It’s been a rough year for Steve Nash. At 40 years old, his body has finally betrayed him—back so bad there were days he could barely get out of bed.
Through it all, a picture of Nash as a model of professional positivity—happy and healthy and seemingly free of cynicism—has persisted.
Until you’re reminded that no one, not even Steve Nash, gets to this level without taking what’s his.
In a video interview with Grantland released early Thursday (via Ben Golliver of Sports Illustrated), Nash admitted not wanting to retire because he “wants the money.”
I’m not going to retire because I want the money. It’s honest. We want honest athletes, but at the same time, you’re going to have people out there saying ‘He’s so greedy. He’s made x amount of money and he has to take this last little bit.’ Yes, I do, have to take that last little bit. I’m sorry if that is frustrating to some but if they were in my shoes they would do exactly the same thing.
Fair enough. If this were, say, the Milwaukee Bucks—that is to say, relatively cash-strapped—it might be a little easier to lob invectives Nash’s way.
According to Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times, Nash is set to join Kobe for an early summer vacation.
Mike D'Antoni officially closes the door on Steve Nash returning this season for the Lakers. "He's not going to play."— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) March 13, 2014
It’ll be interesting to see how the Lakers respond to Nash’s comments. As Ding pointed out last week, the Lakers do have the option of subjecting Nash to the seldom-used stretch provision, which allows teams to waive a player and pay their remaining salary over a period of three years.
Still, Ding says the Lakers—who want as much cap space as possible heading over the next few years—are liable to wait things out.
The Lakers would rather be done with the entirety of Nash’s $9.7 million salary next year if they’re not planning on spending much next season, as opposed to stretching that money across the next three seasons if they waive him and suffer future burdens.
So, this is kind of a mess.
The Lakers were the ones who tendered Nash to the tune of three years, $27 million. It was their risk, and theirs alone.
Moreover, had it been the Phoenix Suns doling out that kind of dime, Nash might well have chosen to call it quits, thereby sparing his longtime employers—and the team with which he will always be most identified—undue financial stress. (You know, for an NBA team.)
At the same time, it’s hard not to see this negatively impacting—fair or not—Nash’s squeaky-clean reputation.
You can check out the full Grantland spot below.