Report: L.A. Lakers to Receive Steve Nash from Phoenix in Sign-and-Trade

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Report: L.A. Lakers to Receive Steve Nash from Phoenix in Sign-and-Trade
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According to a report by Marc Stein, the Los Angeles Lakers have acquired point guard Steve Nash from the Phoenix Suns in a sign-and-trade deal.

According to Stein, "Nash will receive a three-year deal in excess of $25 million." This offer is not as much as the $36 million over three years that Nash was reportedly offered by the Toronto Raptors, but it's still significantly more than the "mini" mid-level exception (worth slightly more than $3 million annually) that top contenders such as the New York Knicks and Miami Heat could offer him.

Nash has played his last eight seasons in Phoenix, winning back-to-back MVP awards his first two years and pushing the Suns far in the playoffs. They never reached the NBA Finals, though, losing in the Western Conference finals to the Lakers in 2010; the Suns have not been back since.

Nash will team up with All-Star guard Kobe Bryant, with whom Nash faced off many times in the Western Conference playoffs while Nash was a member of the Mavericks and Suns. The two will form a formidable backcourt, and though both are past the age of 33, they can easily compete in the Western Conference.

The Lakers have lost in the second round of the playoffs each of the last two years and have won one game in the two series combined.

Nash's presence will surely help the Lakers advance farther.

He will be a key distributor to Lakers big men Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, both the subject of trade rumors, and the latter being a key chip in rumored trade scenarios that could land Dwight Howard in Hollywood.

The Nash deal will likely spell the end of Ramon Sessions, who was acquired during the trade deadline from Cleveland, in Tinseltown, but it will help elongate the successful Kobe Bryant era in Los Angeles.

Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak has acquired Nash for a completely different reason than why he looked to get Howard earlier last season. Bryant was meant to pass the torch to Howard, as Howard would join a long legacy of Lakers big men that have included George Mikan, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Shaquille O'Neal. Although Steve Nash was drafted in 1996 like Bryant, he first enjoyed a prolific four-year college career and is thus four years older than Bryant.

Nash is in LA simply to help Bryant get his sixth ring and equalize Michael Jordan, and Nash is still chasing his first ring. Nash helps Bryant, and Bryant helps Nash. This symbiotic relationship is at the heart of the deal and will push the Lakers even farther in the postseason.

Nash's legacy is cemented. His assist numbers and MVP awards speak for themselves, but there is just one thing missing from his trophy case. This team-up may guide Nash to the likes of Bill Russell and Michael Jordan and away from Karl Malone and Charles Barkley.

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