The signing of Steve Nash in the summer of 2012 has proven to be a disaster for the Los Angeles Lakers. Nash has been injured nearly the entire time in his tenure with the Lakers. He has missed 93 games over the last two seasons with the club. To make matters worse, Los Angeles hired Mike D’Antoni over Phil Jackson specifically to cater to Nash’s uptempo style of play. As we all know this backfired, causing Dwight Howard to bolt town.
Yet, there might be a light at the end of the tunnel for Lakers fans. It looks as though management is heavily leaning against using the stretch provision on Nash, which would mean shedding his salary ($9.7 million) in its entirety next year. That $9.7 million expiring contract can be the difference in making a blockbuster trade next season.
Remember, the Lakers used Kwame Brown‘s expiring $9.1 million contract in 2008 and landed Pau Gasol from the Memphis Grizzlies in a trade that has worked out beautifully for both franchises. Memphis wasn’t going anywhere with Gasol and was able to clear up cap space to sign Zach Randolph while also receiving Pau’s brother, Marc Gasol in the deal. Meanwhile, the Lakers won two championships by pairing an All-Star caliber center with Kobe Bryant.
The Kwame experience in a lot of ways was similar to the current Nash experience — full of misery and torture during their Laker playing days. Like Brown, the Nash saga can also have a happy ending if Mitch Kupchak can make a cunning move to get a disgruntled player in return for the asset of an expiring deal.
The future at this point is unwritten, so the possibilities are endless in how Kupchak can use that contract. At the very least, it is a nice trade chip to have. If a good deal doesn’t come the Lakers’ way, you can just let it expire and try to sign someone like Kevin Love in the summer of 2015.