’t going to be the same anymore.”

        Then the Lakers aren’t uniquely altruistic. They make good business decisions without any regard to “loyalty.” That’s my point in the comment below, and davidly’s point in his comment.

        “The Lakers are a family who take care of their own.” – Laker fans on one article
        “A team is willing to trade a valuable draft pick for Pau Gasol, who wants to stay with the Lakers but is getting old? DO IT MITCH!” – Laker fans on the next article

      • davidly - Feb 22, 2014 at 2:48 PM

        Yes, there was indeed a lot of psychological trauma. That’s the point. Getting dumped by his team after his best season didn’t help. That’s why he flipped out and demanded a trade after the first one fell through. My only point is: the Lakers are not some über-special loyalty org. They do business like anyone else.

        Do try to keep up with the conversation.

      • musician0785 - Feb 22, 2014 at 3:22 PM

        They traded odom for CHRIS FREAKING PAUL, and he threw a hissy fit a demanded a trade….Odom ASKED to be traded….at least get your facts straight

      • davidly - Feb 22, 2014 at 3:58 PM

        Is anyone capable of reading the comment I was responding to? Nowhere do I justify or criticize the actions of the team or player. I simply stated fact to contradict the fantasy I was responding to.

        Learn to read and contextualize before you criticize someone about the accuracy of fact, little man.

    • casualcommenter - Feb 22, 2014 at 1:00 PM

      ….The way NBA contracts work, the Lakers don’t have a choice.

      The money they gave Nash in his contract was guaranteed. It’s Nash’s decision whether or not to retire, just like it’s KG’s decision whether or not to retire in Brooklyn, and Amar’e decision whether or not to retire in the New York, etc. The Lakers aren’t being uniquely altruistic here.

      If he’s able to play and wants to play, the Lakers are contractually obligated to pay him. If it was possible to force bad players to retire in order to escape bad contracts, teams wouldn’t have demanded the amnesty provision in the most recent CBA agreement.

      • adoombray - Feb 23, 2014 at 8:38 AM

        Yeah, heh…

        “then this team will honor its committment to you” or it would be violating the collective bargaining agreement and the law too i would imagine by not paying a guy what he is guaranteed to be paid.

        Oh, and to the OP, come on man, that sanctimonious “i wont mention his name in the same breath” crap is for church or funerals not an internet messageboard. Laker fans take themselves way too seriously sometimes

      • Professor Fate - Feb 23, 2014 at 11:46 AM

        The center-who-shall-remain-nameless doesn’t deserve to have his name mentioned in the same sentence with a two-time MVP. That’s fact, not sanctimony. Fans who hate the Lakers never miss a chance to dump on Lakers articles.

    • adoombray - Feb 23, 2014 at 8:30 AM

      The Lakers are not the same organization now that Dr. Buss is dead. Nash is a reason why players DON’T want to play for the Lakers: a bad signing by Fredo for a bad coaching hiring with bad bench depth because of bad roster management.

      The best center in basketball said no thanks, this place is too crazy for me. nuff said

  4. shanelsweet - Feb 22, 2014 at 1:02 PM

    If you want to guess what’s going to happen to Nash, take a look at what just happened to Antwon Jamison. It’ll be the trade then release or a buyout for Steve next year. That’s the new way.

    • casualcommenter - Feb 22, 2014 at 1:06 PM

      Exactly. People need to read up on the CBA. NBA contracts are guaranteed.

      Mitch is saying, “Nash will play if he wants to play, and we can’t force him to retire.” That’s not him being super nice. That’s him understanding the CBA.

      Teams can’t force players to retire due to injuries. Otherwise, the Knicks would have forced Amar’e to retire by now. You give a guy a guaranteed contract, and you’re obligated to pay him as long as he can suit up for at least a few games. Period.

      • sellahh - Feb 22, 2014 at 1:22 PM

        That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever read. I read a ‘how to improve the NBA thread’ every other 2 days. Every one of them includes ‘no guaranteed contracts in the NBA, GO THE NFL route”.
        Well, guess what, CBA never restricts you to sign only guaranteed contracts. Look at Bynum. It’s just that nobody of note will ever sign those contracts. But honestly, crying for “guaranteed contracts” makes me laugh. Out of pity for people who post that.

  5. sportsnut101 - Feb 22, 2014 at 1:12 PM

    no he needs the money for his kids from the divorce just stay and collect the 9 mill
    im sure the lakers will offer buyout if they feel they need the cap space i would offer him 5.5 not to come back if i knew i could sign a player whos way better

    • adoombray - Feb 23, 2014 at 8:40 AM

      Steve Nash’s contracts have paid out approx 146 million during his career. He does not need the money. He likes the attention and the spotlight that’s why he’s having himself filmed for that brutally awful “reality” series.

  6. ProBasketballPundit - Feb 22, 2014 at 2:54 PM

    That’s funny; I thought it was my decision.

  7. mackcarrington - Feb 22, 2014 at 3:31 PM

    I’m being “half sarcastic” when I suggest that maybe The league should allow players over 38 years old to take steroids.
    It would extend their careers and let teams get their money’s worth out of players at the end of their careers. it would also allow fans to see their favorites on the court just a little longer.

  8. billtetley53 - Feb 22, 2014 at 4:49 PM

    When was Lamar Odom ever traded for Chris Paul, musician? Chris Paul was traded to the Clippers, not they Lakers.

    Oh, you mean the transaction that was nullified in the best interests of the league.

    A rescinded trade, is no longer a trade.

    That you ate still crying a out that is not surprising, you cry about a lot of things.
    You cry more than my 2 year old nephew.

    Somebody change musicians diaper please.

    • asimonetti88 - Feb 22, 2014 at 9:25 PM

    • musician0785 - Feb 23, 2014 at 2:38 AM

      click the link above…

    • musician0785 - Feb 23, 2014 at 2:43 AM

      Are you even following the conversation? The guy tried to make it seem like the Lakers just dumped Odom when the truth was he was a piece of the Paul trade, a trade that both GM’s agreed to. Whether the trade went through or not is inconsequential to the point….Odom was upset he was almost traded and demanded a trade…..Your post however, tries to make it seem like I was advocating that somehow veto was unfair..etc…Im starting to think you cant even follow basic conversation….its funny no matter what I say you call it crying, you cant even form more than 1 counter argument to anything…..

  9. billtetley53 - Feb 22, 2014 at 4:54 PM

    Professor( boy, that’s an oxymoron, considering your postings)

    Howard was asked to stay to the tune of a max contact, he chose not to stay. Don’t go acting like the Lakers didn’t want him there…badly.
    He chose to leave a toxic situation, and he made the correct choice.

    You’re trying to paint it as if the Lakers showed him the door, sorry, we aren’t as ignorant as you and deal in reality.(non lakers fans that is).

  10. billtetley53 - Feb 23, 2014 at 3:21 PM

    Someone get musician his baa baa, he’s crying again.

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