NBA AM: Nash A Laker, Is Howard Next?
Nash A Laker: As we covered in this space yesterday, the Los Angeles Lakers were late to the dance with Steve Nash, but after a contentious back and forth with the Phoenix Suns yesterday, the Lakers were able to consummate a deal.
Free agent guard Steve Nash will be signed-and-traded to the Lakers using the traded-player exception from last season’s Lamar Odom trade, netting Nash a three-year deal worth more than $28 million. The Lakers will send two first-round picks (2013 and 2015) and two second-round picks (2013 and 2014) to Phoenix. The Suns will also get a traded-player cxception worth roughly $8 million, which they can use in other trades.
Nash explained that making the deal was not easy and that the New York Knicks were equally aggressive, but that Suns owner Robert Sarver, who was against helping the Lakers, eventually relented.
“After talking with Robert and Lon we’ve agreed that it’s time for both of us to move in new directions,” Nash told ESPN.com’s Marc Stein. “I approached them and asked if they would be willing to do a sign-and-trade deal with L.A. because it is very important to me to stay near my children and family.
“They were very apprehensive and didn’t want to do it. Fortunately for me, they reconsidered. They saw that they were able to get assets for their team that will make them better, assets they would not have otherwise had and it made sense for them to do a deal that helps their team get better.”
“I couldn’t be more grateful to the organization and Robert in particular,” Nash told ESPN.com. “I know how hard this was for him and that fact that he was able to help me and my family in this way … it means a lot and says a lot about his character. I will never forget this gesture. Above and beyond.
“The Phoenix Suns are an amazing organization and fans should be excited about their future. I hope the Suns win a championship someday soon for all the amazing fans and wonderful people in the organization.”
Nash’s deal cannot become official until July 11th, however word is he has already started recruiting former Suns’ teammate Grant Hill to join him in Los Angeles with the Lakers.
Hill has received similar recruiting pitches from the Miami HEAT and the New York Knicks.
With the acquisition of Nash, the Lakers are said to have turned the page on Ramon Sessions, who opted out of his deal with the Lakers hoping to re-sign for a longer term.
The 38-year-old Nash will become the longest term Laker on the roster, joining Christian Eyenga as having contract dollars owed in 2014-15.
Prior to last season’s trade deadline, Dwight Howard asked the Orlando Magic to pursue Nash. Sources close to the situation said that Howard was pushing for Orlando’s front office to trade for the veteran point guard for much of February. Now, with Nash in Los Angeles, it’s possible that Howard may give the Lakers the long-term commitment that they’re seeking before trading for the superstar center.
Suns Closing Deals: After netting four draft picks for guard Steve Nash, the Phoenix Suns reached verbal agreements with both Wolves’ forward Michael Beasley and Rockets’ guard Goran Dragic.
The Beasley deal will be for three years and $18 million, a far cry from the $94 million Derrick Rose signed last year. Beasley, the former second overall pick, was looking for a situation where he would get ample playing time and that’s exactly what the Suns offered him.
Dragic agreed to a four-year, $30 million offer with Phoenix. Dragic is an unrestricted free agent and gave the Houston Rockets every opportunity to re-sign him, however the Phoenix offer included guarantees that he will start for the Suns, which is what Dragic was seeking. Dragic’s offer include an annual $1 million All-Star bonus, which could drive the total value of the deal to $34 million
Both deals are verbal commitments pending the lifting the of the July moratorium on July 11th.
Not Done Yet: Hasheem Thabeet will get another chance in the NBA after agreeing to a two-year, fully guaranteed NBA minimum deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Thabeet was the second overall pick in 2009.
In four seasons in the NBA, Thabeet has played in just 135 games, logging 1907 minutes of playing time with a career average of 2.2 points and 2.7 rebounds per game.
The Thunder drafted Perry Jones III last week and will look at Thabeet as a project big. The Thunder operate their own D-League team, so expect Thabeet to spent ample time between the two next year as the Thunder attempt to see if Thabeet can become anything in the NBA.
Looking for the latest news, notes, and rumors surrounding the 2012 Free Agent race. Check out the Free Agent Diary. Updated throughout the day with the latest news and information.
The News and Notes: There are some smaller tid-bits worth noting so here there are:
Lin Gets Offer, No Commitment: Restricted free agent Jeremy Lin got his contract offer from the Houston Rockets. It’s believed to be a four-year offer worth $31 million, which is not bad for a kid who was worried about being cut from the NBA just six months ago. Lin’s camp has not committed to the Houston, but they do have a basis to start with.
With the Knicks swinging and missing on Steve Nash, it’s all but inevitable that the Knicks match the offer on Lin, so this may just be an exercise of driving up the price.
The Knicks have been talking with free agent guard Raymond Felton and there appears to be mutual interest on a deal, which would likely consume the bulk of the Knicks’ exception money. Another possibility for the Knicks is acquiring Felton in a sign-and-trade, as Alan Hahn reported this morning. New York could offer some combination of Toney Douglas, Dan Gadzuric and Jerome Jordan in addition to cash.
Where Does Aaron Brooks Land? With Goran Dragic in the fold for the Phoenix Suns, sources say that restricted free agent Aaron Brooks is not in the mix for a return to the Suns, especially on the heels of drafting Kendall Marshall out of UNC. League sources say the Suns are unlikely to match any offers on Brooks and would be open to a sign-and-trade with Brooks if it benefited them, even with just a traded-player exception.
Brooks spent last season in China and sat out the last part of the NBA season. Brooks is said to be in great shape and 100 percent healthy. He has had contact with several teams, so there is a market for his services and now that the top tier guards are coming off the board, his camp is expecting things to pick up.
Not Moving Pau or Bynum: The Los Angeles Lakers landed Steve Nash, and are still talking with the Orlando Magic about Dwight Howard, but beyond that the Lakers are saying – in fact told Steve Nash – that they were not looking at any core changes to the roster. Meaning Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum are not likely going anywhere. Beyond landing Howard, which sources label a long-shot, the Lakers don’t seem overly engaged on anything major involving a trade.
The Lakers had substantial talks with Michael Beasley, which would have been a sign-and-trade deal using their traded-player exception, but once Nash became an option the Lakers turned to that deal and Beasley turned to the Suns.
The Lakers are talking with Rashard Lewis and Grant Hill according to sources, but both would have to agree to low-dollar deals to be a Laker and they are said to be weighing their options.
The Lakers still hold the Bird Rights on Ramon Sessions and sources say they would be willing to do a sign-and-trade with Sessions if it helped them add another piece to their roster.
Ersan and The Bucks: The Milwaukee Bucks offered free agent Ersan Ilyasova a five-year, $40 million deal to stay with the team, however his camp is still surveying the landscape for a better deal.
The Brooklyn Nets are one of the situations Ersan is considering, and while landing Dwight Howard from Orlando still remains a top priority for the Nets, they are starting to get the sense that a deal with Orlando is not going to happen.
The Nets would need a sign-and-trade to make an Ilyasova deal happen, so it’s not a given that Ersan is in Brooklyn next year but it is something both sides are considering.
There is an interesting wrinkle to what Brooklyn is doing as it pertains to Howard.
If the Nets re-sign Brook Lopez and make a deal for Ilyasova, both become locked into deals for next season.
Howard has said if he does not land in Brooklyn via trade now, he’ll play out his contract and hit free agency next summer.
Brooklyn cannot force Brook Lopez into a Howard deal now without his consent, however if he signs a new deal with the Nets, they could trade him next summer to whatever team has Howard in a sign-and-trade deal.
A couple of things happen on that front… teams will get a sense of how Lopez is recovering from a foot injury that claimed most of last season and whether he’s worth the financial commitment. The Nets can see if Howard’s back surgery is going to be a problem or change how he plays.
Landing Howard now still seems to be what the Nets are trying to do; however, waiting a year might make more sense for all in involved, especially if the Nets have players like a healthy and productive Lopez to pair with Ilyasova in a sign-and-trade deal next summer.
J-Kidd Staying In Dallas: The word is Jason Kidd will be back in Dallas on a two-year deal. Kidd had been talking with the Nets and Knicks, but it seems with Dallas swinging and missing on Deron Williams and Steve Nash, returning Kidd was the best options.
Dallas is expected to meet with Jeremy Lin and could make an offer to him as well, although it’s unlikely Dallas ties up money in Lin after missing out on a major chip.
The Mavs have been at the Orlando Magic regarding Dwight Howard and its believed they will continue to push on that front.
The Magic seem to be taking their time and being diligent in talking with everyone they can.
Dallas was originally on Howards’ so-called list of teams he’d extend with. Although, in recent weeks, Howard has hinted Brooklyn was the only option.
With Brooklyn fading and the Mavericks calling, a deal to Dallas still remains an option, but the Magic have said they will do the deal that benefits them the most.
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