Lakers' Steve Nash, Byron Scott still haven't talked; Scott OK with it

Lakers' Steve Nash, Byron Scott still haven't talked; Scott OK with it
Lakers Coach Byron Scott and guard Kobe Bryant talk to referee Brian Forte before the start of overtime against the Raptors. (Michael Nelson / EPA)

Steve Nash and Lakers Coach Byron Scott still haven't spoken since Nash was declared done for the season, continuing a long game of phone tag.

Nash hasn't been around the Lakers since they shut him down Oct. 23 because of recurring back pain.


The Lakers want him to return to the team environment when he feels comfortable with it, maybe even mentoring rookie point guard Jordan Clarkson. Some of Nash's actions, though, have irritated Lakers followers, most notably posting an Instagram video of himself whacking a golf ball at a driving range.

Scott wonders why there is so much public interest in whether he has spoken with Nash, who makes $9.7 million this season. Scott and Nash have exchanged text messages and voice mails in recent weeks but an actual conversation still eludes them.

"Steve's a busy guy and I'm a busy guy as well," Scott said. "We're missing each other. I don't think he misses sleep over it and I don't miss any sleep over it, you know? He's a great guy. I've known Steve for a long time, so for us to not be able to get in contact with one another at this particular time, to me it's not a big deal."

Nash isn't the only player to have spent time away from the Lakers.

Rookie Julius Randle needed a week to return to Staples Center and watch a game after sustaining a season-ending broken leg in the Lakers' opener against Houston. He has attended several games and remains on crutches.

Wayne Ellington returned to the Lakers after an 11-day leave of absence because his father was fatally shot in Philadelphia.

Xavier Henry sustained a season-ending torn Achilles' tendon last Monday but has been at the team facility at least twice since then.

Nash, 40, played 65 games for the Lakers after being acquired from Phoenix in July 2012 for two first-round and two second-round draft picks.

If the Lakers finish with a top-five spot after the draft lottery next May, they keep the pick in next June's draft and owe Phoenix a first-rounder in 2016 that is top-three protected.

Nash, a two-time NBA MVP, will never return to the court in an NBA game because of his back. The Lakers haven't waived him and he hasn't announced his retirement because the team can still trade him as an expiring contract.

The most he could contribute would be something akin to part-time mentorship from the sidelines.

"He could, but like we said in the beginning, we want Steve to do that on his own time frame," Scott said. "When you're out for the season, you've been doing this for your whole life, that's hard to take.

"Some guys, they don't come to that realization for a long time. Right now, he wants to spend time with his family, which I can understand. He wants to just kind of take this slow."

Twitter: @Mike_Bresnahan