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Steve Nash talks about stretch provision motivating his recovery (VIDEO)

Feb 28, 2014, 2:24 PM EST

You don’t get to be an NBA player, a professional athlete at an elite level, without some ego.

Steve Nash has one. Certainly not one that is out of control, but he knows his NBA career is winding down and he wants to leave the game on his terms. He wants to contribute.

In this second part of a Grantland documentary (part one is here) Nash talks about his road back from injury this season and how when he learned about the stretch provision of the new CBA — the Lakers could waive him this summer and rather than have his $9.7 million on the books next season the cap hit would be stretched out over three seasons, a third at a time). Nash talks about how learning that and knowing the Lakers were (and are) considering it pushed him in his recovery to take some chances to get back on the court.

There were some Lakers’ fans who selfishly hoped Nash wouldn’t return leading to a medical retirement, saving the Lakers any of Nash’s money on the cap next year. Was Nash thinking about himself and his desire to get back on the court? Yes. As he should have been. He doesn’t owe the Lakers franchise anything, they owe him because they agreed to the contract and even traded a first round pick next year to get him. Nash was never the most athletic guy in the league, he made himself into an MVP because of a serious drive — he doesn’t wear it on his sleeve like Kobe Bryant does, but Nash is as motivated and disciplined a player as you will see. The same fans that applaud what Kobe has done and continues to do to get back on the court should recognize that same drive in Nash and appreciate it.

The current feeling around Staples is the Lakers may not use the stretch provision on Nash — they are rebuilding, better to bite the bullet and just have him on the books for one season (likely another down season, depending on off-season moves) rather than keeping him on the books for years. The Lakers real target is the summer of 2015, this way Nash is off the books by then (and is a potential trade chip).

  1. chargerdillon - Feb 28, 2014 at 3:04 PM

    Please do the NBA, the Lakers, and your family a favor and retire while you’re already an old and hobbled athlete. You have nothing to play for. There will be no championships, there will be no send off. You came as damaged goods and left and damaged goods.

    Hell of a player in his prime, time to let those days go and move on.

  2. jimfix - Feb 28, 2014 at 3:12 PM

    Why was there so much uproar about Kobe’s “terrible contract” but no one seems to care that Nash has basically stolen money the past couple of years. The trade for him was way worse than the Howard trade or Kobe’s contract.

    • therealhtj - Feb 28, 2014 at 4:21 PM

      Kobe and Nash are both overpaid by about the same amount.

      • sportsfan18 - Feb 28, 2014 at 4:47 PM

        I agree with that…but Kobe keeps a lot more money away from others so when they try to rebuild, they will only have $36 million to spend on the roster around him the next two seasons instead of having say $48 million to spend on players around him.

        So while BOTH Kobe and Nash are overpaid, Nash isn’t keeping many other solid contributing players from joining the team the way Kobe’s contract will.

        I mean, ANY team, fan base and G.M. would love to have $48 million to spend on the roster for all those not named Kobe than to only have $36 million to spend on the roster.

        The roster compiled on $36 million will have LESS talent than one had $48 million spent on it..

  3. billtetley53 - Feb 28, 2014 at 3:34 PM

    Who’s fault is it for trading for him and giving him that $? By your line of thinking, Kobe just stole $30 mil this year.

    The trade for Nash is the type of shortsighted moves that has put this franchise where its at. Giving up a #1 pick in the process.

    I railed on Kobe because he claims its all about titles, when it was shown he’s all about the $.

  4. thedano - Feb 28, 2014 at 3:46 PM

    Every article on this site about Nash, rips Laker fans for wanting Nash to step away to save cap money for next year. I think that’s the minority of Laker fans calling for that.

    Cap money for this upcoming offseason isn’t as huge of a deal in Lakerland as after next season. I think if Nash can’t stay healthy they should use the stretch provision and call it a career. He was great, but just can’t get his leg right after last season. Players hold out for more money in sports if they feel under paid. Yes LAL gave him a contract and traded for him. But it just didn’t work out. There isn’t enough on the free agent market this offseason to worry about. After next year things get more interesting.

    I just think every article about Nash paints a picture of horrible Laker fans regarding Nash. I don’t have evil feelings about Nash. I understand why they made the move to get him……it was a gamble. Gambles don’t always pay off. If he was healthy, or able to even get healthy at this point……then I have no problem honoring the contract. They put provisions into the CBAs for a reason. For reasons like this. Great career Steve. Thanks for the memories. The Lakers have moved on to rebuild mode.

  5. pbtunpaidwriter - Feb 28, 2014 at 4:14 PM

    He came back for a game (albeit against the Sixers) and scored 19 on his 40th birthday.

    He’s still Nashty and I wouldn’t give up on him.

  6. genericcommenter - Feb 28, 2014 at 10:47 PM

    A player can’t win here. Every guy is either too lazy and doesn’t love the game enough or is too dedicated and loves basketball too much. If a player doesn’t make the NBA his entire life, he’s a psychotic loser. When he does, then he’s selfish.

    Whatever.

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