Did Suns Wait Too Long To Move Nash?

HANG TIME NEW JERSEY — If Steve Nash‘s decision to join the Los Angeles Lakers wasn’t the most important move of the last 10 days, it was certainly the most surprising.

Nash chose his former team’s biggest rival over the chance to lead Canada’s team back to relevance or play 41 games in his adopted city of New York. It was an opportunity he never really saw coming, to play for a championship contender and see his kids (back in Phoenix) on off days.

ESPN.com’s Marc Stein chronicles the process that took Nash from meetings with the Raptors and Knicks in New York to a critical phone call with Kobe Bryant. In the end, the move that could get the Lakers back to The Finals came down to Suns owner Robert Sarver.

Nash says now, after the fact, that he woke up on Independence Day believing it was “50-50 that the Suns would allow the trade to happen.”

Yet what Duffy refers to as the Lakers’ “kitchen sink” offer, with $3 million in cash added to the four future picks, still left plenty of uncertainty. So much uncertainty and anxiety that Nash, who isn’t exactly known for long phone conversations or for letting you know he’s fretting, was calling Duffy nonstop by Day 4 of negotiations.

“We were talking literally 40 times a day,” Duffy said of the most senior independent client on the BDA Sports roster.

Our own Scott Howard-Cooper believes that Sarver’s mistake wasn’t trading Nash to the Lakers now, but not trading him earlier. As SHC writes, a trade at February’s deadline or even earlier than that would probably have netted the Suns more assets to move forward.

Management had at least two trade deadlines and one previous offseason to make the deal that was best for the team. The clock had been ticking on the spectacularly fun Nash era for about two years. He did, no matter what anyone’s eyes said to the contrary, turn 38 in February. A transition plan had to be in place.

Instead, the Suns held on. It would have been different if the Suns were trying to keep a winning group together, the way the Celtics are now by re-signing Kevin Garnett and adding very-veteran Jason Terry to replace Ray Allen. But Phoenix was 33-33 last season, 10th in the West. That was after going 40-42 the season before. Phoenix hasn’t made the playoffs since the improbable run to the 2010 conference finals.

Loyalty is great and all, but the NBA is a business, and every team needs to make sure it’s doing its best to ensure short and long-term success. Did the Suns drop the ball in that regard?


  1. Bob Maine says:

    Insightful discussion so far. Any team would love to keep 1st (or even 2nd) round draft picks in reserve, but the Lakers seem to have sent them away for Mr. Nash based on 2 realities: 1) they’ve only got a 2 (or at most) 3-year window with Kobe Bryant and 2) if they finish at or near the top in soon-coming years, the player quality they COULD get in the coming drafts (from their rounds 1 & 2 selection picks) wouldn’t be good enough to make the team or create new foundations as top players. So, mortgaging the future for the present. –Yes, risky. Houston’s gone the opposite direction — piling up draft choices & new faces (and probably will come out OK, but it will take some time to tell). Very, VERY few organizations can build from scratch like OKC & rise to the top so quickly.; gutty, brilliant decisions…just amazing me’ thinks).

  2. Nash at 38 is still better than more than half of the starting point guards in the league, All we need now is a trade for Dwight Howard to go through and pick up another savvy vet. The Lakers need to be more aggressive in getting additional pieces because with current team in place the Lakers won’t be able to win the whole thing. Get of the phone Mitch you are wasting time. You are going to let the Clippers take everyone from you!

  3. Greg Boss says:

    I am a big Steve Nash supporter, but I can’t help but worry that while he is great and all, being 38 in a new city on a team you haven’t exactly favored, doesn’t make for the most ideal situation. The Lakers are old and giving away 4 future early round draft picks might come back to bite them pretty good. Greg at Dazadi.

    • EpcLakersFan says:

      Are you kidding me Greg Boss since when have draft picks matter to LA when you have 4 all-stars caliber players how can picks matter at all. How will that ever bite back.

  4. Repko says:

    It seems to be such a small move with D-Will and all that jazz, but this the piece that could make the Lakers a seriously serious contender this year. Kobe will handle the ball less than he ever did, Gasol will be great again, and Bynum is gonna have all these alley-oops. One or two more 3-pts shooters, and I think they should resign Barnes.

    • Repko says:

      And I think the Lakers failed big time by not bringing Lamar Odom back. Jordan Hill showed some skills, he should stay too.

      • whizkid says:

        Lakers cannot sign Odom until December as per the new rules . I think they should not bring him back . They should rather go for someone more energetic and would give his all . We already have a i-show-up-when-i-like-to in Mr Bynum

  5. Amitpal says:

    Why do people keep saying lakers r the suns biggest rivals? I think spurs r by far the biggest rivals. Those series had blood, suspension, big shots, cheap shots by Bruce Bowen, overtime games. When the suns and spurs were playing u knew u were going to get a good game. A hard fought game.

  6. CLARISSA says:


  7. nashty says:

    go get that ring mr nash. I’m a suns fan and have hated the lakers for the past decade but with nash going there i’ll be cheering for the purple along with the purple and orange. thanks Sraver for setting nash free