Tuesday 16th July 2024,
The Hoop Doctors

Nash and the Lakers Are Just Going For It

In the last few days it looked as though Steve Nash was going everywhere. At one point or another, he was either headed to Toronto wrapped up in nationalist pride; New York to rejoin Amar’e Stoudemire and rehash the “Seven Seconds or Less” movement in some capacity; Dallas to finish where he started with best bud Dirk Nowitzki; Hell, even the Heat were mentioned a few times — a move that could have possibly ripped a hole into an alternate universe of offensive basketball.

For most of yesterday it seemed that Nash was nearly a Knick, until he wasn’t. Until the Los Angeles Lakers swooped in, offered some draft picks to the Suns and to Nash, a home close enough to his home in Phoenix and a chance, because they’re the Lakers, duh, to win the ever-elusive championship still waiting to be added to his career accomplishments. In terms of new threads, Nash in Laker yellow and Sunday white is going to look pretty strange for even a highly tolerant league when it comes to switching duds like the NBA. Nash was everything about the Suns. He might still be for the foreseeable future.

The question going forward, with Nash in Los Angeles, is who will he be for the Lakers? As far as methodical, plodding teams lacking in athleticism and consistent outside shooting go, the Lakers are right up there with any other squad right now. One of the more instant knee-jerk concerns one may have regarding the move — how will it affect Kobe Bryant? — probably won’t end up being too big of a deal. Bryant is tactical already in preserving energy while getting to his points of attack on the floor; once the usual feeling-out process runs its course, Nash should serve to only make things easier on the perimeter for Bryant. Offensively, at least.

Who Nash in theory will lend the most help to will surely be the versatile Pau Gasol, considering he’s not moved, and to some extent Andrew Bynum, with his future whereabouts always under the same constant question as well. Gasol is the most likely henchman to pair in Nash’s deadly and famous two-man attacks, though, and the trade itself — unless Dwight Howard were to be involved, perhaps — makes far less sense without Gasol in the mix.

About that mix: The main lingering thought I have on this trade is regarding fit. The Lakers could very well not be done transforming this team through moves both subtle and gigantic, but as they are now L.A. just doesn’t have the feel of a team that could best put Nash’s brilliance to proper use. Of course, alternatively, part of that brilliance is that Nash has always made things so easy for his teammates that it mattered less as to who they were exactly and more that they were simply out there being guided by the former two-time M.V.P.

And I think, for now, that’s the main point here. The Lakers — a team scrambling for another title or two as their clock runs down, like an Iron Chef in the second half-hour — had a chance to land a future Hall-of-Famer in the trophy-hunting days of his career, still in great shape, still with his sixth sense-like abilities and shooting touch, for draft picks. The fit, the brass tacks of how everything is going to work, will be essential for any deep run into next spring. But it also might be too early to tell what they’ll really be dealing with. Other than the fact that Steve Nash will be running point. That’s as good a place as any for a much-needed jump start.

Griffin Gotta contributes to The Hoop Doctors and is a co-managing editor of Straight Outta Vancouver on SB Nation. The story arcs and infinite weirdness of the NBA are addictions he deals with every day. Email him at griffingotta at gmail dot com.

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