Los Angeles Lakers get: PG Steve Nash, 3 years, $27 million (absorbed through their $9 million dollar trade exception from the Lamar Odom deal)
Phoenix Suns get: 2013 & 2015 first round draft picks, 2013 & 2014 second round draft picks
In a completely shocking turn of events, the Los Angeles Lakers acquired Steve Nash from Phoenix tonight for a bevy of draft picks. For months Nash had been saying not only that it would be difficult to play for his playoff rival Lakers, but made serious overtures towards playing for the New York Knicks, Toronto Raptors, Dallas Mavericks and Brooklyn Nets. In fact, I wrote off an acquisition of Nash as a pipe dream in a free agency column for Silver Screen & Roll. However, after a phone call with Kobe Bryant, Phoenix’s ex-point guard changed his tune, coming to LA in search of his first ring in a city where his addition would mean they won a chip. And indeed it would.
As for the trade itself…the Lakers just got Steve F’n Nash. Even at age 38, he’s in peak physical condition, showing zero signs of wear and tear considering the minutes and intense playoff battles he’s waged over the past eight years in the desert. For years, the Lakers have lacked a pass-first point guard who was able to make the other players around him better. The triangle offense was the most efficient distributor for open shots. With Phil Jackson and that system gone, we’ve all seen the results of how the lack of a passer affects the Lakers offense – despite the speedy Ramon Sessions, Kobe Bryant and one of the best passing bigs in the league in Pau Gasol, the Show very rarely was able to get an easy shot and ranked amongst the worst in the league in transition buckets. Mike Brown’s bread and butter was throwing the ball to Kobe, Pau or Bynum in the post, and hoping that their immense skills could simply overwhelm an opposing defense, rather than use ball movement to get open looks.
With Nash in the fold, this all changes. The Lakers get arguably their second-best point guard ever, next to the irrespressible Magic Johnson. Fast-break baskets, once at a premium, will now be available in gobs. LA will finally be able to run the floor with a team general whose execution is one of the greatest ever. Players like Josh McRoberts, Matt Barnes (Nash’s teammate in 2008), Steve Blake and Andrew Bynum should see their statistic spike up like Kobe rising to the rack in 2004, while Pau Gasol could average a nightly triple-double with a passing savant like Nash on his side.
Perhaps more importantly, the team will be completely reinvigorated with this movement. Along with Kobe, Chris Paul and Kevin Garnett, there are only a few players in the league that when the game is on the line in the fourth, an intensity washes over their faces; one that screams “we are NOT losing this effing game”. Steve Nash is one of them. The Lakers have looked lazy and listless after their liberating win over the Celtics in 2010, and needed a severe jolt of energy. This might just be it. I’ve said time and time again that LA certainly has the pieces for another title, but needed someone – a coaching staff, a player, something – to bring it out of them. Nash is more than just that. He might be the key to #17.
Now, for the downside. Unfortunately, they’re plentiful.
Despite the trade for a Hall of Fame point guard, those are a lot of future draft picks. Yes, they’ll probably be in the late-twenties, but as we’ve seen with a much more judicious luxury tax, assets like draft selectio… Read more...