Steve Nash Doubtful to Play for Los Angeles Lakers Again During 2013-14 Season

Steve Nash has likely played his last game for the Los Angeles Lakers this season, and maybe ever.

Asked about Nash's availability the rest of the way, Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni offered a melancholy response, per ESPN Los Angeles' Dave McMenamin:

Per the Los Angeles Times' Mike Bresnahan, D'Antoni did admit that Nash's status is impacted by factors other than health:

Despite what D'Antoni says, though, health has to be the driving force behind Nash's continued absence. Nerve issues have limited him to just 10 games this season, and 60 over the last two. 

Nash, if healthy, should also be part of the talent evaluation D'Antoni references. While on the wrong side of 40, he is under contract for $9.7 million next season. If he was healthy enough to play, the Lakers need him to play, if only to see how much he has left.

For whatever it's worth, Nash wouldn't rule out a return this year, according to the Los Angeles Daily News' Mark Medina:

Assuming Nash doesn't play this season, one has to imagine the Lakers explore using the stretch provision on him this summer. They're slated to have massive cap space over the offseason, and if Nash proves to be essentially dead weight, general manager Mitch Kupchak will want to increase Los Angeles' financial flexibility ahead of free agency.

At this point, even if Nash were to return, there's little he can do to sway Los Angeles' decision. The Lakers have only 23 games remaining, which is hardly enough time for Nash to reverse the stigma that's been dogging him since last season.

Though bordering on tragic, this isn't completely unexpected. 

In the first episode of Grantland's The Finish Line, which details Nash's latest comeback attempt, the point guard openly lamented his swift and unforgiving decline.

As Nash, himself, puts it in t...

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