Steve Nash on Returning Next Year: 'It Would Be Nice to Shut Some People Up'

Dan FavaleFeatured ColumnistMarch 13, 2014

Steve Nash would love to shut people up.

If you are one of the many, many people who have criticized him for his inability to remain healthy and refusal to retire, then he specifically would love to shut you up.

In the third installment of Grantland's The Finish Line—a short series detailing Nash's fight for NBA survival—we find the 40-year-old point guard reflecting on his latest setback.

Throughout the episode, clips of various people questioning his pride are played as a reminder that Nash isn't just going up against Father Time. He's battling fans and pundits, too.

"You have a lot of people that are just—you know, want to just say you're trash," Nash says.

Those are people Nash would love to silence.

"That's not my primary source of motivation, to show everybody. My primary source of motivation is to get out there because I love the game," he admits. "But it would be nice to shut some people up."

Of course it would be. Part of me wants to shut them up, too.

There's no denying how disappointing Nash's tenure with the Los Angeles Lakers has been. I've even argued their future does not and cannot include him.

But to question his pride and commitment to the organization is inane.

Maybe him retiring saves the Lakers a few bucks, but this is a man's career we're talking about. If he still feels he can contribute, if he still feels he can have one last hurrah, we cannot fault his defiance.

Criticism, though, reached an all-time high when Lakers head coach Mike D'Antoni, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles, revealed Nash's latest comeback attempt would be put on hold:

Mike D'Antoni says he "doubts" Steve Nash plays again this season, but wouldn't rule him out

— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) March 3, 2014

Having already appeared in 10 games, Nash is no longer eligible for the medical retirement that would wipe Los Angeles' books of his remaining salary.

With the Lakers in need of reform and slated to have mountains of cap space this summer, Nash's $9.7 million salary next season is something many see as an albatross the team would be better off without.

As Bleacher Report's Kevin Ding points out, however, the Lakers aren't planning a free-agency spending spree until 2015, when they will be free and clear of Nash's contract no matter what. So while his situation obviously isn't ideal, it's not as if he's preventing the Lakers from expediting a rebuilding process that was always going to last longer than one summer.

Even with Nash, they still have cap space—enough cap space to sign just about anyone. Whatever happens or doesn't happen this summer will not be on him or his contract.

"So on the one hand, I’m lucky I’ve gotten the better part of 18 years of it," Nash said in the first episode of The Finish Line. "On the other hand, it’ll never be the same again."

No, it won't. It will never be the same. But there's a chance things could improve. There's a chance Nash could get better.

And there's nothing trashy about him attempting to make sure they do.


*Salary information via ShamSports.