Kobe Byrant and Steve Nash have had quite the tumultuous injury-filled season to say the least. Bryant has been out since December with his fractured knee and Nash attempted to return a couple weeks ago but has since found his way off the court again due to chronic nerve and back pain.
“The doctors haven’t cleared Kobe so it’s a non-issue right now,” D’Antoni said. “The thing is, does he get back and play some games to get his rhythm back for next year or just wait? So I don’t know.”
D’Antoni was asked whether he sees a benefit from Bryant playing again this season.
“Not really,” he said, adding quickly. “That’s not on me. That’s something that they’ve got to figure out.”
His prognosis on Nash was just as bleak if not worse.
“I don’t know what to tell you,” D’Antoni said. “What’s the endgame? We’ve talked about it. He’s not completely healthy. We have 23 games left. We’re not going to make the playoffs. So what’s his objective in taking minutes away from the young guys that we’re trying to develop?
“Now, if Steve starts to feel better, then we’ll see. It’s always an ongoing process in talking to him, but it’s not something that’s on the horizon right now.”
Nash has made it clear that the thought of retirement has entered his mind, but that hasn’t changed the fact that he wants to return next season for his final season under contract.
“I want to come back for sure,” Nash said. “You never know what the case is in a month or a week or two weeks, physically, from a club standpoint, from my standpoint. You’re looking at potentially the last few months of my career. I didn’t want to just let that slide by without getting back on the court, so it motivated me. But who knows now?”
The Lakers could decide by Sept. 1 to use the stretch provision on Nash which means the Lakers would waive him and pay off his salary over the next three seasons, thus diminishing his salary’s cap hit on the coming years.
Its unfortunate to see these all-time greats pressed to the pine for so long, but at this point it’s almost a liability for the Lakers to have them back out on the court. With this team not making the playoffs, and no reason to attempt to play better this season, the two guards are better off resting up and watching from the bench as this season smolders away.