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Steve Nash to Lakers: Star PG Makes Lakers Instant Title Contenders

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 10:  Steve Nash #13 of the Phoenix Suns laughs with Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the second half at the Staples Center on December, 10 2008 in Los Angeles, California.   NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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Dan FavaleFeatured ColumnistJuly 4, 2012

Kobe Bryant's sixth NBA championship won't be had unless Steve Nash receives his first ring.

Talk about favorable parameters.

In a stunning turn of events, the Los Angeles Lakers have acquired Nash via sign-and-trade from the Phoenix Suns. Talk-show host on Phoenix's Sports 620 KTAR, John Gambadoro:

Nash to LA for multiple picks all but done!!!

— John Gambadoro (@Gambo620) July 4, 2012

 

Though the deal—first-rounders in 2013 and 2015, second-rounders in 2013 and 2014, and $3 million in cash from the Lakers—cannot be finalized until the NBA free-agency moratorium period has concluded, it's safe to say that not even David Stern can prevent the Lakers' re-ascension into prominence this time.

That's right, with Nash calling the shots on offense, the Lakers are officially title contenders once again.

Nash, 38, averaged 12.5 points and 10.7 assists per game on 53.2 percent shooting from the field the past season. That's not merely incredible for an athlete approaching 40, those are very marvelous numbers for anyone.

Bryant now has the luxury of running Nash's pick-and-rolls to death, and the savvy distributor himself now has (by all appearances a the moment) the benefit of two offensively inclined big men—in Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol—to dish off to when attacking the paint.

The days of fretting over whether or not Gasol will be traded are over; Mitch Kupchak and Los Angeles no longer need to trade him. He's the type of big man who feeds off dribble penetration and exceptional court vision—everything Nash stands for.

Bynum, too, will benefit from Nash's presence. Despite undergoing a wealth of maturation over the past years, the 24-year-old Bynum is still vastly immature. While his is an attitude that may fly under the radar next to Bryant, the incredibly vocal Nash won't let Bynum skate by.

Let's not neglect Bryant himself, either.

Predominantly known as a black hole on offense—much like Carmelo Anthony—Bryant has greatly improved his ability to move without the ball as he's approached the twilight years of his career. He's become a perpetual jump shooter, which is actually a valued attribute when playing alongside Nash.

Just look at what Nash accomplished on a team of nobodies in Phoenix this past season. The Suns finished 33-33 and were a heartbeat away from a playoff berth, and it was all Nash.

Nash has the ability to make even the most marginal of role players effective (see Jared Dudley). He not only utilizes each of his teammates' strengths on the offensive end but pushes them to the next level; he earns his keep by helping other players earn theirs.

There isn't a point guard in the league with better court vision, a more fluid shooting motion or a penchant for heroics than Nash. He is the embodiment of teamwork, the epitome of consistency and the pinnacle of devotion.

Subsequently, the addition of such a selfless—borderline ageless—leader like Steve Nash doesn't just thrust the Lakers back into title contention; it pits them amongst the likes of the Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder, into the realm of championship favorites. 

 

 

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