The 4th of July started with rumors of Steve Nash heading to the New York Knicks in a sign and trade deal that involved Iman Shumpert.
The day ended with Nash actually involved in a sign and trade to the Los Angeles Lakers for a bag of chips and some cash. Cynicism aside, the details of the deal are Nash to the Lakers for their first round picks in 2013 & 2015 , their second round picks in 2013 & 2014, plus $3million in cash.
Quite simply, the Lakers have done it again. The greatest trade heist in the NBA since their coup of Pau Gasol in 2008.
Somehow they have convinced a team to trade them a star player while they give up practically nothing in return. They have kept their core of Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Andrew Bynum together while adding one of the best pass first guards in the history of the game.
While the move does make the Lakers “older” it clearly makes them better. Nash will enhance L.A. offensively and has the resume to stand up to Kobe should the Lakers endure any difficult times. L.A will have the option of allowing Kobe to isolate when the game is on the line or allowing Nash to create a shot for any of their many options.
Nash also commands respect around the league from other players. Grant Hill is already rumored to be willing to join Nash in L.A. to give the Lakers depth at the wing position. Who knows who else may suddenly have interest in joining the Lakers as as result of Nash going to LA LA land.
Speculation is also running wild that L.A. has now gained momentum in their pursuit of Dwight Howard. With Nash on board the indecisive Howard may change his tune about signing an extension to join the Lakers. It’s a long shot but with Howard anything is possible.
If the Lakers did acquire Howard, Cavs owner Dan Gilbert would likely fire off an angry email to David Stern and then spontaneously combust. As fun as that sounds, nobody really wants to see that.
The reality of the situation is the Lakers don’t need to do anything else other than welcome Nash and get ready for next season. Period.
Nash issued a statement to ESPN about his trade late Wednesday night:
For the last 8 seasons I’ve been blessed to play for a team and a city that has embraced me and that I have come to call home. This is a tough business and the only thing constant in life is change. After talking with (owner) Robert (Sarver) and (president of basketball operations) Lon (Babby) we’ve agreed that it’s time for both of us to move in new directions. 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…I couldn’t be more grateful to the organization and Robert in particular. I know how hard this was for him and that fact that he was able to help me and my family in this way…I will never forget this gesture.
For the Phoenix Suns payroll has been cleared and they are in full rebuild mode. They are not likely to get Eric Gordon as the New Orleans Hornets will reportedly match the max offer Phoenix made to him just yesterday. Instead they will settle for the middling picks the Lakers will have over the next few years and try to add second and third tier free agents this Summer.
With Nash off the free agent table guards like Goran Dragic, Jeremy Lin, Kyle Lowry, and Raymond Felton will now all be linked to the teams Nash did not choose. (Raptors, Suns, Mavericks and Knicks).
The free agent fireworks are sure to continue well past this Independence Day.
About the Author
Written by Warren Shaw
I am an avid Basketball fan who has worked for the New York Knicks, Alonzo Mourning Charities and various other sports organizations. Having covered many NBA and various professional sporting events has given me the opportunity to provide insight with an unbiased but flavor driven view. I look forward to providing NBA content and interacting with knowledgeable fans and readers. Follow me on Twitter @shawsports or Email your questions to me at Warrenshaw@prosportsblogging.com