Lakers Rumors: Los Angeles Should Jump at Opportunity to Trade Steve Nash

Andrew GouldFeatured ColumnistNovember 8, 2013

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 1: Steve Nash #10 of the Los Angeles Lakers shoots during a game against the San Antonio Spurs on November 1, 2013 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2013 NBAE (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
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If the Los Angeles Lakers can find a second party willing to take Steve Nash, they should buy the veteran point guard a plane ticket immediately.

Seems harsh for a highly entertaining point guard who orchestrated some of the NBA's best offenses in Phoenix during a Hall of Fame career, but Nash is no longer a spry floor general. At 39 years old, he is shooting 28 percent from the floor through five games, averaging just 5.2 assists per game during the young season.

Yet name recognition alone might cause some teams to inquire about Nash. According to HoopsWorld's Alex Kennedy, Nash could be traded this season, with the Toronto Raptors possibly arranging a reunion to his home country.

Nash is owed $19 million over the next two years, which makes him a lofty investment at this point in his career. That leaves us guessing whether the Lakers would take Toronto's unwanted contracts (Steve Novak and Landry Fields come to mind) or possibly steal Kyle Lowry. Or make a move for Rudy Gay.

If the Lakers can get anything for Nash, it's time to move on. Nash, who has struggled to see the court due to nerve damage in his previously broken leg, has looked like a shell of himself during limited playing time. Once admired as someone in amazing enough shape to defy age, Nash has succumbed to Father Time.

Basketball-Reference helps display Nash's downfall in a small sample size. His 8.0 PER is half of last year's rate, which has also slid from past marks. While on the court the Lakers have scored 89 points per 100 possessions. His career offensive rating resides at 118.

No longer is Nash gliding off a pick a heart-pounding event for defenders. ESPN's Ethan Sherwood Strauss (formerly a Bleacher Report NBA Lead Writer) captured the depressing nature of watching Nash struggle with fellow veteran Pau Gasol.

For Toronto, trading for Nash would largely be a PR maneuver to bring the Canadian star home. At best, it earns the team the right to lose to the Miami Heat or Indiana Pacers in the postseason's first round

For Los Angeles, it gives the team a chance to start the rebuilding process, which the team will hope to expedite by shredding payroll enough to attract one of this offseason's star free agents. Flipping Nash for expiring contracts would certainly help on that front.

The Lakers have started at 3-3 with surprising victories over the Los Angeles Clippers and Houston Rockets, so all hope is not lost in stealing a playoff spot. Nash, however, has not contributed as much as the team's bench, which is likely just a blip in the pan.

Patience would be prudent if the Lakers stood a realistic shot at making noise in the NBA this season. Even if they're better than expected, they're not a true title contender that could rest Nash up before unleashing him for a deep playoff run.

Formerly one of the game's funnest players to watch, Nash is now worn down and receiving far more money than he's worth. The Lakers should trade him while any value lingers.