Steve Nash focused on recovery
"No kind of front-runner," Nash told ESPNLosAngeles.com on Thursday when asked about the current coaching candidate pool while on the set of NBA TV's upcoming documentary "The84Draft," for which Nash is the narrator. "To be honest, I've tried to get away and clear my mind, and hopefully clearing my mind will help my body. So I'm kind of just sitting back and not getting involved in the process -- even emotionally -- and just waiting to see what they decide."
Nash's stance is the opposite of that of fellow future Hall of Fame backcourt mate Kobe Bryant, who already has publicly pined for a seat at the table when it comes to deciding who will be roaming the sidelines for L.A. next season.
Nash, entering his 19th and presumably final season in the fall, said he would not seek out general manager Mitch Kupchak as the Lakers continue to conduct interviews.
"I'm completely happy to have a conversation," Nash said. "But I'm also fine having nothing to do with it."
The Lakers have interviewed five candidates so far. Former Memphis Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins interviewed Thursday, current Los Angeles Clippers assistant Alvin Gentry interviewed Wednesday, and Byron Scott, Mike Dunleavy and Kurt Rambis all interviewed last week. Only Hollins, Gentry and Scott interviewed with both Kupchak and Lakers vice president of player personnel Jim Buss.
The Lakers have no further interviews scheduled at this time, a team source told ESPNLosAngeles.com.
The reason they need a coach, of course, is that Mike D'Antoni resigned in April with a year remaining on his contract and accepted a buyout worth close to $2 million.
"I get it," Nash said of D'Antoni's decision. "It wasn't an enjoyable year for him. I think he could foresee that next year wasn't going to be any more enjoyable from his standpoint, so I'm happy for him that he was able to walk away."
Nash and D'Antoni enjoyed great success together in Phoenix, with the point guard being named MVP twice and D'Antoni earning coach of the year honors, but they never got the chance to replicate that in L.A.
"I don't regret anything, but there's disappointment not to be able to play every night and to not be at my best very often," said Nash, who played in just 63 of the 154 games in which D'Antoni coached the Lakers. "That was just disappointing because I had huge hopes and expectations of myself and the situation when I came."
Nash said D'Antoni's decision did not surprise him.
"We talked a little bit about it towards the end of the season where I could sense that he felt that he really didn't want to do it next year," Nash said. "So, if that's his wish, you want the best for him."
Despite how things turned out with the Lakers, Nash believes D'Antoni will coach again. And soon.
"I don't know for sure, but I wouldn't be surprised one bit if he ended up with another job in the short term," Nash said.
As far as Nash's near future, his top priority remains continuing to recover from the nerve root irritation in his back and hamstrings that sabotaged his 2013-14 season.
"I feel really good," Nash said. "There's still signs of the injury, but as far as my training goes, and I've even played soccer a couple times and I didn't know if I could do it, I just thought I'd go and have a little test, and I felt 100 percent.
"So it was exciting for me. But again, I know I can get to 100 percent; it's just how can I sustain it. And that's going to be the goal this year. I've tried to train a little bit sub-threshold the last month to see if I can naturally allow the nerve root to heal and become less irritated, and so far it's going pretty well."
Nash was frank following his exit interview, saying the Lakers franchise had "hit the bottom." Does he feel like the Lakers are starting to crawl back up yet?
"That's all up to what happens this summer -- who the coach is, who the draft pick is," Nash said. "Could [the pick] be traded? I don't know. There's so many combinations. Could they do something out of the ordinary? Well, that would change everything. But if the plan was to wait until next season for free agents and groom a rookie for a year with a whole cast of [roster] spots to fill? Who knows. But the next few years should be exciting. They should get a draft pick and then free agents a couple years in a row. But you got to be patient. Which sucks."
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