Steve Nash uncertain about future

After 18 seasons, can Steve Nash continue to compete in the NBA at a high level?

Derick E. Hingle

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Competition. Enjoyment. Playing the game he loves to play. Being a good teammate. 

These are the things Lakers guard Steve Nash wants to continue to play for.

But the question is after 18 seasons, can he continue to compete in the NBA at a high level?

"I think I proved to myself that I can still play at a high level," said Nash while addressing the media at Lakers exit interviews on Thursday. "It’s just how many minutes and how often. That’s what I got to try to figure out."

This season he could only be counted on for 20.8 minutes per game while seeing action in just 15 games. 

The veteran point guard admits it would be great if he could play a similar amount of minutes for a range of 50-65 games, but at this point he’s just not sure how his body is going to hold up.

The goal was to enter the offseason healthy, but after having a setback on Apr. 8, the night he passed Mark Jackson for third on the NBA’s all-time assist list, Nash hasn’t seen the court since.

"I’m not healthy," he said. "I couldn’t have played last night (in San Antonio). I would have loved to (but) I’m not healthy enough to. Hopefully, I’m like three or four weeks from being healthy."

Nash hopes the 3-4 week timetable sticks, and if so it would be tremendously less than the five-month saga he endured in preparation for and during the 2013-14 season.

The Lakers point guard admits he "wasn’t right" at the start of the season. Last offseason, he was able to do some work on the court but he wasn’t able to sprint for five months. The 2013-14 season, of course, was filled with "one, nagging little injury after another." It wasn’t until February until he had some confidence in the way he was able to move on the floor, he said.   

There was a time during the season when the Lakers asked him to sit with the playoffs not looking like an option and the team wanting to evaluate the younger point guards on the roster.

Nash says there wasn’t any pushback from him on the decision from management, but it was something he thought long and hard about because he wanted to play. In the process he found clarity.  

"They can’t rely on me, frankly," Nash said. "We don’t know what I’m going to bring and so they had to evaluate those guys for next season."

Will they be able to rely on him next season?

"I’m going to try to uncover every stone and see what the solutions are out there, but I really don’t know," Nash said. "My M.O. is just to work as hard as I can and leave nothing to chance and see what I can do next year, but I’m unfortunately in a position where I’m not sure."