Steve Nash might not be done after all.
When asked if the 40-year-old point guard might see any game action down the stretch, D'Antoni said: "It's still a possibility. We have to see where he is physically. ... We'll have to see some practices and see how it goes."
That's hardly a firm statement, but it's awfully different from what D'Antoni said on March 13, per Mark Medina of InsideSoCal.com: "He’s not going to play. It doesn’t make any sense for him to come back for 15-18 games.”
With talk of medical retirement earlier this year and ongoing discussions about L.A. using its stretch provision to eliminate Nash's spot on the roster, this is a significant change in direction. And as much as anything, it's a credit to the aging point guard's relentless desire to prove he's not finished.
Nobody on court. Dripping in sweat, 40-year-old Steve Nash continues to work. Say what you want but he's a pros pro pic.twitter.com/QoYebE4gKV— Beto Duran (@DuranSports) March 20, 2014
Nash took heat for admitting the $9.7 million remaining on his deal next year was partially motivating his desire to return. But he was simply being honest.
And anyone who focuses on that admission without giving equal weight to Nash's love of the game and history of unselfishness is engaging in a world-class feat of selective hearing.
Steve Nash could have packed it in 100 times, but he keeps fighting & wants to give #Lakers something on their investment. Respect that.— Ethan Norof (@Mr_Norof) March 17, 2014
The guy wants to play and maybe, just maybe, he's going to get that chance before the end of the 2013-14 season.
That might not mean anything for the Lakers in this utterly lost season, but it could give the team some hope for next year while also letting Nash prove to himself he's got a little bit left in the tank.
And really, what does anybody—the Lakers, Nash and D'Antoni—have to lose?