When the Los Angeles Lakers signed Steve Nash and Dwight Howard in 2012 to go along with Kobe Bryant, expectations in Southern California couldn’t have been higher. But with Howard now with the Houston Rockets, it’s time for Bryant and Nash to reevaluate everything with the Lakers in rebuilding mode.
One of the first things both of the players need to consider is the fact that the Lakers are going to be awful for a long time. Head coach Mike D’Antoni is on the hot seat, and the beloved Phil Jackson is currently working for the New York Knicks. He’s not coming back to the team anytime soon. Furthermore, former All-Star Pau Gasol is a free agent and is expected to entertain offers from other teams. Gasol is also one of eight Lakers on their final year of their contract.
With all of that said, the finger pointing within the organization has got to stop. The latest critic of the Lakers’ front office is coming directly from Bryant himself. Bryant, unhappy with the direction of the team, basically stated that he’s not satisfied with being an under .500 team, and that he’s accustomed to winning and playing for championships. The Lakers — currently last place in the Western Conference at 22-44 — were the first team mathematically eliminated from the playoffs this season. That is to be expected with any team that has an abundance of upcoming free agents, as well as season-ending injuries to both Nash and Bryant.
So, if Kobe isn’t accustomed to losing, maybe he should just shut up and retire. And while he’s at it, he should take Nash with him.
Nash, a former two-time Most Valuable Player, is currently in his 17th season in the NBA and recently stated that he has no plans on retiring after this season. His main reason for not retiring is that he wants the remaining $9.7 million dollars that is left on his contract for the 2014-15 season. If he retires now, he forgoes the remainder of that money. Bryant — who also signed a two-year, $48 million contract early in the season — could do the Lakers’ organization a big favor by retiring as well. By retiring now, both players could leave the Lakers enough cap room to sign up to three superstar free agents.
Yes, both Nash and Bryant are entitled to play as long as they want given what they have done over their brilliant careers. But, going through another injury-plagued year combined with a lot of losing could very well happen again for the Lakers. Unfortunately, it would be in everybody’s best interest if Nash and Bryant end their careers at season’s end.
Wally Jacobs is a Chicago Bulls writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @WJac1.