Posts Tagged ‘Arizona Republic’

Report: Nash Goes Hollywood, Will Join Lakers In Sign-And-Trade Deal With Suns

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Did someone mention fireworks?

The Los Angeles Lakers kicked things off before dark by pulling off an agreement on a reported sign-and-trade deal with the Phoenix Suns that will pair up Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant and two-time MVP Steve Nash in a backcourt of two of the league’s most sensational players.

The deal, believed to be for three years and nearly 27 million, includes two future first-round picks, two secon- rounds picks and some $3 million in cash going from the Lakers to the Suns. Nash, 38,  was also being pursued by the Knicks, Raptors, Mavericks and others.

Bryant was reportedly the lead recruiter on Nash and sold his former rival on a championship core (Bryant, Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol) already in place and the need for an elite point guard to push the Lakers over the top. The proximity to his three children was also believed to be a major factor in Nash choosing to stay in the Western Conference.

The fact that all of this came together in the past 72 hours, and between teams that have been fierce rivals during Bryant’s time with the Lakers and Nash’s tenure with the Suns, makes it even more stunning. But the Lakers offed Nash the one thing no one else could, per Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports, and that’s a chance to remain near his three children in Phoenix:

They used the trade exception they received from last year’s Lamar Odom deal with the Dallas Mavericks.

“He’s ecstatic,” said Billy Duffy, Nash’s agent. “He gets to be close to his children.”

The Suns will get the Lakers’ 2013 and ’15 first-round draft picks and their 2014 and ’15 second-round selections. The Lakers also paid the Suns $3 million to facilitate the trade.

Phoenix radio station KTAR 620 first broke the news of the Suns’ sign-and-trade agreement with the Lakers.

The New York Knicks, Toronto Raptors and Dallas Mavericks had all tried to sign Nash, but he turned down more money – three years and nearly $36 million from the Raptors – for an opportunity to chase a title with Kobe Bryant and the Lakers, and to be closer to his children. Nash is divorced with two daughters and a son.

“His intention, as related to the Suns, was if he left that they would get value, that he would have the ability as his career was winding down to come to a competitive situation,” Duffy said. “But his most important aspect was his ability to be close to his children. He’s an hour from his children. I’ve never seen him happier because of that fact alone.”

Duffy said Nash briefly considered retiring at the end of last season.

“Everything in his mind was predicated on his children,” Duffy said. “It put me in an interesting situation because I knew that dynamic. It wasn’t about the most money. He turned down a lot of money and aspects of other deals for the well being of his family.”

Even more surprising is the complete about-face Nash has done since a radio interview with ESPN NewYork 98.7 last month. Back then, he panned the idea of joining the conglomerate and mentioned the Lakers as a specific example at this stage of his career (though he did give himself a little wiggle room at the end):

“The truth is I’m a bit old school,” Nash said in the June 25 interview. “For me, it would be hard to put on a Lakers jersey. That’s just the way it is. You play against them so many times in the playoffs, and I just use them as an example, and I have the utmost respect for them and their organization.

“I kind of have that tendency (to try to beat the best teams), so it is strange, but as a free agent you’re free to go where you want, so I’d have to consider everything regardless of the past or the future.”

With Nash in the fold, rumors have started that he’ll try to persuade his good friend and ex-Suns teammate Grant Hill to join the Lakers, a move (if it happens) that would give them one of the deepest and most experienced teams in the league.

After looking for a few days like the major action in free agency would go on in the Eastern Conference, with Deron Williams agreeing to a deal with the Brooklyn Nets and the Nets and Hawks agreeing on a blockbuster deal that sends All-Star guard Joe Johnson to Brooklyn, things have taken a decidedly Hollywood turn this evening.

Los Angeles and the Staples Center will be home to two of the league’s premier point guards, Nash with the Lakers and Chris Paul with the Clippers, as well as two of the most star-studded rosters in the game.

What’s Next For Steve Nash?

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — No one will ever question the love folks in Phoenix have for Steve Nash or the love he’s shown them back over the years.

Love, however, might not be enough to save this relationship come summer. Nash is going to be a free agent in July. And even though he insists that the Suns will be on his short list of possibilities, there is a very real chance that his 10-year run (covering two different stints with the team) could have come to an end last night with that thunderous standing ovation at US Airways Center.

It was quite the scene, as Nash made clear to Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic:

“It was obviously amazing to get that type of reception and support,” Nash said. “It’s very special because it’s not something I asked for or imagined. To get that kind of reaction means it’s authentic, the relationship I thought we had. It really feels special. The fans have been phenomenal and it’s meant a lot to me to play in a city like this as long as I have and to feel important to the fans and community. I just feel like a very lucky guy.”

Lucky enough to stick around for whatever the Suns continuing rebuilding process has in store?

We’re guessing no.


Grant Hill Sticks With Suns

– For the latest updates check out:’s Free Agent Tracker

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Veteran swingman Grant Hill will remain with the Suns, agreeing to sign a one-year, $6.5 million deal to continue working alongside Steve Nash, according to the Arizona Republic.

Hill was one several coveted small forwards on the free agent market and was pursued by teams from both the Western and Eastern conferences. But he chose to return to a Suns team that reportedly increased its initial offer:

Hill agreed today to re-sign with the Suns for a one-year, $6.5 million contract. The Suns increased the offer from $5 million to $6.5 million on Thursday with Hill being pursued by New York, Chicago, San Antonio and the Los Angeles Clippers.

The Spurs offered him two years and the Clippers offered him more money but the Knicks’ and Bulls’ one-year offers were tempting because of the quality of teams and Hill’s relationship with Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni.

The Suns considered Hill their top free agency priority and showed it in spending on Hill, who is the second oldest player in the league at 39 (by a day to Kurt Thomas). Hill has been a bargain for the Suns, making $10.1 million over the past four years as a productive starter and one of the top defenders in the league.

The Suns finished 40-42 last season, two spots out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the rugged Western Conference postseason chase. With the deck reshuffled a bit this season, the Suns will attempt to return to the playoff mix with Nash and Hill leading the way.

Heir Jordan No More

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Has it come to this for Vince Carter?

The one-time heir to Michael Jordan‘s throne (one of many proposed successors) could find himself on the move come Thursday night, when the wheeling and dealing of for the 2011 Draft kicks into high gear.

Actually, Carter could simply be moved off of the Suns’ roster, bought out of the remainder of his contract for $4 million, per my main man Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic. Carter would be a Draft night footnote for the Suns in their quest to get younger:

“We are in constant conversation all day, every day with virtually every team in the league, trying to see if there’s anything we need to get an additional pick or if there are other ways to improve our team,” Suns President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby said. “Like most of the conversations in the NBA, they usually don’t come to fruition. We’re trying to take everyone’s temperature.”

Since 2004, the Suns have traded or sold five first-round picks. Of the three first-round picks they kept, Alando Tucker and Earl Clark are gone and Robin Lopez no longer is considered unavailable on the trade market. This 13th pick would be their highest selection they kept since drafting Amar’e Stoudemire ninth in 2002.

“At some point, we have to get younger,” Babby said. “We want to begin with the draft to infuse younger players into our team.”

It would be yet another sad twist in the cruel ending to the career of one of the most exciting players the league has seen and easily one of the most talented players of his era.

Watching past drafts on NBA TV the last few days was a reminder of just how much promise is heaped upon the shoulders of some of these prospects as they enter the league. Carter’s arrival was one of the most anticipated I can remember, not that he was the No. 1 pick or anything (he went fifth overall in 1998 behind Michael Olowokandi, Mike Bibby, Raef LaFrentz and his North Carolina teammate, Antawn Jamison), but because he offered that rare, above-the-rim ability that so few of his contemporaries then or since could match.

To see him tossed aside like he could be in the coming days, after all these years, is just a reminder that Father Time remains the only true undefeated champion in all of sports.