All-Star point guard Steve Nash is headed to Los Angeles after the Lakers agreed to a sign-and-trade deal with the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night.
Nash, who at one point said it would be difficult to ever wear a Lakers jersey, was traded for two first-round draft picks and two second-round choices. Nash agreed to go to the Lakers over interest from the Suns, the New York Knicks, and the Toronto Raptors, who were hoping a three-year, $36 million contract offer would woo him back to his native country.
Nash reconsidered his initial stance of not wanting to play for the Lakers and asked the team's management to trade him so he could be closer to his children.
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, Nash told ESPN.com. 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.
The addition of Nash is a major move for the aging Lakers, but it might not be the right move.
There is no question that even at 38-years-old, Nash is still one of the best point guards in the NBA, but it's hard to imagine his freewheeling playing style will mesh well with Kobe Bryant's ball-stopping ways.
The two-time NBA MVP is particularly adept at running the pick-and-roll with talented big man such as Dirk Nowitzki and Amar'e Stoudemire in the past, but unless Pau Gasol is given a bigger role in the offense, it might not work alongside Bryant, who needs the ball in his hands as much as possible. Bryant reportedly personally reached out to Nash to convince him to join him in Los Angeles, but whether he'll be able to cede some power and ball control to Nash remains to be seen.
Bryant, the self-admitted alpha dog of the Lakers, will need to allow Nash to have more control than any point guard he has previously played with in the NBA. For much of Bryant's career with the Lakers, the team has had mediocre at best point guards. Derek Fisher, Derek Harper, Steve Blake, and an aging Gary Payton aren't exactly a murderer's row of competency.
Playing along such a great point guard like Nash should be a great thing for Bryant, but only if he buys in to letting Nash play his style.
If Bryant is capable of doing that, the Lakers become one of the best teams in the NBA and a strong contender to make a run at another title or two in the next few years. If not, the Lakers would have ceded their future on a trade that was doomed from the start.
Some players, no matter how good they are, just aren't meant to play together -- see the frontline mess in New York of Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire, and Tyson Chandler.
It's clear that the Lakers are going all-in on winning a title in the near future, but only time will tell whether this latest blockbuster move will work out in its favor.