Is Steve Nash’s Contract Key to LA Lakers Landing Another Star?

The Los Angeles Lakers roster may look radically different next season, but there will be at least one constant in addition to franchise face Kobe Bryant. According to the Los Angeles Times' Mike Bresnahan, the organization is planning to keep veteran point guard Steve Nash:

For financial reasons, the Lakers currently plan to keep him next season, The Times has learned, eating the remainder of his contract ($9.7 million) in one swoop instead of waiving him and spreading the money out over three years.

That's consistent with what Bleacher Report's Kevin Ding indicated nearly a month ago, writing, "The Lakers would rather be done with the entirety of Nash's $9.7 million salary next year if they're not planning on spending much next season, as opposed to stretching that money across the next three seasons if they waive him and suffer future burdens."

The news will no doubt provoke a mixed reaction from Lakers fans. This may be the best thing for the franchise's long-term star power, but it could also mean a fairly subdued summer, a failure to rebuild rapidly. 

While Nash has certainly endeared himself to fans leaguewide, his contributions to the Lakers have fallen far short of expectations. The 40-year-old superstar has played in 12 games this season and in just 50 games a season ago. When actually playing, he's remained a formidable shooter, but his use value has diminished without the ball constantly in his hands.

He averaged just 6.7 assists last season, the fewest since 1999-00.

Nevertheless, another season with Nash in purple and gold may be a small price to pay for a legitimate shot at someone of Kevin Love's ilk.

Cutting Nash would leave the Lakers with a cap hit of a little over $3 million in each of the next three seasons, including in 2015 when Love becomes a free agent. The only certifiable superstar who will be available in 2014 is Carmelo Anthony, a...

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