Despite having a full offseason in which he trained without any limitations, Steve Nash’s health worsened enough that the Lakers have declared him out for the entire 2014-15 season.
Nash had stayed sidelined for the past week and a half because of a recurring nerve damage in his back that kept him out for all but 15 games last season. The 40-year-old point guard has become riddled with injuries ever since fracturing his left leg two years ago in only his second game with the Lakers. Meanwhile, the Lakers will have to stomach his $9.8 million salary in the final year of his guaranteed contract.
“Being on the court this season has been my top priority and it is disappointing to not be able to do that right now,” Nash said in a statement. “I work very hard to stay healthy and unfortunately my recent setback makes performing at full capacity difficult. I will continue to support my team during this period of rest, and will focus on my long-term health.”
The Lakers somewhat prepared for such a scenario by acquiring Jeremy Lin from Houston, drafting Jordan Clarkson and signing veteran Ronnie Price. But the Lakers and Nash expressed some cautious optimism he could some at least some version of his former self that collected two NBA MVPs and climbed to third place on the league’s all-time assists list. He went through the first two weeks of training camp moving with fluidity without any setbacks. In the Lakers’ preseason opener against Denver, Nash also posted 11 points and five assists.
But Nash removed himself in the Lakers’ third preseason game, coach Byron Scott reporting at the time that Nash “just didn’t feel right.” Nash neither played nor practiced in a game ever since.
Nash is not traveling with the Lakers for their preseason game on Friday against the Sacramento Kings. But the Lakers are currently deferring to Nash as to whether he wants to still stay with the team or officially retire. But this marks the last chapter of a depressing story that entailed the Lakers signing Nash to a three-year, $28 million in a trade with Phoenix two years ago, costing them both two first and two second-round picks.
“As disappointed as we are for ourselves and our fans, we’re even more disappointed for Steve,” Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said in a statement. “We know how hard he’s worked the last two years to try to get his body right for the rigors of the NBA, and how badly he wants to play, but unfortunately he simply hasn’t been able to get there up to this point in time. Steve has been a consummate professional, and we greatly appreciate his efforts.”
Bleacher Report first reported the news on Nash.