Steve Nash’s Absence May Irk Lakers Fans Now but Leave Them Smiling Later

LOS ANGELES — It's July 2016, and a smiling, comfortable and confident Kevin Durant appears at his introductory news conference. He holds up the purple-and-gold No. 35 jersey that he says would be an absolute honor someday to fall into the illustrious line of retired numbers after No. 32 Magic Johnson, No. 33 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and No. 34 Shaquille O'Neal.

Durant says, yes, he did consult with Kobe Bryant during the Los Angeles Lakers' free-agent recruiting pitch—and Bryant passionately delivered the company line that the Lakers treat their superstars in a special way.

But then Durant pauses and adds that he spoke to someone else who was even more persuasive to that end.

One of the absolute worst Lakers superstars of them all with regard to what he actually gave the organization, Steve Nash explained to his friend Durant how the Lakers treated him in a completely first-class way despite the crushing and repeated disappointments he brought to the franchise...and you can tell a lot more about how people treat you in tough times than in glorious ones.

There will be no happy ending to Nash's legendary career after he was ruled out for his 19th NBA season before the campaign could even begin.

Somewhere out there, though—even if it is somewhere over the rainbow given how it is such a dream scenario for the Lakers—it remains possible that a happier twist exists for Nash as a Laker.

Ulterior motives are not why the Lakers are trying to do the right thing and let Nash skip team activities this season after he was sidelined with ongoing back issues, but that attitude does dovetail with larger benefit.

Lakers president Jeanie Buss believes in positive energy and karmic turns, and maybe, just maybe, the franchise will reap some reward down the line for the respect being accorded Nash, one of the game's all-time greats.

Nash is, make no mistake, goin...

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