Lakers Rumors: Is Steve Nash planning to retire at season's end?

Lakers rumors are getting crazy as we approach the February 20th NBA trade deadline, but today the Los Angeles Lakers' rumor cycle is focused directly on 8-time NBA All-Star Steve Nash and his career plans at season's end.

The New York Daily News' Mitch Lawrence reported earlier today that friends and confidants close to Steve Nash have been informed by the future Hall of Famer that the 2013-14 NBA season will be his last as an active player--

"Steve Nash finally made it back to the Lakers and has told a few friends this is going to be it, even though he has one season to go on his contract, at $9.7 million. Nash, who turned 40 Friday, doesn’t expect to help much, but that’s been the story of his injury-plagued Laker career. He really missed the camaraderie with his teammates when he was out for three months with a nerve injury in his back, and says he wants to experience that for at least the last part of this season before he calls it a career.”

The interesting part about all of this, as's Twitter account reported just a couple hours ago, is that Nash came out almost right away, and straightforwardly refuted the claim--

"Steve Nash just clarified that there was no truth to the reports/rumors that suggested he was ready to stop playing basketball after this yr."

This wouldn't qualify as the first time during a season that an athlete has denied retirement rumors in order to limit locker-room distraction, so we here at Chat Sports will be following the "will he?/won't he?" speculation as the final two months of the NBA regular season work their way to a close.

Nash is probable for Tuesday when the Los Angeles Lakers host the Utah Jazz, after experiencing tightness in his back and nerve irritation in his left leg stemming from a collision with Chicago Bulls' guard Kirk Hinrich in the Lakers' 92-86 loss to the Bulls on Sunday.

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