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Steve Nash: "I'm not Retiring, Beause I Want the Money"

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Although some fans and media members think it would be best if Nash simply called it a career by retiring this summer, the two-time MVP plans to continue his fight to return to the court so that he can claim the financial compensation owed to him during the final year of his contract.

“It’s just a reality,” Nash said, in a Grantland.com video documentary. “I’m not going to retire because I want the money. It’s honest. We want honest athletes, but at the same time, you’re going to have people out there saying ‘He’s so greedy. He’s made x amount of money and he has to take this last little bit.’ Yes, I do, have to take that 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 wouldn’t believe for a minute that they wouldn’t.”

During an 18-year NBA career that began in 1996, Nash has banked more than $137 million in salary. His 2014-15 salary will push that number past $146 million, and Spotrac.com ranks Nash No. 15 when it comes to highest career earnings among active NBA players.

“I could come in every day and say, ‘I’m not right today.’ Just be injured, ride out the rest of my contract and collect my checks,” Nash continued. “While I’m not willing to retire and give up that last year of my contract, I’m also not willing to just sit back and say, ‘I don’t feel it today.’ … That’s just not me. I still love the game enough. Still love to fight. I want to do everything I can get to back out there.”

As it stands, the Lakers do not have any other point guards under contract for next season, and they are giving minutes to Kendall Marshall and Jordan Farmar following the trade deadline departure of Steve Blake to the Warriors. The best available point guard options this summer include Eric Bledsoe, who will be a restricted free agent, and Kyle Lowry. DraftExpress.com also projects three point guards — Australia’s Dante Exum, Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart and Syracuse’s Tyler Ennis — going in this year’s lottery. L.A. also has the option of releasing Nash using the stretch provision, which would pay him his salary in full but allow the Lakers to spread out the money and cap hit over three seasons.