Keeping Steve Nash Is the Right Strategic Decision for Lakers

When Labor Day weekend passed, Steve Nash was still a member of the Los Angeles Lakers. The team chose not to use a stretch provision that would have allowed it to waive the future Hall of Famer and amortize his $9.7 million salary.

As Eric Pincus for the Los Angeles Times noted, “Had the Lakers waived Nash prior to September, they would have been able to stretch his salary over the next three years at around $3.2 million annually.”

It was the right decision from a current, practical purpose and from a longer-term, strategic way of thinking as well.

For now, the Lakers need all bodies on board. Apart from Nash, the point guard corps include only Jeremy Lin and rookie Jordan Clarkson, a second-round draft pick who is untested in the NBA apart from an impressive showing during NBA Summer League action.

Perhaps Nash can rediscover the fountain of youth and turn back the tide of crippling injuries. After being acquired from the Phoenix Suns two seasons ago, the point guard suffered a fractured leg that led to an escalating series of nerve and back issues.

Last season, Nash appeared in only 15 games, averaging 6.8 points and 5.7 assists. Now, after a summer of training and playing soccer, he appears to finally have his health back—precarious as it is—and is ready to do some serious balling again.

In fact, according to Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News, new head coach Byron Scott has the two-time MVP penciled into a preliminary starting lineup:

Scott will spend training camp figuring out his starting lineup, which he says will currently feature Nash, Bryant, Carlos Boozer and Jordan Hill. He is leaning toward starting Wesley Johnson at small forward because of his defensive potential and relying on Nick Young’s prolific scoring off the bench.

All that could change in a heartbeat, of course. Nash wasn’t a fan o...

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