5:06pm: A source close to Nash who’s familiar with the point guard’s thinking tells Medina that the retirement chatter is “premature.”
3:39pm: Mike D’Antoni told reporters, including Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News (Twitter link), that Nash hasn’t mulled retirement.
10:08am: Only a week and a half ago, Steve Nash expressed his intent to play out the remaining two years on his contract, in spite of a number of nagging injuries. However, according to longtime NBA writer Peter Vecsey (Twitter link), those health problems, including nerve root irritation, may be forcing Nash to reconsider. Vecsey hears that the veteran point guard is “seriously considering calling it a career.”
Given Nash’s recent comments about attempting to play this season and next, I’d be surprised if his retirement was imminent. He’s expected to be re-evaluated later this month, and for now, the Lakers are waiting on his return rather than exploring alternatives at point guard. Still, if the timetable for Nash’s return gets extended, or he suffers a setback, both he and the team will have to seriously weigh all their options.
As Vecsey’s tweet suggests, if Nash were to retire, he’d still get paid and the Lakers would receive cap relief next season. Nash is owed about $9.7MM for 2014/15, so if he’s cut anytime between now and August 31st, 2014, that amount can be stretched over three years. The Lakers’ cap hit in that scenario would be about $3.23MM annually from ’14/15 through ’16/17.
It’s also possible that the Lakers could receive even more cap relief if NBA doctors were to rule Nash medically unable to play for the next two years. Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times explained that potential scenario last week, noting that medical retirements are rare in the NBA.