Now, it's been confirmed that Nash wants to return to the Lakers. Per Mike Bresnahan of the L.A. Times:
"One thing's certain: Nash wants to return next season. "I want to come back for sure," he said."I used to be a big fan of Steve Nash and his wonderfully complete offensive skill set. The seamless and smooth pick and rolls that Nash used to run were a thing of beauty; he was one of the most complete offensive players at his position and will likely be in the Hall of Fame when the time comes. However, Nash is a major burden on this team's cap situation and he isn't worth a roster spot anymore. Not when you have Kendall Marshall, Marshon Brooks, Jodie Meeks, Jordan Farmar, and Kent Bazemore to play between the two guard positions. Not when all of those players are under 28 years old and ready to step in to the rotation and provide solid overall play. Nash's defense is worse than all of those players, and his offense is no longer good enough to break even when it comes to Win Shares. And this isn't even taking into account Kobe Bryant, who will probably not return this year, but it leaves even less room for Nash in an improving rotation.
Of course, the real reason I think allowing Nash to come back is a mistake is because of the cap space he takes up. There are only five players under contract for next season (Bryant, Marshall, Robert Sacre, Nick Young and Nash); the Lakers need to fill up the rest of that roster space, hopefully by retaining all of the younger players they have and filling the cracks with a few new players via Free Agency while potentially adding star level talent via a top five pick in the NBA draft and saving their cap space for the next free agency when Kevin Love will be available. Obviously, this could backfire, but the Lakers need to keep their options open, and getting rid of Nash helps them do just that.
Nash cannot be simply cut or waived. Should Nash retire, then the Lakers will still have to pay him the 9.7 million he is owed for next year, including the cap hit. Should Nash decide to stick around for another year, then the Lakers can get rid of him via the stretch provision, saving 3 million this year, and stretching out his cap hit over the next three years. For the sake of the future, just go away, Steve.