Steve Nash on not retiring from NBA: “I want the Money”

steve-nash-contract-retireIt’s safe to say that the past two seasons haven’t gone the way that Steve Nash or the Los Angeles Lakers had hoped for. The Lakers entered last season with title hopes, only to struggle to land the West’s seventh seed and get swept out of the first round by the Spurs. This year has been even worse since LA is currently tied with Utah for the West’s worst record at 22-44. Nash has rarely been on the court for these struggles either since he’s played in just 65 of a possible 164 regular season games the past two seasons.

This total won’t go up either because, after playing just 10 games this year, Nash will sit out the rest of the 2013-14 campaign due to leg and back injuries. At 40 years old and stuck in the second year of a three-year contract with a team going nowhere, one might think that the two-time MVP would consider retirement. However, retiring is the furthest thing from Nash’s mind right now.

In an interview/documentary with ESPN’s Grantland, which is about as candid as you can get, Nash flat-out admitted that he’s sticking with the Lakers for one more season so that he can get the remainder of his deal. Responding to all of the Lakers fans who’ve been bashing him for continuing to play, Nash told Grantland, “It’s just a reality, I’m not going to retire because, you know, I want the money. It’s honest.”

Signed prior to the 2012-13 season, Nash’s three-year contract gives him $27.9 million – $8.9 million last season, $9.3 million this year, and $9.7 million for the 2014-15 campaign. So yea, there’s definitely some motivation for Nash to play one more season and collect on nearly $10 million more before heading off into retirement.

Of course, continuing to play could have negative implications on how people view Nash’s career when he retires – at least in the minds of Lakers fans. But you also have to consider that the 8-time All-Star is human and he’s got a right to keep playing basketball. “We want honest athletes but at the same time you know you’re going to have people out there who are like, ‘Oh man, he’s so greedy, he’s already made X amount of money in his career and he’s got to take this last little bit,” Nash said in response to his critics. “Yes, I do. I have to take this last little bit. I’m sorry if that is frustrating to some. But if they were in my shoes they would do exactly the same thing. I don’t believe for a minute that they wouldn’t.”

steve-nash-contract-retire-1It’s also worth mentioning in all of this is that Nash didn’t suddenly become a greedy money hoarder, looking for one final big payday at the expense of his last team. As the 3-part Grantland documentary shows, he’s working hard to rehab his back and knee in an effort to play well next season. From hitting the weight room to doing yoga on the beach, the storied point guard isn’t just trying to be a leech on the Lakers organization. He said as much with the following excerpt:

While I’m not willing to retire and give up that last year of my contract, I’m also not willing to sit back and say ‘Yeah, I don’t quite feel it today’ and ‘Yeah, I don’t quite feel it’ the next day and so on and so forth until I’m forgotten about and the contract is over. But that’s just not me. I still love the game enough. I still love the fight and want to do everything I can to get back out there. That is a real, genuine affection for this game that I have.

One of the last things that Nash discussed was how he doesn’t want to hold the organization back or prevent LA from evaluating younger players during this meaningless season. Now that he’s officially sidelined for the rest of the year, he certainly won’t be standing in anybody’s way.

It’s hard to see Nash making a huge impact next season, especially the way this year has gone, with him averaging 7.6 PPG, 4.7 APG and shooting just 36% in 10 appearances. This definitely isn’t the same guy who fueled nearly unstoppable offenses during lengthy stints with the Dallas Mavericks and Phoenix Suns.

But even if Nash fails miserably to rekindle any sort of magic in his last year with the Lakers, he’ll at least retire with some outstanding numbers. The Canadian boasts career averages of 14.3 PPG, 8.5 APG, 90.4% free-throw shooting and 42.8% three-point shooting. Regardless of how salty LA fans may be about him sticking out the last season of a guaranteed contract, you can’t deny Nash’s career-long success. And it’s sure to land him a spot in the NBA Hall of Fame someday.

Stephen Curry vs. Mark Jackson Three-Point Contest features Big Surprise

mark-jackson-stephen-curry-three-point-contestA clip recently surfaced of the Golden State Warriors having fun at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. And the highlight of this fun: a three-point contest between All-Star Stephen Curry and his coach, Mark Jackson.

Actually, this doesn’t sound like much of a contest at all because Curry is one of the deadliest sharpshooters in the NBA, boasting a career 43.9% shooting average from behind the arc. His shooting form is just as pretty as his numbers suggest.

Jackson, on the other hand, has a few things working against him. For starters, it’s been a decade since he last played an NBA game. And although he wasn’t totally inept from the three-point line when he did play, Jackson was a mediocre 33.2% shooter from downtown. And as for his shooting form, well, the former Pacers guard’s ugly push shot leaves a lot to be desired.

So, with the background now set, would you believe that Jackson actually dominated his young padawan in this three-point contest? As can be seen in this clip, Curry shot a very disappointing 6-for-15 from three different spots on the court. Meanwhile, Jackson showed that he can be very proficient when given all day to shoot as he went 9-for-10 during the challenge – sweeping all three spots in the process.

Jackson did have a small advantage in that he got two years of practice at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse court (then-Conseco Fieldhouse practice court) in the late 90s. However, it’s still an impressive showing from the old veteran. Curry took the beating in stride, joking afterward about how this was like a regular season college game, and he would turn things on if there was an NCAA Tournament-style three-point contest among the Warriors.

He’s no doubt got more competitive things to worry about with Golden State battling for playoff positioning in the tough Western Conference. The 36-24 Warriors are currently the sixth seed in the West, four-and-a-half games behind the fifth-seeded Rockets (40-19) and fourth-seeded Clippers (41-20). However, they’re only half a game ahead of seventh-seeded Phoenix Suns and eighth-seeded Dallas Mavericks.

Phoenix Suns Guard Archie Goodwin poised to be Breakout Rookie

archie-goodwin-1When the 2013 NBA Draft ended, few people were focused on Archie Goodwin. After all, the University of Kentucky product was only picked 29th overall, and he wasn’t expected to do much, given that he was just 18 years old at the time. But then the Summer League came and everything quickly changed for Goodwin.

The 6’5″ combo guard averaged 13.3 PPG and 3.3 RPG during his seven-game stint in Las Vegas. Perhaps the most telling stat behind Goodwin’s Summer League success was that he hit 57% of his three-point attempts. This is quite an accomplishment for somebody who made less than 30% of their three-point shots in college.

Aside from putting up good numbers, Goodwin has also impressed league observers with his controlled confidence. “It wasn’t a surprise to me how well I played,” he said when discussing the Summer League. “It was a surprise to everybody else. I just feel like I got the opportunity to do the things I was able to do and I showcased it.

archie-goodwin-2“It wasn’t what I learned about myself. It was more or less what I showed everybody else. I was showing everybody else I could do more things than they thought I could.” Goodwin later added, “I always feel like I’m the best player on the court no matter who’s on the court. It’s just a matter of me taking care of opportunities.”

Of course, as NBA fans know, lighting up the Summer League against a bunch of rookies and roster hopefuls is one thing. But competing against the likes of Kobe Bryant and James Harden is an entirely different thing. Star guards like these are used to handling upstart rookies such as Goodwin. And even though the recently-turned 19-year-old has an exceptional ability to get to the basket, he’s going to need more than this to compete with the best.

Goodwin’s new coach, Jeff Hornacek, hit on this topic in a recent interview about his new rookie. “He’s got that ability to get to the basket,” he said before the Summer League. “But when he really attacks the basket, not just think shot. He’s got to think ‘is it open for the shot?’ If not, do something else.

archie-goodwin-3“And those are things that are a little different in the NBA. Things collapse a little bit quicker than in college. In college, once you make the turn those guys can pretty much get to the basket with no problem. In this league, they get around that turn and all of sudden, in their heads they’re thinking “I’m gonna get to the basket” and all of a sudden it’s closed off.”

Obviously Goodwin showed this summer that he’s capable of more than just a quick first step and ability to drive. The 57% clip in which he hit three’s in Vegas shows an improving outside shot. Plus the Arkansas native is a talented and willing defending – a factor which is guaranteed to earn him playing time on the Suns.

It’s quite possible that Goodwin could even step into a starting shooting guard role if he develops early on. The only other shooting guards on the Phoenix Suns roster include P.J. Tucker (6.4 PPG, 4.4 RPG), Malcolm Lee (4.9 PPG, 2.4 RPG) and Gerald Green (7.0 PPG, 2.4 RPG).

None of these guys are exactly All-Stars, so the opportunity is definitely there if Goodwin can seize it. He just has to prove that he can keep hitting outside shots during the regular season and show a nice touch on his floater.