Steve Nash is headed to the Lakers.
That news may be a surprise to anyone that hasn’t been following NBA headlines for the last 20 hours or so. As of the morning of July 4th, Nash seemed to be headed to either the New York Knicks or Toronto Raptors. New York – with an offer featuring second-year guard Iman Shumpert and some contract flotsam and jetsam – seemed to have a slight edge. But as the fireworks faded on the East Coast, Twitter lit up with the news. The Suns and Lakers had agreed to a sign-and-trade deal to pair Nash with another future hall-of-famer, Kobe Bryant, in the Lakers’ backcourt.
In return for dealing their all-time best player to one of their most heated rivals, the Suns will get four draft picks – two first-rounders and two seconds.
The Bryant/Nash pairing raises all sorts of questions. Kobe is a notorious ball-stopper that hasn’t played beside a real floor general since Gary Payton’s brief appearance in Los Angeles. Will he be willing to put more of the Laker offense in Nash’s more-than-capable hands? Or will Nash simply take the role of spot-up three-point shooter like Derek Fisher, Steve Blake and the immortal Smush Parker? Will Nash and Pau Gasol develop into one of the league’s most devastating pick-and-roll combinations, or will the combination of Gasol and Andrew Bynum in the frontcourt clog the lane too much for Nash to operate?
Maybe the biggest question of all… are the Lakers finished making trades? Or will Mitch Kupchak follow up this coup by landing Dwight Howard?
The Suns have signed Goran Dragic away from the Rockets to take Nash’s place in the starting lineup.
With Nash crossed off their list of potential free-agent point guards, the Knicks are expected to land Raymond Felton, possibly via a sign-and-trade involving Toney Douglas. The Raptors will reportedly acquire Kyle Lowry from Houston.