Klay Thompson ‘excited to work with’ Steve Kerr

Klay Thompson’s rise through Team USA could translate to the NBA. He spoke with USA TODAY Sports.

      
 

 

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5 NBA Teams Who Make More Sense for Steve Nash’s Final Season Than LA Lakers

Steve Nash is still on the Los Angeles Lakers, and it’s likely he remains in a purple-and-gold uniform throughout the 2014-15 campaign. 

In fact, he may even be a starter. 

Per the Los Angeles Daily News‘ Mark Medina, head coach Byron Scott currently has Nash working into the depth chart as a first-string point guard, suiting up alongside Kobe Bryant, Wesley Johnson, Carlos Boozer and Jordan Hill at the start of games.

It’s hard to imagine the aging point guard getting more playing time in a different location, but that isn’t necessarily what should be most important to him at this stage of his career. 

In a perfect world, Nash would finish up the NBA portion of his life in a different locale.

Even though he’s been on the Lakers for two seasons prior to this one, it still doesn’t feel as though he belongs in the organization. Injuries have just prevented him from gaining too much momentum, and it’s tough to picture this aged version of the former MVP over the offensively dynamic one of the past. 

Even if he rebounds nicely during the 2014-15 season, thriving with the Lakers for the first time, there are still five destinations that—for various reasons we’ll get to in the coming slides—stand out as better locations. 

Begin Slideshow

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Lakers Expect to Start Steve Nash Over Jeremy Lin

Over the past three years, almost every decision the Los Angeles Lakers have made has been highly questionable. From giving Steve Nash a three-year contract to signing Kobe Bryant to a two-year, $48 million extension, to hiring (and firing) Mike D’Antoni and Mike Brown, the Lakers have struggled making good decisions.
While we’ll know better if they made the right hire with Byron Scott once the season begins, the newest Laker coach seems to already be continuing Los Angeles’ recent tradition of shaky decision-making. According to the Los Angeles Daily News, Scott anticipates starting Steve Nash over Jeremy Lin, among other odd line-up decisions.
Scott will spend training camp figuring out his starting lineup, which he says will currently feature Nash, Bryant, Carlos Boozer and Jordan Hill. He is leaning toward starting Wesley Johnson at small forward because of his defensive potential and relying on Nick Young’s prolific scoring off the bench.
Kobe Bryant and Jordan Hill being included in the startin

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Keeping Steve Nash is the Right Strategic Decision for Lakers

When Labor Day weekend passed, Steve Nash was still a member of the Los Angeles Lakers. Management chose not to use a provision that would have allowed it to waive the future Hall of Famer and amortize his $9.7 million salary.

As Eric Pincus for the Los Angeles Times noted, “Had the Lakers waived Nash prior to September, they would have been able to stretch his salary over the next three years at around $3.2 million annually.”

It was the right decision from a current, practical purpose and from a longer-term, strategic way of thinking as well.

For now, the Lakers need all bodies on board. Apart from Nash, the point guard corps include only Jeremy Lin and rookie Jordan Clarkson—a second-round draft pick who is untested in the NBA, apart from an impressive showing during NBA Summer League action.

Perhaps Nash can rediscover the fountain of youth and turn back the tide of crippling injuries. After being acquired from the Phoenix Suns two seasons ago, the point guard suffered a fractured leg that led to an escalating series of nerve and back issues.

Last season, Nash appeared in only 15 games, averaging 6.8 points and 5.7 assists. Now, after a summer of training and playing soccer, he appears to finally have his health back—precarious as it is—and is ready to do some serious balling again.

In fact, according to Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News, new head coach Byron Scott has the two-time MVP penciled into a preliminary starting lineup:

Scott will spend training camp figuring out his starting lineup, which he says will currently feature Nash, Bryant, Carlos Boozer and Jordan Hill. He is leaning toward starting Wesley Johnson at small forward because of his defensive potential and relying on Nick Young’s prolific scoring off the bench.

All that could change in a heartbeat, of course. Nash wasn’t a fan of the Princeton offense when Mike Brown tried introducing it at the beginning of the 2012-13 season, and now Scott will be using his own version of an off-ball system that shares certain precepts with the triangle offense.

And even if Nash does ultimately embrace the half-court sets, there’s still the question of health—nobody really knows what will happen the first time the 40-year-old takes a hard hit or torques his body spontaneously.

But there is also Plan B and in forward-thinking terms, it is the most obvious one of all.

When is an inflated NBA contract worth more than a modest one? When it is about to expire and is attached to a marquee name. Nash could play well enough to pique the interest of other dream-chasing teams, or he could simply equal a piece in a trade puzzle.

This season’s trade deadline will expire on February 19, and as it draws closer, there will be the inevitable stampede of teams looking to make moves for a variety of reasons—whether in anticipation of a playoff push or as a means to clear salary space.

These latter deals make up a major portion of deadline deals, especially with losing teams who see shedding ballast as the cleanest path back to future contention.

Enter the big-name player who is past his prime and on an expiring deal—perhaps he offers something in temporary value or maybe he’ll be waived as soon as he arrives. Either way, it’s usually about fixing the books.

And then there’s transactions that involve legendary players coming home—this is where nostalgia, fans bases and possible redemption scenarios collide.

Could a favorite son return to Phoenix for one last blaze of glory before having his jersey retired?

During a Grantland podcast last March, Bill Simmons spoke to Nash about the circumstances that led to his exit from the Suns during a rebuild, two summers ago. Simmons said, “The irony is, you would probably would have loved playing on this particular Phoenix team.”

Nash responded, “Oh absolutely, and playing for Horny (new coach Jeff Hornacek), he’s a guy that I’ve known a long time, that I really like and it would be a lot of fun.”

Is there deal that makes sense for both teams? One possibility is Eric Bledsoe, who has yet to sign a contract with the Suns, raising a scenario in which he signs a one-season qualifying offer, which would then pair him and fellow guard Goran Dragic as unrestricted free agents next summer.

What if Phoenix were to try and get something out of Bledsoe’s contract before then?

Per Marc Stein of ESPN.com, ”The Lakers, for example, are just one team league sources say would likely make a hard run at both of them, based on the premise that the Suns couldn’t afford the cost of paying both at that point, theoretically making either Bledsoe or Dragic gettable.”

Phoenix would probably made a harder push to keep Dragic, who is coming off a breakout season. Would Nash like to end his career mentoring the fiery Slovenian?

During the Grantland podcast, Simmons said, “And Dragic, was kind of, you created him a lab I think.”

“He’s a great kid, competitive, athletic, he’s really a good player,” responded Nash. “That’s one of the things that’s been really fun for me, to watch him kick ass. You feel like you’re watching a little brother in a way.”

Who else would the Suns want in such a trade—perhaps Jordan Hill?

Such a scenario is nothing more than conjecture at this point, just as all future trades are unpredictable flights of fancy. But at the end of the day, hanging onto Nash’s contract this summer made sense for the Lakers.

Whether he returns to some semblance of former greatness in Los Angeles or serves as an asset in an ongoing rebuild, Nash’s presence has greater value than waiving him and eating nearly $10 million dollars of nothingness over three more years.

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CNN interviews Steve Smith, thinks he’s Stephen A. Smith

Bruce Levenson and the Atlanta Hawks were the focus of a CNN segment Sunday night, during which the network invited former Hawk and current NBA TV analyst Steve Smith to provide his take on the fiasco. CNN host Fredricka Whitfield appeared to get her sports talking heads named Steve confused, as a graphic showing ESPN’s resident blowhard Stephen A. Smith appeared on screen — even after The Real Steve Smith had already clarified he was, in fact, Steve Smith of the Atlanta Hawks. It should be noted that CNN and NBA TV are both owned (or at least controlled by) Turner, which makes this mix-up just slightly more embarrassing. [SportsGrid] Article found on: Next Impulse Sports

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Steve Masiello ‘reprogrammed’ after résumé mess

Steve Masiello admits the adversity he’s faced since March has been humbling.

      
 

 

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With Steve Ballmer in Place, Clips Need Doc Rivers to Focus on Job He Does Best

Now that the dour cloud that was Donald Sterling has been lifted from the Los Angeles Clippers and replaced with Steve Ballmer, the comparative equivalent of stadium lights, there’s one element still missing to assure the 17th banner raised in the Staples Center belongs to them:   

A bona fide general manager.   

That’s not a knock on Doc Rivers, the resident coach, president of basketball operations and unofficial crisis counselor. Rivers distinguished himself holding the franchise together for several months while the league extricated The Donald. He has been, overall, a godsend for the franchise in a multitude of ways.

It’s a knock on the notion that a team can win it all with one man both coaching a team and constructing it, now more than ever. Look no further than Rivers needing to forfeit a first-round pick to move swingman Jared Dudley to Milwaukee, the same Dudley that was acquired just a year ago along with swingman J.J. Redick for the hefty price of highly-prized point guard Eric Bledsoe. Moving Dudley became necessary because Rivers also handed Matt Barnes–yet another swingman–the first multi-year contract of his career last summer, assuring someone would be unhappy.

For whatever reason, Rivers has received a full pass on moves that have made the Clippers marginally better yet significantly more expensive. You don’t have to make more than a call or two to find someone in the league who, as one GM said, views Rivers’ moves with Dudley as a “head scratcher.”

“If [former Minnesota GM] David Kahn made those deals, they’d have been burning crosses on his lawn,” said another NBA executive.

Several GMs said they would’ve put the brakes on all that for the sake of the long-term health of the team. One said he might have even traded Jamal Crawford in order to force Rivers to play first-round pick Reggie Bullock, who was a year-long afterthought (43 appearances, 395 minutes). In a sense, Rivers has spent two first-round picks to assure a few more victories last season, victories that still weren’t enough to get out of the second round.

“He’s always going to be a coach first,” said the executive of Rivers, “and a coach is always going to be making micro decisions. It’s all about the next five minutes.”

That thinking never has been more costly than it is now. The consensus among the league’s leading decision makers is that under the league’s increasingly constrictive salary-cap rules, the trick to chasing a title is maintaining as much flexibility as possible. There’s nothing wrong with going for broke in a particular year as long as the option to scale back down is on the immediate horizon.

That’s not where the Clippers are. They paid the luxury tax last year and they will do so again this season. Do that three out of four years and the amount of tax paid increases to at least $2.50 per every $1 over the threshold starting in the 2015-16 season.

There isn’t a tax that billionaire Ballmer can’t afford, but that isn’t the point. The penalty for being a taxpayer goes beyond a lighter wallet. It also erases the ways in which a team can land that one last piece that puts it over the top. Gone is the bi-annual exception or the ability to do sign-and-trade deals. Even the mid-level exception is reduced. So while Ballmer’s, uh, manic enthusiasm should be a welcome change from the gloom of Sterling’s Scrooge-like visage, it takes considerably more than Up With People! inspiration and throwing around bales of cash to build a champion.

“Having an unlimited budget isn’t necessarily healthy,” said one rival GM, “and it still doesn’t make it easy.”

A quick glance at the top NBA payrolls going into the season is proof that the Larry O’Brien trophy is made of, not by, gold. The six most expensive rosters belong, in order, to the Brooklyn Nets, New York Knicks, Clippers, New Orleans Hornets, Sacramento Kings and Los Angeles Lakers.

And while the Clippers have a relatively young core in Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, they’re going to need flexibility to restock their wings. Redick is in the second year of a four-year deal, but Barnes and Crawford could be up after this season. Whatever space their departures might provide undoubtedly will be used to tie up Jordan, a pending free agent whose $11 million salary is sure to jump. Rivers already had to spend yet more money this summer in an attempt to upgrade at back-up point guard (Jordan Farmar replacing Darren Collison) and back-up big man (Spencer Hawes replacing Ryan Hollins). Despite having the biggest payroll in the Western Conference, there’s no reason to believe they are capable of getting past the defending champion Spurs or Oklahoma City Thunder or even the Golden State Warriors should they have a healthy Andrew Bogut.

Don’t blame the mismanaged roster and salaries on the influence or distraction of Sterling, either. He actually showed uncharacteristic largesse in his last few years to allow Rivers to make those moves and the discovery of his insulting view of African-Americans didn’t come until springtime.

If Ballmer has any reservations about Rivers’ personnel acumen, though, giving him an extension worth a reported $10 million a year on the heels of the Dudley deal is an odd way to show it. As of now, Rivers has placed Dave Wohl and Kevin Eastman, confidants from his days in Boston, alongside incumbent Gary Sacks to compose his front-office brain trust. Neither, however, has any experience in building rosters and it’s hard to imagine either of them having the wherewithal to tell Rivers he can’t do something.

Then again, perhaps in Ballmer World $10 million is simply the going rate for a coach who has worked the magic Rivers has with Paul, Griffin and Jordan. Despite the fact that sources say he was handpicked by Paul to succeed Vinny Del Negro, Rivers convinced Paul to give up the ball and allow more of the offense to run through Griffin, much to the team’s collective benefit. Jordan, meanwhile, evolved from a headache to a defensive backbone with Rivers’ encouragement.

“He’s coaching the hell out of their best players,” the GM said. “Doc has changed the mindset of that team. They’re playing for the right things. His greatest contribution has been creating an accountability to a style of play. You don’t see them pointing fingers.”

Perhaps Ballmer will take a more hands-on approach with roster decisions the way the Dallas Mavericks‘ Mark Cuban and other owners have in more recent times. He certainly shares their hoops passion: he apparently didn’t miss one of his son’s high school or AAU games and he considers himself a roundball junkie.

How that manifests itself with the Clippers, now that he’s abandoned his responsibilities with Microsoft, is what most interests other GMs and executives. For all of Sterling’s faults, he left the spotlight for his players and coach. Paul came to L.A. to stand in it and enjoy all the commercials and other accompanying opportunities; Griffin chose to stay in L.A. for the same reason.

“I don’t know that that group there wants the attention on the owner,” one GM said. “They have built something. They took center stage.”

That’s also where an independent GM and second voice of reason would help, since it’s hard to imagine Rivers coaching the team, making executive decisions and serving as a buffer between Ballmer and the players.

“It’ll be positive, no matter what,” said a Western Conference GM of Ballmer’s presence, “or at least it won’t be worse than with Sterling.”

But just how positive? How much better?  It’s hard not to look at how the battle for supremacy in New York has played out so far. The Nets’ Mikhail Prokhorov has tried to buy his way to a championship, and while it moved him past the Knicks last season, the Nets are not anywhere close to winning it all. Similarly, the Clippers should remain the toast of Hollywood over the Lakers this season, but Ballmer’s rallying cry was “I love Larry!” as in O’Brien, not “I love L.A.!”

If opposing GMs and executives are correct, it doesn’t matter that the Wheel of Fortune studio is a stone’s throw from Clippers’ headquarters—Ballmer can’t buy those last three letters. He’s going to have to think his way to getting L-A-R-R-Y. Or hire someone who can.

 

Ric Bucher covers the NBA for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @RicBucher.

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Manhattan’s Steve Masiello ‘reprogrammed’ after résumé mess

Steve Masiello admits the adversity he’s faced since March has been humbling.

      
 

 

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Will Steve Nash Be Los Angeles Lakers’ Biggest X-Factor in 2014-15?

Steve Nash still matters to the Los Angeles Lakers.

For the most part, this aging and fading 40-year-old star matters because of what he can’t do. He has played in only 65 games since 2012-13, including just 15 last season. The Nash Los Angeles thought it was getting in 2012 is gone, supplanted instead by this enfeebled, mortality-marred version of a point guard who can’t remain healthy enough to run pick-and-rolls, let alone triumph over Father Time.

And because of what Nash can’t do, he is but a number—9,701,000, to be exact. That’s what Nash will be earning next season ($9.7 million). That’s money the Lakers could have used to line their makeshift model with permanence. That’s what Nash, a future Hall of Famer and one-time logic-killer, has been reduced to: a cap-clogging, reputation-maiming number.

Only what if Nash matters because he becomes something more? What if there is some fight left in those timeworn legs and nerve-nuked back of his? 

What if Nash contributes to the Lakers’ 2014-15 campaign as a player—as an X-factor—and not as a mercifully expiring contract?

Months ago, when forcibly formed rumors left Nash to debunk imminent retirement, the thought seemed overly optimistic. After missing just 21 regular-season contests through the previous five seasons, Nash has been absent for 99 over the last two.

Returning from these tragic series of setbacks wasn’t possible. This regression would last. 

Slowly, surely, away from the typical spotlight, though, Nash has apparently steadied his course, strengthened his workload and positioned himself to play next season.

Said Lakers trainer Gary Vitti, via NBA.com: 

“All my conversations with (Nash) are that he has absolutely no neural issue at this point. He’s playing full-tilt, unrestricted soccer. He’s doing all the corrective injury and performance exercises he’s supposed to be doing, and right now he’s 100 percent healthy.”

To believe that “100 percent healthy” guarantees Nash’s return to prominence and dominance is to enable the absurd and weird. Forty-year-olds don’t make prolific contributions or embody durability.

Six players in NBA history have managed to appear in at least 50 single-season contests after their 40th birthday. Of those six, only three averaged 20-plus minutes per game. Nash is up against that, up against the undefeated time.

And yet it wasn’t long ago—two seasons, to be exact—that Nash was seemingly winning. He led the league in total assists for 2011-12 while flirting with another 50/40/90 season, missing only four games during a lockout-truncated crusade. That was also the year he piloted a top-10 offense and nearly pushed the talent-sapped Phoenix Suns into the playoffs.

Even 2012-13 saw glimpses of Nash being Nash. Appearing in only 50 games didn’t prevent him from falling less than half a percentage point short of his fifth 50/40/90 campaign. Only last year did he start showing signs of aging and see his shooting efficiency plummet, and he still managed to dish out nearly six assists a night.

When Nash plays—even during his failed stint in Los Angeles—he’s been mostly productive. All he has to do is take the court semi-consistently to have an actual chance at helping the Lakers. And, if healthy, he can help the Lakers.

Byron Scott will chirp about defense and the importance of accountability, but these Lakers, from top to bottom, are built to score.

Kobe Bryant, Carlos Boozer, Nick Young, Jeremy Lin and Julius Randle aren’t the material top-five, top-10 or even top-15 defenses are made of. The Lakers are going to rely heavily on their offense, hoping they boast enough firepower to surprise people.

Nash, and his lifetime 42.8 percent three-point clip, is firepower. Nash, and his penchant for double-digit assist totals, is playmaking depth. Nash, and his pick-and-roll intelligence, fits what the Lakers will try to do.

Pick-and-rolls are staples of Scott’s (admittedly simplistic) offensive systems. In Nash, the Lakers still have one of the best pick-and-roll point men ever. Not in recent memory, but ever.

Just once in the last five years has Nash ranked outside the top 50 of pick-and-roll ball-handling efficiency, according to Synergy Sports (subscription required). That was last year, when he still qualified for a top-60 finish.

Shooting hasn’t ever been an issue for him, either. Not even last season when his efficiency flushed itself down the toilet. Spot-up shooting remains his forte, and it can help the Lakers—they of little floor spacing—drastically.

All of which brings us back to availability. 

Ability isn’t, nor has it ever been, the issue. Nash still has some dimes and treys left in that 40-year-old body. We saw it last season. We saw it the season before last season.

Minutes are the enemy. Setting realistic expectations is the task. Scott can curb Nash’s playing time or sit him on back-to-backs all he wants, but it won’t mean his point guard isn’t at the mercy of unpredictable limbs.

To that we turn toward a higher power—one Bleacher Report’s David Murphy identifies as will: 

“Steve Nash will turn 41 in February and has delivered some of the game’s most memorable moments. The past two seasons won’t determine his ultimate legacy to the game. But he wants to leave more than a question mark behind in Los Angeles.”

Determined to make the most of his last season, Nash, if close to healthy, will be dangerous. He is the San Antonio Spurs of paling superstars. He has nothing left to prove, nothing left to lose, and that makes him dangerous.

“I think this is my last season,” Nash said during an interview with Sport TV in late July, via Jason Pratt of SB Nation. “But I still love to play, practice and work on my game.”

Actually play, and Nash stands to contribute, surprising even the most relentless critics, surprising even himself. He is Los Angeles’ biggest X-factor because he is their most marginalized unknown.

Bryant hasn’t been reduced to a number; Nash has.

Think of what the Lakers could be with a healthy Nash. Probably not a playoff team, but most definitely a watchable group that wins some games and turns some heads they shouldn’t. Nash can have that impact. He can transform the Lakers offensively, with or without Bryant.

For that, we cannot write him off. Not now.

There is no greater threat than a player who knows he has no tomorrow. This being Nash’s last chance to finish his storied career on a high note, he could be one of the Lakers’ most dangerous weapons, their biggest X-factor, if only because his production would represent contributions the team isn’t supposed to have.

 

*Stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference and NBA.com unless otherwise noted.


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Can Steve Nash Erase Stigma of Last Two Seasons?

Steve Nash’s basketball world was just fine until he joined the Los Angeles Lakers.

Sure, he was getting older and wasn’t the player he had once been, but he still averaged a double-double during his last season with the Phoenix Suns.

But then came the summer of 2012 and the arrival of Nash and Dwight Howard in L.A., and the two became forever linked and identified by a doomed experiment.

When Mike D’Antoni was hired by the Lakers just five games into the season, it seemed as if some cosmic realignment was about to begin—Nash and his former coach would reunite and usher a post-centric team with stars like Howard, Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol into a new Showtime era.

In a strange quirk of fate, however, Nash had fractured his leg during the second game of the regular season. It happened during a collision with Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers and didn’t seem like such a big thing at the time.

As an upbeat D’Antoni said during his introductory press conference, per Lakers.com:

I can’t wait to get him (Nash) back there. I think he has another two or three years there. He didn’t have a whole lot of speed when he was in Phoenix and he hasn’t lost anything. But he’s smart, he’s smart and he can play. Nobody works harder than him. We just got to get his legs well and I think the people of Los Angeles will come to appreciate an unbelievable player.

But a series of unfortunate events had been set into motion and unbelievable playing did not take place.

The guy who had averaged 12.5 points in 31.6 minutes per game over 62 games the season before in Phoenix wound up averaging 12.7 points in 32.5 minutes over the course of 50 games in Los Angeles.

Hey, wait a minute—that didn’t happen! Actually, yes, it did.

Points and minutes averaged don’t tell the whole story, however. Nash had always succeeded by making those around him better, but in Los Angeles, his assists dropped to 6.7 per game compared to 10.7 the previous season.

The Lakers were clearly not playing in unison, and they were ultimately knocked out in the first round of the playoffs, losing in four straight games to the San Antonio Spurs.

By that point, a team packed with All-Stars was in shambles and the worst of it was Bryant’s ruptured Achilles tendon, suffered during game No. 80 of the regular season. 

Howard ultimately joined the Houston Rockets as a free agent, and the Lakers were left trying to sort through the broken pieces.

As for Nash, his fractured leg had never fully healed and triggered a slowly developing chain reaction of related structural issues. But more than anything, he had become part of a growing malaise that made it easy to associate his frailties with the failure of others—with Howard, with D’Antoni and with a rash of team injuries in general.

And when the following season ushered in an absolute and utter team collapse, it became even easier to point at Nash’s deteriorating body and the fact that he only played 15 games. Plus, what about that $9.7 million salary?

Two seasons became rolled into one giant unforgivable mistake—a future Hall of Famer had become a symbol for all that was wrong in Lakerland, and he even had the audacity to collect a paycheck!

But is it fair to stigmatize one player for the vagaries of age and injuries when the entire roster plus coaches and management share culpability for a 27-55 season? Doesn’t a guy who is arguably one of the best point guards to ever play the game deserve better than that?

At age 40, Nash is entering the final year of his contract and, in all likelihood, his last season of basketball. This isn’t how he wanted it to end. Not with a dark cloud as the closing refrain.

Is there a way to rewrite the ending? Yes, although it may not be an obvious hero moment. Nash—a two-time league MVP, five-time assists leader and eight-time All-Star—probably won’t capture that most important and elusive title—an NBA championship.

But redemption can show itself in different forms.

First, there is the matter of health. Nash is finally back to a state of physical well-being that has eluded him for nearly two years. Per NBA.com and team trainer Gary Vitti:

All my conversations with (Nash) are that he has absolutely no neural issue at this point. He’s playing full-tilt, unrestricted soccer. He’s doing all the corrective injury and performance exercises he’s supposed to be doing, and right now he’s 100 percent healthy.

If the 18-year veteran remains healthy and is able to play meaningful minutes, he’ll be doing so within a more measured, post-centric offense that will cater to Bryant—a member of the same draft class of 1996 and the only Laker to actually miss more games than Nash last season due to injury.

But regardless of playing time, there are other ways to leave an imprint. Like passing on all the tricks of the trade to Jeremy Lin and Jordan Clarkson—two of the newest Lakers and members of a new generation of NBA players.

Lin spoke about learning from Nash during his introductory press conference, per Lakers.com; “Now I have this opportunity. I can’t wait. I still remember him in Phoenix and he was 20 and 10 every night. I look forward to learning quite a few things from him.”

Like playing off the most effective angles, mastering flawless footwork and the art of the perfect pass. The third all-time assists leader behind John Stockton and Jason Kidd, Nash has always had uncanny court vision and the ability to hit the open man, seemingly without even looking.

Nash is also a deadly shooter with a .428 career percentage from behind the arc as well as owner of the best all-time free-throw success rate at .904.

Steve Nash will turn 41 in February and has delivered some of the game’s most memorable moments. The past two seasons won’t determine his ultimate legacy to the game. But he wants to leave more than a question mark behind in Los Angeles.  

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