Lakers Rumors: Steve Nash Could See His Role Diminished Next Season

Lakers rumors are swirling in the offseason, from the estimated return of Kobe Bryant to the precarious status of center Dwight Howard.

But overlooked in all of the rumors is an emerging situation with the team’s aging guard — and no, it isn’t Kobe Bryant. Steve Nash will turn 40 in the middle of next season and was plagued by injuries in 2012. Now rumors say the Lakers point guard would come back to a greatly diminished role in 2013.

The source of the rumor is Gary Vitti, the Lakers trainer. He spoke to Mike Trudell of about the rash of injuries the team faced last year, including an Achilles tear for Kobe Bryant that ended his season and the team’s hopes of a playoff run.

In the midst of all of it, Vitti shed some light on what could happen to Nash next season. He compared the guard to Robert Horry, who was able to revive his game late in his career by going to San Antonio and reducing his minutes.

Vitti seemed to suggest that a similar role could be in order for Nash.

“But I think he’s going to come back in great shape, and then it’s all about how he’s used,” Vitti said. “You don’t want to beat him up in practice. Save it for the game, figure out the appropriate minutes that put him in a successful situation.”

Nash hasn’t exactly been ridden hard as of late. The guard hasn’t averaged above 35 minutes per game since 2005-06, and he was still able to hit 49 percent of his shots last year, including 44 percent from behind the three-point arc.

If the Lakers rumors about Steve Nash are true, the team could be on the lookout for another point guard. It’s a little thin behind Nash on the depth chart, with only Darius Morris and Chris Duhon on the roster. Combined the two averaged 6.9 points and 4.5 assists last season.