In a stunning turn of events, the Lakers have leveraged the traded player exception they acquired in the Lamar Odom deal into none other than Steve Nash, the point guard extraordinaire who has long been at the heart of the Phoenix Suns franchise. The initial report came from John Gambadoro, a Phoenix radio host, who tweeted this:
Nash to LA for multiple picks all but done!!!
Naturally, Twitter was about to burst open in excitement while waiting for one of the more mainstream sports journalists to corroborate this report and boy, oh boy, we got it. From ESPN's Marc Stein:
Just going up online & via SportsCenter: Sources say Suns have consented to sign-and-trade Steve Nash to Lakers for package of future picks
So yeah, break out the champagne and everything else you are probably already consuming on the Fourth of July. We will have more details on the particulars of the deal and further analysis as the story progresses. Some initial thoughts? Mitch Kupchak is a goddamn ninja. Make a toast to him. Getting Nash for essentially nothing other than picks while not trading Pau Gasol or Andrew Bynum is a coup.
UPDATE (5:44 PM): From Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic, we have more details:
In the Nash sign-and-trade, the #Suns will get 2013 & 2015 first-round picks and 2013 & 2014 second-round picks.
So basically, what we gave up in the Gasol trade. It has long been a criticism of the organization for sacrificing draft picks for short-term gain, but this is completely worth it for the best point guard the franchise has had since Magic Johnson.
UPDATE (5:57 PM): So...all those stories about people not wanting to play with Kobe Bryant? Bad teammate and all? We would like to call shenanegins. From ESPN's Arash Markazi:
Steve Nash was swayed to join the Lakers after a determined push from Kobe Bryant and will make $25 million over 3 years.
And to hammer it home more, here is Hoopsworld's Alex Kennedy:
Steve Nash chose the Los Angeles Lakers over the New York Knicks, according to source. Kobe Bryant recruited him.
UPDATE (6:06 PM): We now have details on Nash's deal and a few more details on who might accompany Nash to LA. From Yahoo! Sports' Marc Spears:
Nash gets 3-year guaranteed $27 million deal, his agent Bill Duffy tells Y! "He's ecstatic. He gets to be close to his children," Duffy said
Such a deal is expected, as it starts at the value of the traded player exception ($8.9 million) going for three years. One might be hesitant at giving a deal to someone of Nash's age, but he has proven to be remarkably productive into his late 30s and his incredible shooting ability will likely always allow him to maintain his effectiveness.
Now, from Marc Stein's report at ESPN, he also notes that Nash will attempt to recruit Grant Hill to come to L.A., and we reviewed this possibility yesterday. For the minimum, he would still be a very good acquisition.