PHOENIX (AP) – Steve Nash wanted to go to the Los Angeles Lakers. He just needed an assist.
The Phoenix Suns would have to reach a sign-and-trade deal to facilitate the move and, according to Nash, they were reluctant.
Eventually, they relented and the two-time MVP point guard is going to the Pacific Division rival he tried so hard to beat, with little success, in his eight seasons with the Suns.
In one of those odd NBA twists, the Lakers’ trade of Lamar Odom to Dallas before last season paved the way for Nash’s arrival. Los Angeles used the trade exception it got in the Odom deal to make the Nash move work.
The 38-year-old Nash was a free agent, but a sign-and-trade agreement was necessary for the Lakers to afford him. He agreed to a three-year, $27 million contract. In return, the Suns get four draft picks – first-rounders in 2013 and 2015 and second-rounders in 2013 and 2014.
Nash’s agent, Bill Duffy, said the deal was completed Wednesday about 9 p.m., EDT.
In a statement released by Duffy, Nash said that after he and the Suns agreed to part ways, he went back to the team and asked it to pursue a sign-and-trade deal with Los Angeles “because it is very important to me to stay near my children and family,” who live in Phoenix.
“They were very apprehensive and didn’t want to do it,” Nash said. “Fortunately for me, they reconsidered. They saw that they were able to get assets for their team that will make them better, assets they would not have otherwise had, and it made sense for them to do a deal that helps their team get better.”
There had been sign-and-trade talks with New York and a lucrative free agent offer from Toronto.
The deal will put Nash on the floor with the team he tried to unseat as a Western Conference power, teaming him with Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol. That could be enough to lift the Lakers back into title contention.