Steve Nash Trade Improves Lakers
By Jonathan Lee
July 5, 2012
Lakers Steal Nash from the Suns
July 4th is supposed to be a holiday, but that didn’t stop the Lakers from sending a lightning bolt through the NBA. Los Angeles pulled off a sign-and-trade for two-time MVP Steve Nash to pair with Kobe Bryant. The deal was made exclusively with draft picks because of the trade exception L.A. had from trading Lamar Odom to Dallas last season.
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Even at the age of the age of 38, Steve Nash was one of the most widely pursued free agents being the top target of teams like the Knicks and Raptors. Instead the Lakers acquired Nash as quite frankly the best guard Kobe Bryant has played with in his entire career. Ramon Sessions opting out of deal might have been a blessing in disguise for the Lakers.
Baseline simulations projected the Lakers without Sessions as point guard because he was (and still is) a free agent. In them they trailed projected top seed San Antonio by a full 10 games in the standings. With Nash the Lakers improved by over seven games in simulations and jumped from 4th to 3rd in the West (OKC is 2nd). L.A. is also the significant favorite to win the Pacific Division again over the Clippers improving from 39.9 to 66.2 percent.
Another factor of this deal is that no other players were sent to Phoenix leaving plenty of assets on the roster. Either Andrew Bynum or Pau Gasol could still be traded, and represent significant trade chips for other teams. That leaves the Dwight Howard question very much in play. Even if either big man isn’t traded the Lakers still can improve by acquiring more help on the wing. Getting more athleticism on the perimeter is still a top priority. Still, this deal will help likely help extend the careers of both Nash and Bryant, and keep the championship window open in Los Angeles.