All of this talk about where Steve Nash might end up is now over. The Phoenix Suns have agreed to complete a sign-and-trade with the Los Angeles Lakers, sending Nash to the Lakers and draft picks to the Suns. Nash will join Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum to form a mini-big four.
Since free agency started last week, Nash was being pursued by the Toronto Raptors, New York Knicks and Dallas Mavericks. Toronto offered him three years and $36 million to come back to his “home” nation (even though he was born in South Africa) and the Knicks pursued him extremely hard over the past few days. After Deron Williams signed an extension with the Brooklyn Nets a few days ago, the Mavericks turned their attention to Dirk Nowitzki‘s former teammate. But their effort was a little too late. The Lakers came out-of-nowhere and plucked Nash off the market. Nash has a new contract worth $25 million over the next three years, probably the last contract he will play-out in his storied NBA career.
Nash spent the first two and past eight seasons playing for the Suns, winning two NBA MVP‘s in his second stint with the Suns and leading them to one Western Conference Finals appearance. It’s clear that Nash is at the end of his career and the illustrious championship ring has eluded him for the first 16 years of his career. In hopes of winning at least one title before his career is over, the move to L.A. makes all the sense in the world. The Lakers lacked a capable and offensive point guard, who can not only score on his own but also get others involved. Perhaps the player who will be helped most by Nash’s arrival will be Pau Gasol, if the Lakers decide to keep their power forward. Andrew Bynum will also benefit from having a point guard with Nash’s play-making skills and passing ability. Kobe Bryant might benefit the least from having Nash on the team, but if he benefits from anything it will be by Nash giving him the ball in the right spots, making it easier for Bryant to score.
Despite his capable offense, Nash won’t help the Lakers defensively. He has never been a good defender and, at this stage in his career, he is even more of a liability.
Nonetheless, it will be an interesting dynamic in Los Angeles this coming season.
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