The Los Angeles Lakers have just made Kobe Bryant one of the happiest players in the NBA. The pass-happy Nash, who averaged 10.9 assists last season, will be joining the Lakers via a sign-and-trade deal. The trade sent the eight-time NBA MVP to Los Angeles for first round picks in 2013 and 2015 and second round picks in 2013 and 2014 to the Phoenix Suns. He was signed on for $25 million over three years.
The Lakers and Bryant made a last-second push for Nash, who was also very close to signing with the New York Knicks. Nash, who averaged 12.5 points and 10.7 assists last season, has averaged 10+ assists in seven of the past eight seasons. He also tied his career-best in field goal percentage last season with a 53.2 mark.
I think that this move puts the Lakers right back in contention talk (as if they weren’t involved in talks already). Just take a look at this star-studded lineup: Kobe Bryant (SG), Steve Nash (PG), Pau Gasol (PF), Andrew Bynum (C) and Metta World Peace (SF).
The Suns were reluctant to accept the sign-and-trade at first, but eventually got the favorable deal they were looking for. Signing the 16-year veteran means that the Lakers no longer have interest in resigning Ramon Sessions, who opted out of the final year of his contract. The former Cavalier averaged 12.7 points, 6.2 assists and 3.8 rebounds while shooting 47.9 percent from the field with the Lakers after being trade mid season.
Two of the most important things that Nash was looking to achieve in the trade was joining a team title the star power to win a title and remaining close to his children in Phoenix.
If Los Angeles still tries to make a push for Dwight Howard, this team could shoot up the Western Conference ranks very quickly. Although it seems unlikely that the stubborn Magic center will end up in a Lakers uniform, they could reclaim Western supremacy with the additions of Nash and Howard.
I think Nash will flourish in Los Angeles, but will see his average points per game drop below ten for the first time since his fourth season in the NBA. The pick-and-roll game that head coach Mike Brown likes to run will go straight through Nash, and that’s exactly what the Canadian point guard loves the most.
Another big recent free agent signing was former Portland Trail Blazers guard Brandon Roy coming to terms with the Minnesota Timberwolves on a two-year, $10.4 million contract. This move officially ends any shot of the Cavaliers landing the three-time NBA All-Star. The Chicago Bulls, Golden State Warriors, Dallas Mavericks and Indiana Pacers were also on Roy’s list of possible landing spots.
Roy’s knees still scare me, as you seldom see players go through major surgeries and come back as the player they were before the injury. Roy, who holds career averages of 19.0 points, 4.7 assists and 4.3 rebounds with a 46.0 percent shooting mark, struggled due to his knee issues greatly in his last season with the Trail Blazers. Roy averaged 12.2 points, 2.7 rebounds and 2.6 assists while shooting 40.0 percent from the field during the 2010-11 season. He only started in 23 games that year.
The T-Wolves may have pushed themselves into a playoff-level team with this acquisition, however, they lost the battle to sign power forward Michael Beasley to the Suns for a three-year, $18 million deal. Roy was first drafted by the Timberwolves.
Doctors warned Roy of his knee problem, urging him to take time off from the game for an extended period of time. He then received treatments, and felt good enough to try a comeback in the NBA.
I think the sign is a smart move by Minnesota. They aren’t risking a whole lot to sign him, as he was a free agent already marveling or the T-Wolves front office. Roy won’t be able to match the energy level he had in the early part of his career, but he will be good enough to provide Minnesota in what they wanted from the unretired guard.