Lakers add Nash in sign-and-trade w/Suns
The Lakers didn’t just patch a hole on the roster at point guard, general manager Mitch Kupchak landed one of the best to ever play the position in eight-time All-Star Steve Nash.
The two-time MVP was acquired from the Phoenix Suns in a sign-and-trade deal. The Lakers traded a package of draft picks — first-rounders in 2013 and 2015 and second-rounders in 2013 and ’14 — for Nash, who would’ve been an unrestricted free agent. Nash received an official offer from the Toronto Raptors and had interest from the Knicks and Mavericks.
“Once they told me that it could get done, as a coach you get really excited because you’ve seen firsthand what Steve Nash can do for a team,” said coach Mike Brown on Lakers.com.
The Lakers acquired Ramon Sessions at midseason after waiving Derek Fisher, but the season-ending playoff series against the Oklahoma City Thunder and All-Star Russell Westbrook showed the position to be a relative weakness.
Brown and Nash had a lengthy phone conversation, one Brown described as the most inquisitive he’s ever had with a prospective free agent addition. Over the course of the talk, Nash dug deep on topics varying from defensive strategy to granular details of Brown’s in-game situational strategy.
“They were very good questions,” Brown said. “(Like) how we’re going to defend the pick and roll … what we did against Oklahoma City in the playoffs … to what I envision his role being with us. The things he picked up on were very insightful.”
“That’s what made it exciting. He already has a feel for how he can help us in different situations.”
Nash, the league MVP in 2005 and ’06, has never been to the NBA Finals. He also had a conversation with Kobe Bryant, who convinced Nash their contrasting leadership styles — Nash the ever-positive cheerleader and Bryant the scowling, fiery competitor and sharp critic — would complement the other, not create friction.
“Kobe was great,” Nash said in a radio interview. “He was excited.”
Nash averaged 12.5 points and 10.7 assists last season. The 16-year veteran averaged 8.6 assists per game with Dallas and Phoenix. He was drafted 15th overall in 1996, two picks after the Charlotte Hornets drafted Bryant. Bryant was dealt to the Lakers.
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