A report by Arizona Republic Suns beat writer Paul Coro from last Thursday sheds some light on the once-unthinkable Steve Nash-to-the-Lakers deal that happened earlier this week. The biggest takeaway from it is that Phoenix, even as it was extremely cautious about sending him to a rival, did nothing on its own to keep Nash. Once end-of-season processing was finished and it became clear to Nash the Suns weren’t going to build a winner around their two-time MVP point guard, management never gave Nash an offer or asked him to meet about one.
Nash was “stung” by the inactivity but wasn’t feeling his New York or Toronto options, either, because he wanted to stay close to his kids — two 7-year-old daughters and a 20-month old son — in Phoenix.
“But if it wasn’t for the kids and if the Suns weren’t going in a new direction, I don’t think the deal happens. Once the Suns went in a new direction, my next priority was to exhaust the opportunity to be closer to the kids.”
Nash talked with the Lakers on Sunday, then got a third year on the same deal a day later. But it wasn’t until Thursday’s personal appeal with Robert Sarver and two minority owners did any kind of resolution happen. As a part-owner of a pro sports franchise — MLS’ Vancouver Whitecaps — himself, Nash had to have acquitted himself better than most players would have by playing to the owners’ business sense.
“I did want to come back, move the franchise forward and leave it in a better place than the past two seasons,” Nash said. “The Suns knew that. Once I realized they were going in a new direction, I got used to the idea that I’d be elsewhere. It’s still going to take time to get used to.”
The Los Angeles Times also wrote about the phone call between Nash and Kobe Bryant, fellow draftees in the 1996 NBA Draft who didn’t care for each other as opponents. His seal of approval was just as important as Sarver’s, really. They may have talked about the possibility of adding Grant Hill, one of Nash’s closest teammates in Phoenix, to L.A., as well.
So to recap this account, Nash did most the legwork while the Suns stood still around him. Yeah, sounds like the Suns on the court the last two years to me.
Would you have offered Nash a deal if you were the Suns?
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