In one swift move, Los Angeles Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak added a fourth star to his high-profile team by using a sign-and-trade to acquire former Suns point guard Steve Nash, who will make $27 million over three years.
In return, the Suns will receive Los Angeles' first-rounders in 2013 and 2015 as well as their second-rounders in 2013 and 2014.
This move came extremely quickly and was rather surprising, seeing as the two teams that seemed to be in the biggest hunt for Nash's services were previously Toronto and Phoenix—even though the Suns used their first-round pick in the 2012 NBA draft to select another point guard, Kendall Marshall.
Lakers Grade: A
This trade was a brilliant move by Kupchak. Not only does he put a sharpshooter who can distribute the rock—Nash—with a guard who is an elite all-around scorer—Kobe Bryant—but he was also able to do it without jeopardizing his team's title hopes.
First, Nash is the perfect compliment to Kobe Bryant. He immediately makes them a Western Conference title contender, because he does exactly what Bryant needs: He can spread the floor with his shooting and has the passing ability to get Kobe the ball in key situations.
When the Lakers won their previous titles, they had savvy veteran Derek Fisher running the point. Now they have Nash, who does the job even better than Fisher.
The Lakers haven't picked in the lottery since 2005, when the team picked up center Andrew Bynum. They annually either pick late in the first round or don't select at all—due to trades like this. Not only are they likely giving up limited-potential draft picks, but the team was also able to retain its present stars in Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant.
This team has never been about "stockpiling for the future," and with the veteran talent they already had, it made sense for them to go after a two-time MVP who makes them complete. Completely dangerous, that is.
Suns Grade: B+
The Suns didn't really have an option when it came to trading Nash, because they couldn't force Marshall to ride the bench. Steve, however sad it may be, had to go.
This deal isn't necessarily bad, and it reflects in the grade—a "B+" is above average. A lot of what happened was in the hands of Nash himself, as it is with most sign-and-trade deals.
Unfortunately for the Suns, things didn't work out with Toronto or New York. Both teams could've offered more in the way of return value; Toronto often picks higher than 10th and New York has several players/draft picks it would've been willing to send Phoenix's way in a deal.
Phoenix somewhat boxed itself in by not getting a deal done with other teams earlier, so I guess the best they could do to salvage the situation was to get four draft picks in return.
Seeing as the 2013 NBA draft is supposed to be another deep one, they better hope they got some talent for the future to pair up with Marshall, Michael Beasley and the rest of their young core.
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