The Los Angeles Lakers are going to look very different in two years. Regardless of whether they are able to sign a few big name stars or not, the ages of the franchise’s best players make big changes inevitable.
With Kobe Bryant still out for the foreseeable future and the team seemingly being fortunate just to be 2-2 thus far, understandably the attention has veered away from present day and onto what the future holds.
Steve Nash, 39, is quickly approaching the end of his NBA career. When the Lakers traded for him last year they knew the risk involved – Nash had struggled with back problems throughout his entire stint with the Phoenix Suns. Unfortunately, two games into the 2012-13 regular season, the former two-time MVP went down with an injury that nobody saw coming: a leg fracture. He sat out a large chunk of last year as a result, and even when he returned, he was a shell of his former self. Now, a full season later, he’s still struggling.
"I'm still fighting things that happened because of the broken leg," Nash told reporters recently. "I still feel that almost every day, all over. It's not just in that spot. The whole system in a way is different now, it's just a little bit more sensitive.”
When the Lakers acquired Nash, they had visions of a Showtime-esque team featuring him running the point. That dream is now officially dead. At this point, it’s just about Nash being somewhat productive.
A month ago, before the regular season began, Fox Sports reported that the Lakers were considering making a ‘substantial’ trade for a point guard because they felt like they could only get 15-20 minutes of play out of Nash per game. The obvious problem with that rumor was that: a.) the Lakers have nobody to trade for a good point guard, and b.) there aren’t any good point guards that anyone is willing to part ways with.
Surely enough, nothing happened. And while there are some murmurs about Nash landing with the Toronto Raptors this week, there is also pretty much no shot of that happening. The Raptors wouldn’t give L.A. anything worth taking, and there is really no incentive for them to bring on a massive, bloated salary that will offer them very little in the way of production.
They may want to replace him, but for better or worse, at least this year, the Lakers are stuck with Nash.