Dustin stops crying from excitement just long enough to recount the blockbuster trade that sent Steve Nash to the Lakers.
The stars are shining a little brighter in LA this morning as Lakers fans still may be celebrating yesterday’s holiday; the day Steve Nash came to LA.
The news is shocking as just a week ago Nash was commenting on how odd it would be to wear the Lakers uniform after all of the intense games and playoff series the two teams shared.
Many throughout the league believed that the free agent PG would either be dealt to the New York Knicks or his home team Toronto Raptors to spend the rest of his career dazzling the crowd in Madison Square Garden or playing for his native country’s team despite their unlikely playoff contention.
The decision ultimately came down to Nash’s own decision as well as the understanding of the Phoenix Suns organization, who wanted to give him thanks for his team-shaping 8 years running point for them. Nash is reportedly said to have chosen the Lakers after a few long talks with Kobe Bryant, realizing that the team was a good fit for him in terms of contending for a championship, the one thing missing in his sure-fire Hall of Fame career, but also, the move lets him live just an hour away from his family.
The specifics of the sign-and-trade deal have the Lakers acquiring Nash on a 3-year 27 million dollar deal, as the Suns collect the Lakers’ 2013 and 2015 first round picks, as well as second round picks in 2013 and 2014, a steep price for the 38 year old PG, but his wisdom and love for the game are the perfect atmosphere to have the newer players learn from, not to mention that Kobe now has another veteran presence in the locker room as the loss of Derek Fisher last season hurt the team the rest of the way.
As a Lakers fan, I’m ecstatic to hear the news because a player of Nash’s caliber, even at an advanced age, is the perfect backcourt complement to Kobe. Nash is a passer first, but is also not afraid to take clutch shots and is well familiar with high pressure situations, something that Ramon Sessions struggled mightily with this last postseason.
While Nash is obviously a short term answer to the Lakers’ PG situation and they did give up a lot of draft picks to get him, the impact he could have on young players like Darrius Morris or Andrew Goudelock cannot be argued.
I am not completely without reservations though because after all he is a 38 year old who has logged tons of mileage on his knees and legs, and it will be interesting to see how he and Kobe get along when the training camps first open, but I’m just too excited to care right now.
The move is a complete surprise for a few reasons:
- Lakers owner Jim Buss had been adamant so far this offseason that the team would be making no drastic changes to its’ roster.
- Nash was so adamant about not going before, and he doesn’t seem like a liar, he’s too nice and Canadian for lying.
- We can only sit and wonder what exactly Kobe said in those conversations that swayed him; my personal favorite is a Kobe system-esque “You’re welcome” after every sentence.
- Phoenix just traded the face of their franchise to arguably their biggest rival and they did it out of respect to the player.
This last one really sticks with me, in a league where players can be traded at any moment, no matter how big a star or fan favorite, the fact that the Suns management willingly said “Steve, thank you for everything you’ve done for us these last 8 years, now go. Do we know you’ll be back to crush our spirits in the regular season? Yes. Could we possibly be setting ourselves up to be disappointed even more should we meet in the playoffs? Yes. But that doesn’t matter right now, just go get your ring.” This type of loyalty symbolizes Nash’s relationship with the Suns perfectly.
So yes, the Lakers get the headlines, but the Suns and their organization get the respect.
Dustin Brewer is a writer/co-editor-in-chief at hefferbrew.wordpress.com/hefferbrew.tumblr.com. He is currently on shop.NBA.com counting down the minutes until he can own a Nash jersey despite years of jeering him and the Suns as they continually ripped out his heart, but hey, it happens.