Well then… we didn’t see this coming, did we?
In an unforeseen twist that could thrust the Los Angeles Lakers straight back into title contention, two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash has successfully negotiated a sign-and-trade deal from the Phoenix Suns to the Lakers that will team him up with Kobe Bryant, according to sources with knowledge of the deal.
Sources told ESPN.com that Nash, with the New York Knicks also pressing hard to complete a similar sign-and-trade deal, was swayed to join the Lakers after a determined push from Bryant and because the move keeps him in the title hunt and allows him to stay in close proximity to his three children in Phoenix.
Nash will receive a three-year deal in excess of $25 million, sources said, because the Suns ultimately agreed to sign-and-trade him to the Lakers, who can absorb Nash via the trade exception they created by dealing Lamar Odom to the Dallas Mavericks in December.
The Suns will receive 2013 and 2015 first-round picks and 2013 and 2014 second-round picks from the Lakers, according to the Arizona Republic.
One question I have off the top is… will Rob Sarver gift wrap Nash before sending him to the Lakers?
The Suns are a joke of a franchise run by one of the worst owners in all of sports. Rob Sarver’s decisions are always motivated by money and never about winning. He’s one of the guys that damn near cost us an NBA season with the lockout.
I just wrote about this deal on Crossover Chronicles. Here’s part of my take:
The move fixes a gaping hole in the Lakers lineup. They now have a point guard who can find Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol in their comfort zones while also providing space for Kobe Bryant with his shooting. The Lakers also have a second leader on the team who will have Kobe Bryant’s respect.
There is, though, a risk involved. Nash is 38 years old. And while he keeps himself in phenomenal shape and spirit, the human body can only take so much. There is a risk that Nash’s body and skills will decline. There is also the matter of matching up against the West’s elite. Does Nash make a Lakers-Thunder series more even?
The move helps the Lakers a lot. There’s no doubt about that. We’ll have to see what they’ve got planned for the rest of the summer, though, because I still don’t think this deal helps them get past Oklahoma City. Nash is a lot like Kevin Garnett: Great, a huge key to winning, but not what he used to be.
If the Lakers lose Nash to injury, it would be pretty devastating to their chances. And at 38, that’s a lot more possible than it was when he was 28.
Still, the Lakers made a move that keeps them in “contender” status. They’re holding on just like the Celtics are: By banking on aging stars and experience with a few younger guys, including one young star capable of great things. I guess this is how it should be. The NBA’s old guards, its two most successful franchises, matching styles and fighting to keep that championship window open just enough to maybe face each other one more time before each team is completely made over.