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NBA -- Nash gets one "last" shot at a ring


PhilBoxing.com




LOS ANGELES -- Armed with the option to waive Steve Nash before September, the Los Angeles Lakers chose to keep the veteran point guard for the final year of the three-year $27 million deal he inked in 2012.

According to the L.A. Times, if the Lakers had waived Nash, it would have allowed the team to "stretch his salary for three years at $3.2 million annually," giving the purple-and-gold more salary cap flexibility.

The return, however, is likely to be his last as a Laker and in the league as Nash announced that the 2014-2015 NBA season would be his final season.

After 18 NBA seasons and 38,069 regular season minutes played, the wear and tear is taking a brutal toll on his 40-year old body. No thanks to a slew of injuries, Nash has appeared in only 65 of the Lakers' 164 regular season games in two years.

Naturally, his numbers have declined. Nash had just 6.8 points and 5.7 assists last season, a far cry from his heydays in 2005 and 2006 when he won back-to-back- MVP awards and averaged a combined 18.5 points and 11 assists as the Suns' court general.

Nash recognizes his decline and told Bill Plaschke of the L.A. Times, "I'm not as efficient as I've played in the past. This is not quite what I'm capable of."

A free agent in 2012, Nash was heavily recruited by the Dallas Mavericks, New York Knicks and the Toronto Raptors, who offered him a three-year package for $36 million, reports the New York Times.

In the end, the 8-time All-Star chose the Lakers with the hope of winning a coveted ring and raising a championship banner. But it will be an uphill battle as the Lakers are undergoing significant change. In the off season, the Lakers hired new coach Byron Scott and revamped their line-up after the departure of free agent Pau Gasol. 36 year old Kobe Bryant will be back after two successive injury plagued seasons. Now, the Lakers need to find a way to make the pieces fit or the Larry O’Brien trophy will continue to elude Nash. (KB)


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Keith Butler.


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