L.A. Lakers: Why Steve Nash Will Finally Get His First Ring with Kobe Bryant

Peter EmerickSenior Writer IIJuly 4, 2012

PHOENIX, AZ - APRIL 25:  Steve Nash #13 of the Phoenix Suns stands attended for the National Anthem before the NBA game against the San Antonio Spurs at US Airways Center on April 25, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona.  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 Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Steve Nash has agreed to a sign-and-trade with the L.A. Lakers that will send the Lakers' 2013 and 2015 first-round picks and 2013 and 2014 second-round picks back to the Phoenix Suns, according to Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic.

In the Nash sign-and-trade, the #Suns will get 2013 & 2015 first-round picks and 2013 & 2014 second-round picks.

— Paul Coro (@paulcoro) July 5, 2012

It's evident that the Lakers are more concerned about trying to win immediately than they are about planning for their future.

The Lakers' starting lineup right now looks like this: Steve Nash at the point, Kobe Bryant at the shooting guard position, Metta World Peace on the wing, Pau Gasol at the power forward position and Andrew Bynum filling up the paint.

If you're thinking, "That kind of looks like a Western Conference All-Star team," you're not that far off. Well, maybe minus Metta World Peace.

Either way, there's no doubt that the Lakers now have one of the most impressive starting lineups in the NBA. But that, in and of itself, doesn't mean that the Lakers are shoo-ins to win the 2013 NBA title.

Remember what happened to the Miami Heat and their "Big Three" back in the 2012 NBA Finals when they went down to the Dallas Mavericks. It was largely because their second unit couldn't step up and provide legitimate production.

With that being said, the impressive starting lineup alone won't win Kobe his sixth NBA ring, nor Nash his first.

The Lakers now need to find role players that not only fit into their roster's rotation, but that also fill slots in Mike Brown's offense.

With two or three role players coming off the bench, the Lakers are all but a lock to be the title favorites coming out of the West, as long as one player on their squad is willing to take a little bit of a step back.

For Nash to bring the 2013 Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy to L.A., Kobe is going to have to realize that the Lakers are not solely "his team" anymore.

Let's not get into whose team this is now, because that's not truly the point here.

The point is that Kobe and Nash will not be able to coexist in L.A. if Kobe isn't ready to step out of the spotlight and let Nash truly run the Lakers offense.

Kobe will have to step back and let Nash bring the offense to him instead of purely creating offense for himself, because that's exactly what Nash does best.

Nash will make every player on the Lakers' roster better, including Kobe, Gasol and Bynum, as long as those players are okay with actually running in an offense where the point guard creates offense for his teammates.

Kobe and the Lakers aren't necessarily used to that, but that doesn't mean they can't adjust to Nash's talents during the offseason and well into the start of the 2012-13 season.

Nash's ability to put up 10-plus assists per game means that players like Kobe, Gasol and Bynum are going to get more high-percentage opportunities. That will make the Lakers a more efficient, and therefore more productive, team.

The biggest question for the Lakers isn't if they are capable of winning a title with Nash and Kobe, because they undoubtedly are.

The biggest question is if their superstar, Kobe Bryant, is going to be able to transition into an offense that isn't solely focused on him and the production that he brings to the court.

If this trade had gone down a year or two ago, I would have doubted its viability. But knowing that Kobe is 33 years old and starting to enter the final stages of his career, I think he will be willing to do whatever it takes to win his sixth NBA title.

With Nash and Kobe holding down the backcourt and Gasol and Bynum filling in the paint, it's safe to say that the Lakers have transitioned from a team seeking its identity to a team whose 2012-13 season will be "championship or bust."