clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

How it all went wrong for Steve Nash with the Lakers

The Lakers gave up four draft picks to get Nash, but his time in Los Angeles was marred by injuries. When did the problems start?

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sport

Steve Nash's career is likely over after it was announced Thursday that he would miss the entire 2014-15 season with a nerve issue in his back. This is Nash's last season under contract in Los Angeles, and the 40-year-old had said that it would likely be his last in the NBA.

If this truly is the end as everybody expects, it wraps up a marvelous career that ended on a sour note in Los Angeles. Nash's time with the Lakers has been marred by disappointment and injury, as he has played in just 65 games since his trade from the Phoenix Suns.

With his time in Hollywood likely over, let's recap his brief time there.

The trade

Nash was a free agent in 2012, and there was speculation that he was going to head home to the Toronto Raptors, with the Raptors even offering a three-year, $36 million deal. The New York Knicks also made a run at the veteran point guard, but it was the Lakers who stepped up to the plate with the most enticing trade offer.

Los Angeles agreed to send four future first-round draft picks to Phoenix for the then-38-year-old, fitting him into a $9.8 million trade exception created when the Lakers traded away Lamar Odom. About a month after Nash was acquired, the Lakers traded for Dwight Howard, setting up a supposed "superteam" with massive expectations for the 2012-13 campaign.

A bad omen

Dreams of Nash and Howard pick-and-rolls danced in the heads of many, but the relationship was basically doomed from the start. Howard was recovering from a back injury when he came to the Lakers and he missed a good portion of the preseason because of his rehab. The big man returned at the tail end of the preseason, but Nash suffered a leg injury in just the second regular-season game.

The injury wasn't initially expected to be all that serious, but it turned out that Nash had a small fracture in his fibula. He missed nearly two months of action, finally returning to the court at the end of December.

A super failure

Nash played pretty well when he returned from the injury, but the Lakers' season was about to go south. Los Angeles lost six straight games to start 2013, and after a short two-game winning streak, they lost four more in a row. At that point, the Lakers were a dismal 17-25 and on the verge of being one of the biggest disappointments in NBA history.

Los Angeles rebounded to sneak into the playoffs, but Nash again had issues staying on the floor. He suffered a hamstring injury on March 30 and proceeded to miss the rest of the regular season. While he returned for the postseason, he played in just the first two games of the embarrassing four-game sweep at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs.

The much-hyped Lakers "superteam" was a massive failure, and it turned out to be a short-lived experiment. Howard bolted Los Angeles to join the Houston Rocketsand Nash said afterward he felt Howard never really fit in and that the big man wasn't a fan of Mike D'Antoni's pick-and-roll heavy schemes.

Nearing the end

Nash's second season in Los Angeles never got off the ground. The injuries he suffered the year prior lingered and led to the nerve pain in his back that would ultimately prove to be his downfall. After playing just 13 minutes in a Nov. 10 game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, he went on the shelf until early February.

When Nash finally returned, he was in-and-out of the lineup. Once it was all said and done, he played just 15 games all season and the Lakers had one of their worst years in franchise history.

That's a wrap

With his body breaking down, Nash could have easily retired this past summer. Instead, he worked hard all offseason in order to play out the last year of his contract. There were some rumors about the Lakers possibly using the stretch exception to waive him and clear more cap space, but once it was clear they didn't need that extra space, the decision was made to keep him.

But once again, Nash's body betrayed him. He played in just two preseason games before hurting his back carrying bags, and now his career his likely over. In the last two years with the Lakers, he posted averages of 11.4 points and 6.4 assists.


Get news, links and Ziller's #hottakes in your inbox every weekday morning.