What was once thought as a dream pairing turned into a nightmare very quickly. On Monday, Mike D’Antoni spoke on the returns, or lack thereof, of superstar Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash, and neither outlook was too optimistic.
Mike D'Antoni says he "doubts" Steve Nash plays again this season, but wouldn't rule him out
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) March 3, 2014
Kobe's return this season looks less likely. D'Antoni: "The doctors haven't cleared Kobe so it's a non-issue right now." Only 6 weeks left.
— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) March 3, 2014
Both have been on and off the court all season, with Bryant returning from an Achilles injury only to fracture a bone in his knee. Nash’s battle has been more publicized as he’s fought nerve issues all season in an effort to get back to the court. In total, the two have played just 16 games combined this year.
Bryant’s injury had a return date of early to mid February, but many setbacks and prolonged healing have led to his current status. With the season lost and nothing to fight for other than pride and draft positioning, it makes sense to sit Bryant and get him back to full health.
For Nash, his career as a Laker may very well be done. With a cap hit of over $9 million next year, the Lakers are likely to release Nash and use the stretch provision, lowering his cap hit to roughly $3 million dollars. Nash, who turned 40 last month, is already the oldest player in the league and is unlikely to play elsewhere if LA releases him.