Trans. Oct 24 3:29 ET (Oct 24 3:29 ET ) When the Lakers traded four draft picks to sign Steve Nash, his new teammates couldn't wait to talk about what might happen when Nash began distributing the ball to the likes of Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol. A day after Nash's season - and possibly his career - ended before the regular season opener there wasn't much said at all about the point guard who never played enough to make a difference in Los Angeles. We haven't talked about it at all,'' Lakers coach Byron Scott said Friday. You send out well wishes and then try to move on.'' That didn't mean Scott didn't have some compassion for the 40-year-old Nash, who announced jointly with the Lakers on Thursday that he would miss his 19th season in the league because of a back injury.
Later this month, Paul Pierce will play his first game as a member of the Washington Wizards, which is nearly as weird as what he did 12 months ago, when he played his first game as a member of the Brooklyn Nets. His former teammate in Brooklyn and Boston, Kevin Garnett, still plays in Brooklyn, still working in a Nets uniform that looks as weird on him now as the Celtics uniform that looked super-weird on him in 2007 after KG donned it following 12 seasons in a Minnesota Timberwolves uniform. Kevin Love, meanwhile, will sport a Cleveland Cavaliers uniform this season after half as many seasons as Garnett played in a Wolves uni, working alongside LeBron James in a Cavaliers uniform that almost immediately makes his four-year run in a Miami Heat uniform look truly weird. Weirdness abounds, as longtime stars jump from one team to another, especially as stalwarts like Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan and Dirk Nowitzki stick to the same team for the duration of their careers. That’s just how this league works, it’s how it’s always worked, and Paul Pierce wouldn’t mind it continuing to work that way. Via Pro Basketball Talk , here is an interview Pierce recently gave with the Associated Press: This is in no way a dig at Paul Pierce, who has enjoyed a fantastic, Hall of Fame career, but he is in a tier of star just below the Kobe/Tim/Dirk triptych mentioned above. Pierce was nearly traded from the Celtics once things went sour in Boston during the middle of the last decade, and Pierce’s most closest contemporary – Vince Carter – is about to suit up for his sixth NBA team this season. Seventh, if you count the draft night trade that sent Carter from Golden State to Toronto. Most notably, Michael Jordan ended his career in a Wizards uniform. Oscar Robertson was dealt late in his career in a move that would be widely derided by cranks in the modern era as he attempted to chase a ring with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in Milwaukee. Wilt Chamberlain was traded twice in his career and he would have ended his time as a player with an ABA team in San Diego had the courts not gotten in the way. Larry Bird and Magic Johnson never switched jerseys, but Moses Malone and Shaquille O’Neal combined to wear sixteen different pro uniforms over the course of their lengthy careers. Boston Celtics fans, as they gear up for yet another losing season, would love to see Paul Pierce back in a Celtics uniform, but in their hearts they know they don’t want Pierce taking minutes and shots away from developing youngsters, and they don’t mind their old hero attempting to play deep into the postseason once again for a potentially potent Washington Wizards squad. Both the Boston front office and Pierce’s own anxious feet feel the same. It’s a win-win. Before we laud Bryant, Duncan and Nowitzki for their commitment to their longtime teams (Bryant and Dirk were both drafted by other franchises and traded soon after), things could have turned out different for that trio. Kobe visited the Clippers and Bulls as a free agent even after he forced the Shaquille O’Neal move to Miami in 2004, and he very publicly demanded a trade in 2007. Tim Duncan was very close to signing with the Orlando Magic in the summer of 2000, and while Nowitzki never had much reason to leave Dallas, his onetime running partner Steve Nash left the Mavs in 2004 to play for a crummier team, only because they offered him more money. Players move. Superstar players move, even, and the teams they leave are sometimes (if not “often”) just fine with them moving. There’s a reason these guys get away, there’s a reason why Boston and Brooklyn passed on retaining Paul Pierce, and smart hometown fans understand this. It’s not a question of loyalty, because it is the team that would usually dump the player in a second if given the chance. It’s not a question of nouveau ethics, either, because these sorts of moves have been going on for decades. It’s how pro basketball works, and Paul Pierce is completely correct in his estimation that this is and will always be a good thing. - - - - - - - Kelly Dwyer is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at KDonhoops@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @KDonhoops
The Los Angeles Lakers’ prospects were never going to be all that swell in 2014-15 . The team is thin, injury-prone, lacking defenders, and featuring a questionable mindset when it comes to attempting three-pointers. One saving grace that fans did have to look forward to was the potential, at last, for a pairing of a healthy Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant. Though the two would have been diminished by age and injury, the throwback backcourt would have been fun to take in. We’ve, again, been denied a chance at watching as much. Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report was the first to drop word on Thursday evening that Nash will be ruled out for the entire 2014-15 season because of ongoing nerve damage in his back. The two-time MVP has said repeatedly that he has no interest in moving his family away from Los Angeles in order to join another team, so barring an unexpected contract offer from the Lakers or Los Angeles Clippers next season, Steve Nash will effectively retire after this diagnosis. It’s an incredibly unfortunate end to a career that, as recently as 24 months ago, seemed to be aging better than most other players in NBA history. Nash played All-Star level ball in his final year with the Phoenix Suns in 2011-12, leading the NBA in assist percentage and working in 62 of that season’s 66 games. The Lakers were all too giddy to send a pair of first-round draft picks Phoenix’s way for the right to sign Nash to a three-year, nearly $28 million contract during that offseason, teaming Nash with Bryant and eventually All-Star center Dwight Howard in the Laker lineup. Things fell apart almost immediately, as Nash fractured his left leg in Los Angeles’ second game of the season, and his subsequent rush to return from that injury resulted in the back, neck and nerve pain that limited his 2012-13 run, and benched him for nearly all of the next season. With nearly a year and a half’s worth of rehab to his credit including the lost 2013-14 season, Nash seemed prime to give it one last go this year, and give his career a proper, if lottery-bound, send off. Nash started his team’s first two exhibition games, but had to ask out of the first quarter of the second contest against the Golden State Warriors. Days later, he reportedly re-injured his back while carrying luggage, which resulted in the future Hall of Famer missing practice. Now Nash has this diagnosis, and we have the grim knowledge that we’ve probably already watched Steve Nash play his last NBA game. What we should then do with that knowledge is thank our lucky stars that we ever got to see him at all. Some 14 years ago, around this time, Steve Nash was battling Howard Eisley for the role as the Dallas Mavericks’ starting shooting guard. Following two injury-plagued and ineffective seasons with the Mavericks, the team smartly signed the well-regarded Eisley as starting insurance should Nash’s Achilles and back injuries continue to limit his play. Nash instead beat Eisley out and turned in a stellar season, as the Mavericks made the playoffs for the first time in 11 years. Steve went on to make the All-Star team in his next year, the first of eight such appearances. There was a real chance that the Steve Nash that we grew to know and admire may never have come to fruition had his injury woes sustained. Nash could have limped out of this league a decade ago, never thrilling us with his work with Dallas’ fabulous offensive outfit or Phoenix’s legendary Seven Seconds or Less revue. (On a personal note, Nash’s ascension meant quite a bit to the guy currently writing this. He was one of two bench afterthoughts, Darrell Armstrong being the other, that I hopped on as role players that could eventually take a star turn in this league – especially after watching Nash dominate the late goings of these two games in the first month of his rookie year. He seemed like a quicker Mark Price, or Kevin Johnson with deeper range, and to a game tape-hoarding teenager that wanted to eventually make a living covering the NBA, having Nash eventually take off meant a whole hell of a lot for my confidence in my choice of career.) Nash has yet to comment, to officially retire, and we don’t blame the guy. Having the ability to play a game that you mastered at for so long taken away from you is quite the shock, even if Nash’s nerve issues have been in place for nearly two years now. It’s just as cruel a blow to NBA fandom, with less than a week to go before the season’s tipoff, to learn that one of the greatest point guards of all time is being taken away from us. We got him for a while, though. A great while. Never forget that. - - - - - - - Kelly Dwyer is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at KDonhoops@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @KDonhoops
The Scoop:"Any free agent that would be afraid to play with Kobe Bryant is probably a loser, and I'm glad they wouldn't come to the team," Buss said in an interview on Thursday. "I have no doubt that Kobe will make people regret ever saying [those comments]." Bryant's fiery personality has been a topic of conversation for his entire career, so we're we're expecting nothing less than a motivated Black Mamba for fantasy owners who are willing to spend an early-round pick on the 36-year-old.