Point guard Steve Nash has effectively been a bust ever since joining the Los Angeles Lakers. Over the past two years, Nash has missed the equivalent of nearly 1 1/4 complete seasons, appearing in only 65 games for the franchise. His 2013-14 season was particularly frustrating, as Nash played in only 15 contests, averaging 6.8 points per game – the fewest of his career outside of his rookie season nearly 20 years ago.
Nash is not only still injured but will miss the entire 2014-15 season. Aging point guard that’s injured for the entire season with an expensive $9.7M salary this year – what’s not to like? Despite that undesirable combination, the Lakers are still hoping to find a team willing to take him off of their hands. Per ESPN’s Marc Stein, the Lakers will explore the trade market for Nash in the hopes of making a deal.
At first glance, it seems crazy. The obvious draw here, though, is Nash’s expiring contract. He is currently in the third and final year of his three-year deal with the Lakers and after this season, his salary comes off the books. If a team trades for him, it will be one that wants to free up some cap space for next season. There’s little chance Nash will play again so any team that trades for him isn’t likely to ever see him play a single game in their uniform – or any other for that matter, since Nash is likely headed for retirement.
It’s difficult to envision the Lakers getting much in return if they can swing a trade. Cap space is desirable, but not nearly as valuable as it was this past summer when the likes of LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Carmelo Anthony, among others, were available free agents. There’s also the matter of Nash’s salary for the remainder of this year. If a deal is struck, teams may wait until closer to the trade deadline in February when Nash is owed less money.
It’s unclear what Los Angeles would want in return, but they also won’t want to add a lot of salary unless they can land a star in return. The Lakers are trying to keep cap space open in the hopes of landing a player such as Kevin Love next summer. The best case scenario for Los Angeles is probably a trade for a draft pick or young players.
Another option, too, would be to put together a trade package, involving other players. Teams may be reluctant to make a trade solely for Nash’s expiring contract, but they could be more amenable to a deal involving other players.
Moving Nash, in the end, may prove to be difficult. Of further intrigue is that Lakers coach Byron Scott can’t even get Nash to return a phone call. Los Angeles, according to the L.A. Daily News, would like him to mentor the team’s younger guards. The point guard has not even called his coach back to discuss such an arrangement and isn’t around the team.
Even if the Lakers can work out a trade, one thing is clear – the Steve Nash era in Los Angeles was definitely a failed experiment.