Nash’s retirement signals end of a forgettable era for Lakers

Steve Nash is no longer a Laker, after the MVP point guard announced his retirement from the NBA on Saturday.

When you consider what the Lakers had in mind when they acquired Steve Nash and what they received, most would cringe at the return on investment.

Nash was acquired by the club in a sign-and-trade with the Phoenix Suns during the summer of 2012 for four draft picks. The Lakers and Nash agreed to a three-year deal.  

The two-time MVP would run point for a starting five that featured holdovers Metta World Peace, Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant, in addition to Dwight Howard, who also was acquired that offseason.

Together, the group would be the leaders for the franchise’s quest for a 17th NBA championship and, perhaps, more.

Those expectations were never reached. The Lakers, instead, are on the way to setting marks for the worst season in franchise history in consecutive seasons. Saturday, in an letter posted to "The Players Tribune," Nash announced his retirement from the NBA after 18 seasons.

"I will likely never play basketball again," he wrote. "It’s bittersweet. I already miss the game deeply, but I’m also really excited to learn to do something else."

Los Angeles was never able to see anything close to the form that made Nash a two-time MVP. The point guard’s brief time in purple & gold was injury riddled. Nash played in just 65 regular season games for two different coaches in his time with the Lakers. And he didn’t appear any regular-season game for the team this season under first-year head coach Byron Scott.

The injuries took a toll from the onset of his career in Los Angeles.

"When I signed with the Lakers, I had big dreams of lifting the fans up and lighting this city on fire," Nash wrote. "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. In my second game here, I broke my leg and nothing was the same."

Nash played in just 15 games last season. However, he reached a milestone by passing Mark Jackson for third on the NBA’s all-time list. That game in which he passed Jackson, however, was the last time he appeared in an NBA game. He missed the remaining four games of the season and finished his career with 10,335 assists.

He played in two preseason games for Scott this season before being ruled out for the season with a back injury.

It has been an unceremonious ending to what is sure to be a Hall-of-Fame career.

His best seasons came in the "seven seconds or less" era in Phoenix under head coach Mike D’Antoni. While the coach gets credit for the system, Nash was the maestro who orchestrated the sweet symphony.

In four seasons with D’Antoni at the helm, the Suns had four 50-win seasons, two trips to the Western Conference Finals and Nash won two MVP awards.

Nash averaged 17.5 points and 11.2 assists during that span while shooting 51.3 percent from the field and 45.1 percent from three. He turned teammates into All-Stars and always made the right play at the right time. There was no one better than Nash at doing what he did during that period.

The basketball world can thank longtime NBA head coach Don Nelson for Nash sharing that talent with the world. He told Nash it’s "selfish when you don’t shoot," the point guard wrote.

He was right.

There have been 10 50-40-90 seasons (field goal percentage, 3-point percentage, free throw percentage) in NBA history. Nash is responsible for four of them. Larry Bird is the only other player with multiple such seasons. Nash is 49-43-90 for his career.

Despite how Nash’s career came to a crashing hault, he will go down as one of the best point guards to ever play the game.