Toronto Raptors Receive: PG Steve Nash (2 years, $19 million), SF Wesley Johnson (1 year, $884,293) and a 2019 first-round draft pick.
Los Angeles Lakers Receive: PG Kyle Lowry (1 year, $6.2 million) and SF Landry Fields (2 years, $12.5 million).
Why Toronto Does It: I know, it seems crazy. What would a rebuilding team want to do with an injured, soon-to-be 40-year-old point guard making nearly $10 million next season? It's tough, but you have to break this trade down into parts to understand it.
Would the Raptors be willing to pay the difference between Nash's deal and Fields' deal (about $3.5 million) next year to give Canada's greatest basketball star his hero's welcome? Would it be worth it to have Nash as a locker room presence, a mentor for Toronto's young guards and an ambassador of Raptors' basketball for a year in a city that would love him like none other?
I say yes, even if Nash provided very little on the floor or didn't prove to be an upgrade from Fields. Of course, there's the chance that Nash could retire as well once he saw the writing on the wall.
More importantly, is trading an expiring deal in Lowry for a future first-round pick and an athletic forward like Johnson worth it? It seems like it would be.
Why Los Angeles Does It: It's much easier to trade or waive and use the stretch provision on Fields than it is Nash, both from a logistic and emotional standpoint. Sending Nash back home to Canada may be the best image move the Lakers could make here.
But aside from all that, the Lakers desperately need a point guard with Steve Blake now out 6-8 weeks. Lowry is sort of the perfect storm for the Lakers: He's athletic, he can score on his own and, most importantly, he's on an expiring contract.
While it would be very tough to sacrifice yet another future first-round pick, especially since a trade for Nash put the Lakers in this spot in the first place, this move could make the Lakers a sneaky playoff contender this season while clearing more cap space for next year's free-agency bonanza. That might be worth the cost.
Although it's a long shot, perhaps Lowry would take a discount to stay in Los Angeles next year if he liked the freedom of Mike D'Antoni's offense. While Fields would almost certainly be cut bait next season, the best years of his career were with D'Antoni in New York. A lot could go right with this move.