While the San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder, Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics are battling for a shot to play in the NBA Finals, there are 26 teams that have begun their offseason work. With free agency looming in July, free agent players are waiting for their chance to be able to choose where they want to play.
For Steve Nash, this will be the most important offseason in his entire 16-year career in the NBA. This will likely be the last team that Nash will suit up for in the NBA. The 38-year-old, who has yet to earn a ring, will likely pick a team that has the opportunity to win a championship.
The Los Angeles Lakers could be a team in the mix to sign Steve Nash. They could use an upgrade in their backcourt and the team is a lock for the playoffs every year (having last missed the playoffs in the 2004-05 season). Steve Nash would be an exceptional signing for the Lakers; he could provide the savvy playmaking ability that the Lakers have been trying to find to play alongside of Kobe Bryant.
This move would make a lot of sense for the Lakers, and I expect them to make a hard push for Nash when free agency begins. However, Steve Nash would be a fool to shoot to L.A. and team up with Kobe for the Lakers—and here are five reasons why.
The chance to play for a team that has the ability to win a championship is what Nash is looking for. The eight-time All-Star is still searching for this championship ring, which would be the perfect cherry on top of a Hall of Fame career.
The Lakers provide Nash with the chance to make the postseason, but nothing more. Nash needs a team that is on the cusp of winning a championship, and after two straight second round outings the Lakers aren’t the best fit for Nash.
A team like the Miami Heat are a much better fit, and Nash isn't opposed to taking his talents to South Beach, as he told Dan Patrick.
The Heat could be a perfect fit for Nash; they provide the ideal chance to win a title and Nash would be an upgrade over Mario Chalmers for Miami.
Steve Nash is more deserving than any other player in the NBA to win a title. He is going to pick a team that allows him the best opportunity to win a championship, and that is why he shouldn’t pick the L.A. Lakers.
Steve Nash is a traditional point guard.
He loves having the plays ran through him and he carries the ball up the court most every time. Last season, he averaged 10-plus assists for the seventh time in his career. He no longer is the scorer that he used to be earlier in his career. Last year he averaged 12.5 points but shot an incredible 53 percent from the field as well as 39 percent from three-point land.
He is at a point in his career where he is more likely to drive to find an open guy than drive to create his own shot. This is most likely due to his age but also due to the fact he commands a ton of attention from the opposing defenses.
If he did decide to play for the Lakers, he would have to give up the ball to Kobe Bryant more than he is used to. Bryant would demand the ball more than any player that Nash has played with. That is not a jab at Kobe, he is one of the greatest basketball players of all time, but he does like having the offense start and run through him every time he is on the floor.
This is something Steve Nash needs to factor into his decision. Nash is a much better player when he is on ball instead of off of it, and he wouldn’t be in control as much playing for the Lakers.
I don’t think this is the perfect fit for either Nash or Bryant. Bryant is a much better fit with Ramon Sessions, who is never opposed to letting Bryant run the show on offense, and Nash would be a much better fit on a team where he gets to run the offense.
Who knows what the Lakers' roster will look like heading into training camp next year. With reports coming from Bulls.com’s Sam Smith that Pau Gasol wants to get out of Los Angeles and play for the Chicago Bulls and Andrew Bynum remarks following the season ending loss to the Thunder, there is so much uncertainty about who will be back in 2012-13 for the Lakers.
This is another reason why it would be foolish for Nash to join the Lakers. Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak has a lot of work to do if he wants to put a championship-caliber team out on the court once again.
Kupchak has always been able to make the moves necessary to do this, but this offseason will be a challenge. It will be tough for him to entice a player of Nash’s age to sign with a team that isn’t capable of winning a championship right away.
With Gasol looking like he will be on his way out of town, Kupchak is first going to have to make significant moves before he has a chance to sign Nash. Nash isn’t going to wait around to see what the Lakers do. There will be too many other teams vying for the Canadian super star.
With all the Lakers' uncertainties and questions heading into next year, Steve Nash would be foolish to head to the bright lights of Los Angeles.
Another reason why Steve Nash shouldn’t join the Lakers is they aren’t going to be able to pay him his worth. People may argue that he has made enough money already in his career that he can afford to take a pay cut in order to have a decent shot at winning a ring, but the pay cut that he would have to take to join the Lakers would be steep.
According to HoopsHype.com, the Lakers payroll for last season was $86,342,229, which was good enough to be third in the league. The Lakers have a couple of options for next season that could really affect their ability to sign a high profile free agent like Steve Nash.
The first and biggest is a team option on Andrew Bynum ($17 million); I assume the Lakers will pick this up if they trust that Bynum is all in. The second is Ramon Sessions’ player option that is worth $4.5 million. Again, I assume Sessions will want to come back. Let’s not forget that this man was stuck in Cleveland before being traded to the Lakers, so he will want to stay there as long as possible.
Those options don’t leave much room for the $11 million salary that Steve Nash made last year. Unless the Lakers make moves to free up some cap space, there are plenty of other teams that can pay Nash more and give him a chance to win a championship.
Steve Nash is not known as a great defender. It is one of his few flaws in his game. The best fit for Nash would be a team that has solid defenders around him. The Lakers do not boast very good defense, especially against point guards.
Just take a look at the Lakers in the playoffs—they got torched by both Nuggets point guard Ty Lawson and then again by Thunder guard Russell Westbrook.
At Nash’s age he does not have the legs to run with these guys up and down the floor all season and then again in the playoffs. Unless the Lakers change their defensive scheme so they can stop opposing point guards more effectively, then Steve Nash should look elsewhere when free agency begins.