The Los Angeles Lakers got more unfortunate news regarding Steve Nash today as it is being reported he will be shut down for the 2014-15 season with a back injury. Nash was entering the final season of a three year deal with the Lakers, and he has been quoted as saying this season was probably going to be his last in the NBA. He has played in just 65 of a possible 164 games for the Lakers the past two seasons due to injuries.
Apr 8, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Steve Nash (10) acknowledges the crowd after passing Mark Jackson (not pictured) to move into third on the all-time NBA assist list in the second quarter against the Houston Rockets at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Overall it’s been a disappointing tenure for Nash as a Laker. In typical Lakers fashion, the team spent big and signed Nash to a large deal that was probably more than he was worth at his advanced age to try and get a few more years out of one of the best assist men in NBA history. The hope was he could run an offense that would keep Kobe Bryant productive and allow the Lakers to return to being a contender in the Western Conference.
Unfortunately, Nash’s age appears to have caught up to him, and it’s hard to believe we will see him in another NBA game. This is the final year of his deal with the Lakers, and the high salary he is being paid could be better utilized elsewhere. Unless he is willing to take a large pay cut, the Lakers are probably done with him. The only chance he signs with another team would be if he is determined not to go out like this and wants one more shot at getting healthy and appearing in some games.
Nash will go down as one of the best guards in NBA history, and he will always be one of the best NBA players to come out of the West Coast Conference. Nash led Santa Clara to one of the best eras in program history highlighted by three WCC Championships, two WCC Player of the Year awards, and two NCAA Tournament wins. Between him and David Stockton, it has been a heck of a run in recent decades for the WCC to always have an elite guard playing in the NBA.
Apr 12, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Matthew Dellavedova (8) makes a three-point shot in the fourth quarter against the Boston Celtics at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Next up in that legacy could be Patty Mills of the San Antonio Spurts and Matthew Dellavedova of the Cleveland Cavaliers, both products of Saint Mary’s. Mills may not develop into anything more than a role player, so Dellavedova may be the conference’s best chance. After a humble start to his career in the NBA, Dellavedova played his way into a key role as part of a struggling Cavaliers team. Now that they are a star studded franchise with the additions of Lebron James and Kevin Love, he could be in line to get tons of assists helping run this dynamic offense.
It would be appropriate if the same year we see the end of Nash’s career, Dellavedova assumes the mantle of great WCC guards in the NBA by taking the next step along with the Cavaliers.