Just when one Lakers star embarks on his return to the lineup, another one may be contemplating an early exit. Last season, the Lakers signed Nash to replace longtime Laker Derek Fisher. According to respected NBA beat writer Peter Vescey, Nash may be forced into retirement because of lingering back pain. Nash has only played 22 minutes this season and was a shell of himself last season. If Nash were to retire for medical reasons, Nash would receive the $19 million owed to him over the final two years of his deal, however the final year (in 2014-15) would not count against the Lakers cap.
I'm hearing Nash's pain is forcing him 2 seriously consider calling it a career. He'd still get $ this yr & next & LA'd get cap relief next
— Peter Vecsey (@PeterVecsey1) November 19, 2013
It could be another blessing in disguise for Los Angeles. Nash's $9.7 million salary for next season is the largest amount due to a player on the Lakers roster.
If Nash's salary doesn't count against the cap, the Lakers will have $55 million to $61 million in cap space heading into next summer. By comparison, the Miami Heat had $43 million in cap room before their luxury shopping spree during the summer of 2010. That's more than enough to pursue, a variation of Lebron James, Carmelo Anthony or Chris Bosh, and link them up in L.A. with Bryant.