The Los Angeles Lakers have been a star-packed team almost throughout their history. Even during the times a star departed no matter the reason, the Lakers always found a way to find the next big thing in the NBA. At the moment, though, LA looks mostly like a graveyard for fading stars rather than the team which will introduce the next face of the NBA to the league. Steve Nash and Pau Gasol are the two most significant examples.
The truth about Nash is that the Lakers knew what they were getting into when they decided to bring him in, through a sigh – and – trade with the Phoenix Suns. Nash is now 40 years old and he is under contract for the next season. When the team offered him a three – year deal, it new that the former superstar point guard would be 41 by the end of these three seasons. So, his struggles this season shouldn’t come as a surprise.
After 17 years in the league, Nash’s body seems to have had enough. He has missed all but 15 games this season and although he just recently made it to the third spot of the list of players with the most assists in the history of the league, his nothing but a shadow of his old self. There are several people around the Lakers organization talking about a potential retirement. However, as he stated earlier in the season, he doesn’t plan to retire after the end of the 2013 – 2014 campaign, sincerely admitting that he wants next year’s paycheck.
The most rational option for Nash, who just recently suffered yet another setback in his hamstring injury, would be to hang his shoes. Although he could probably be a reliable role member of the Lakers team next season, his $9.7 salary rather makes him a burden for LA rather than a piece with any true value.
Pau Gasol is another big example of how a superstar can turn into a shadow of himself within a year, or even less. After the success of back – to – back titles with the Lakers in 2009 and 2010, Gasol’s performance started to gradually go down. Especially since the Lakers acquired Dwight Howard last summer, Gasol seemed to be lost, like he just wouldn’t fit in Mike D’Antoni’s system, no matter what the team tried.
Pau Gasol has now missed the last four Lakers games and it’s highly unlikely that he will return this season. In fact, the Spaniard center might not even dress up with the Lakers uniform, he will hit the free agency this summer. The Lakers will most probably choose not to re-sign him, especially if his asking price is close to his current earnings.
Of course, the course of the team has certainly affected the performance of the two fading stars but in the same manner, their respective performances, along with Kobe Byrant’s consecutive injuries were a factor in the Lakers’ plunge his season. Unfortunately, since the start of the previous season things have gone in the exactly opposite direction from the one the Lakers wanted.