Basketball player Steve Nash may be sidelined from the Los Angeles Lakers this season due to his back injury, but that may not stop the team from trading him for a marquee player.
That's because his $9.7 million contract expires soon. Also, the NBA already granted the Lakers a Disabled Player Exception worth $1.5 million for rookie Julius Randle, According to Marc Stein of ESPN.
"League rules stipulate that the Lakers can use the exception to sign a free-agent replacement for Randle worth up to $1,498,680, which amounts to 50 percent of Randle's rookie salary," Stein wrote.
Stein then added that the Lakers can only take on a player on its roster in the last year of his current contract. As a result, Lakers officials have the option to make a Nash trade deal between now and the February deadline.
Kurt Helin of NBC Sports noted the differences between the old and new Collective Bargaining Agreement within the NBA, which is why there's speculation of a Nash trade in the first place.
"Under the old Collective Bargaining Agreement, expiring contracts had a real value, teams with them could dump them for young players, picks and things to help speed a rebuild (and give the team that took them on future flexibility)," Helin wrote. "However, under the new CBA things are different - shorter contract lengths, the amnesty that let teams dump a bad contract, the stretch provision, plus a different philosophy on assets from younger GMs have made expiring deals far less valuable."
However, Helin contends that while a Nash trade could be possible, it may not work out in the end.
"If a team takes on Nash's salary, they are going to want a sweetner," Helin wrote. "They are going to want a pick or a player, not to give one of quality back to the Lakers."
According to Helin, the Lakers are trying to be a player in the trade market this season. He also thinks that Nash, along with Jordan Hill, could be considered valuable trade chips for the Lakers due to their salaries.
A Latin Post article reports that the Lakers could try to negotiate a deal with the Phoenix Suns for Goran Dragic, who will become a free agent next summer. However, the Suns could ask for future assets in return for making this deal.
The Lakers will have to wait until next summer if they are unable to land a marquee player with Nash's expiring contract, according to Latin Post.