*Facing stiff competition from younger and faster rivals in the Pacific division and the Western Conference overall, the Los Angeles Lakers went and got some help for it’s aging superstar, but still deadly, Kobe Bryant.
Only thing is, the guy they got is older than Bryant. That guy is point guard Steve Nash, but what he makes up for in age is experience, accurate shooting as well and maybe, more importantly, passing … as in passing the ball to Kobe.
Nash is going to the Los Angeles Lakers, a Pacific Division rival the two-time MVP point guard tried so hard to beat, with little success, in his eight seasons with the Phoenix Suns.
At Nash’s request, the Lakers and Suns reached a sign-and-trade deal, with Los Angeles using the trade exception it got when it sent Lamar Odom to Dallas to facilitate the transaction.
The 38-year-old Nash, who spent the past eight seasons with the Suns, was a free agent but a sign-and-trade agreement was necessary for the Lakers to afford him. He agreed to a three-year, $27 million contract. In return, the Suns get four draft picks — first rounders in 2013 and 2015 and second rounders in 2013 and 2014.
Nash’s agent Bill Duffy said the deal was finalized Wednesday.
In a statement released by the agent, Nash said that after he and the Suns agreed to part ways, he re-approached them to ask to pursue a sign-and-trade deal with Los Angeles “because it is very important to me to stay near my children and family,” who live in Phoenix.
“They were very apprehensive and didn’t want to do it,” Nash said. “Fortunately for me, they reconsidered. They saw that they were able to get assets for their team that will make them better, assets they would not have otherwise had and it made sense for them to do a deal that helps their team get better.”
Despite his age and the fact his team failed to make the playoffs for the second year in a row, Nash was second in the NBA in assists last season at 10.7 and averaged 12.7 points. His 53 percent shooting rate was a career high.
He is one of the most accurate free throw shooters in NBA history at 90.4 percent. His 9,916 assists rank him fifth in NBA history behind, in order, John Stockton, Kidd, Mark Jackson and Magic Johnson.
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