On a fastbreak dish to Jodie Meeks, Steve Nash moved into 3rd place on the all-time list for career assists. The 40-year old future Hall of Famer thinks this might be it for him this season, after getting hurt yet again. Per the LA Daily News:
The Lakers originally planned to shut Nash down once Jordan Farmar returned from a sprained right groin that sidelined him for the past 11 games. But Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni changed his mind in part so Nash could break the record.
“He’s healthy enough. We don’t want to go too crazy,” D’Antoni said. “But he can play some minutes and he wants to play. There’s some goals there. Why not. There’s some goals here. Why not? He can end up the year the best he can.”
Nash, who entered the game with 10,330 assists, surpassed Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson, who had 10,334 assists through a 17-year NBA career that included the New York Knicks (1987-92, 2001-02), Clippers (1992-94), Indiana Pacers (1994-96, 1997-2000), Denver Nuggets (1996-97), Toronto Raptors (2000-01), Utah Jazz (2002-03) and Houston Rockets (2003-04). Nash laughed when a reporter suggested he should wait until the Lakers play Golden State on Friday so he could break the record in front of Jackson.
On the same night Nash eclipsed Golden State coach Mark Jackson for third place on the NBA’s all-time assists list, he also revealed that this might mark the final game of a failed Lakers season that entailed a 145-130 loss Tuesday to the Houston Rockets at Staples Center.
“Because I had a pretty good setback today, I probably won’t play again,” Nash said. “If I get a good recovery over the next week, I’d love to play again. A big goal for me was not to go into the summer injured. The fact that I had a setback today was frustrating.”
The Lakers could waive Nash this offseason via the stretch provision, ensuring that his $9.8 million remaining on his contract extends through three years. Although the Lakers likely will keep Nash so his salary gets off the books in one season, he remains cognizant his uncertain health complicates such variables. Nash invited a high school student based out of Atlanta that fought cancer both to morning shootaround and the game. Even when D’Antoni recalled Nash reporting to him early in the game that “his hamstring was on fire,” the Lakers guard sounded reluctant in going to the sideline.
“If I come out, I might not ever go back in,’” D’Antoni recalled Nash saying. “I go ‘Well, either it’s the record or we’ll carry you off the floor.’ That’s the way it went. They missed so many shots and it took a while to get it.”
“I don’t play for the records,” Nash said. “I play because I love to play and love to compete and help the team.”
“Hopefully this is something I can work through quickly,” Nash said. “If I can recover enough, I’d love to play again. But I’m highly doubtful.”