Is Los Angeles Lakers’ Reliance on Steve Nash a Risky Proposition?

This year was supposed to be different for Steve Nash. This was supposed to be the year that Nash finally came through for the Los Angeles Lakers, if only because this would be his last chance. The 40-year-old had already insisted that the 2014-15 season would be his finale in the NBA.

"I think this is my last season," Nash told Sport TV over the summer (h/t SB Nation's Jason Patt). "But I still love to play, practice and work on my game. I'm going to spend hopefully many many years living this life without basketball. It'll be nice to play one more year."

The Lakers, to their credit, afforded him that opportunity, even if doing so was something of a risk. They certainly didn't have to—not after the two disappointing, injury-plagued campaigns they'd seen from Nash; not with young, hungry guards like Jeremy Lin and rookie Jordan Clarkson prepared to contribute at the point; and not with Kobe Bryant ready to resume the lion's share of the Lakers' playmaking duties.

They could've cut their losses if they wanted to do so. They could've paid Steve Nash the $9.7 million he had left on his contract and spread out the resulting cap hit over three years by way of the stretch provision in the NBA's collective bargaining agreement.

Nash became aware of that possibility during the 2013-14 season and even seemed to expect the Lakers to send him on his weary way into retirement.

Instead, the Lakers hung on to Nash, choosing instead to cast their lot with a future Hall of Famer in their attempt to return to relevance after an abysmal 27-55 finish in 2013-14.

So far, the results have been...well, mixed, just as they figured to be. 

Nash, for his part, has said and done all of the right things. Rather than wallow in the self-pity and doubt that might otherwise overwhelm a man of Nash's advancing age and declining physical condition, the two-time MVP t...

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