In a recent episode of Grantland.com’s “Finish Line,” which documents Steve Nash‘s injury struggles, he learns of the NBA‘s Stretch Provision rule. This rule states a team can waive a player signed under the new CBA and then spread the remaining salary over twice the remaining length of the contract, plus one year.
So, this allows the Los Angeles Lakers to release Nash this summer and instead of having $9.7 million on their cap next season, it would shrink to $3.23 million over the course of the next three years, giving them more cap space to sign free agents. In the episode, he actually called up his agent Bill Duffy, wanting to make sure he got the provision clarified, and his worst fears were confirmed.
Nash admittedly stated that he is in danger of this scenario materializing, and if he is indeed released he will retire, remarking he wouldn’t sign on with another team because of the need to stay with his kids full time in Los Angeles. He has been seen working even harder to attempt one last miracle comeback, continuing to believe he can still one day play at a high level despite serious nerve damage to his body.
Part of me feels like Nash is incredibly delusional to put in all of this work and effort to get back on the court, and in my opinion, if he does, it will be in the form of an average to below-average point guard. It just seems like overkill at this point to put your body through all of this strain at 40 years old. Who knows what long-term damage he can be doing to his body by rolling out of bed every day and putting himself through rigorous training.
Then again, you can’t help but admire that same 40 year old guy, who is fighting to leave the game he loves with dignity and on his own terms. Everyone is rooting for Nash, and it is going to be incredibly scary for him this summer, because if that extra $6.5 million is the difference in getting a difference maker in free agency, the Lakers would be foolish to not use the stretch provision on him.