Lakers’ Steve Nash officially announces retirement from NBA

first_imgScott advised Lakers fans to “take a look at everything he’s done over his career and judge him that way, not by what ended up happening here.”“It didn’t work out the way he planned or the way he wanted or the way the organization wanted,” Scott said. “But fans also have to look at the fact that the guy did everything possible to get on the court.”Scott envisioned his veteran point guard playing between 15 to 20 minutes per game while mentoring the team’s backcourt in Jeremy Lin, Ronnie Price and Clarkson. Instead, the Lakers ruled Nash out for the rest of the 2014-15 season after appearing in only two exhibition games. The criticism Nash faced went beyond his injuries.He remained mostly absent from the team, other than mentoring Clarkson periodically for the past two months. “There’s been a lot of negativity online, but in my nearly three years in L.A., I’ve never met anyone who didn’t show me anything but love and support for my efforts,” Nash said. “There’s a lot of class in Lakerland, and the organization and staff have given me unwavering support.”Nash’s prolonged absence concerned some in the organization. But Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak and Scott publicly supported Nash.“He needed time to start focusing on the next phase of his life,” Scott said. “Guys need that peace away from the game to get their head right.” • MORE COVERAGE: Lakers gush about Nash’s career, defend himNash’s retirement seemed inevitable after the Lakers ruled him out for the 2014-15 season. But the Lakers asked him to delay his retirement so they could trade his $9.8 million contract before the Feb. 19, 2015 trade deadline. Without any suitors, the Lakers will still owe Nash his full salary. The Lakers acquired Nash from the Phoenix Suns in 2012 in a sign-and-trade worth $28 million for three year, a deal that involved sending two first and second-round draft picks. But Nash played in only 65 of a possible 164 regular-season games amid overlapping nerve issues with his left knee, back and hamstrings. Nash also averaged 11.4 points and 6.4 assists through two seasons, a stark drop from his career averages of 14.4 points and 8.5 assists. Perhaps Nash’s only highlight entailed his last assist in April, 2014 against Houston, which surpassed Mark Jackson on the NBA’s all-time assists list. ◘ PHOTOS: Two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash announces retirement“When I signed with the Lakers, I had big dreams of lifting the fans up and lighting this city on fire,” said Nash, who played for Phoenix (1996-98, 2004-12) and Dallas (1998-2004). “I turned down more lucrative offers to come to L.A. because I wanted to be in the ‘fire,’ and play for high risk and high reward in my last NBA chapter.” The tributes gushed out as quickly as Steve Nash led his team on a fast break.Lakers coach Byron Scott called Nash a “modern-day Bob Cousy” after collecting two NBA most valuable player awards, climbing to third place on the league’s all-time assists list and revolutionizing the NBA’s fast-paced play. Lakers backup center and fellow Canadian Robert Sacre noted how Nash had “always been that guy that Canadians have always looked up to” after he became the first NBA star from that country. Lakers rookie guard Jordan Clarkson recalled idolizing Nash growing up for “making passes people couldn’t see” and expressed gratitude for his personal mentorship.Nash has not played in the past five months because of chronic back problems. But the Lakers (19-50) spent very little talking about Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers (17-52) at Staples Center. Instead, the Lakers focused on the 41-year-old Nash officially announcing his retirement in an essay released Saturday morning on “The Players Tribune” website. “The greatest gift has been to be completely immersed in my passion and striving for something I loved so much,” Nash wrote. “The obsession became my best friend. I talked to her, cherished her, fought with her and got knocked on my ass by her.”center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img

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