Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said last week he hoped to hit a home run as he sought to improve the team’s roster after consecutive second-round playoff exits. He appeared to hit a tape-measure shot when he and the Phoenix Suns agreed on a deal that would send veteran point guard Steve Nash to the Lakers in a sign-and-trade swap.
The trade was first reported Wednesday afternoon by KTAR 620-AM in Phoenix.
The Lakers will send four draft picks plus about $3 million in cash in exchange for Nash. The picks will be first-round selections in 2013 and ’15 and second-round selections in 2013 and ’14. The 38-year-old Nash will make about $25 million over the next three seasons, according to a report on ESPN.com.
A Lakers spokesman did not immediately return a phone call seeking confirmation, and it wasn’t immediately certain whether an $8.9-million trade exception was included in the package of draft picks sent to the Suns.
The deal can’t be completed until July 11.
Nash joins a team that was in flux last season in Mike Brown’s first year as coach. The Lakers believed they had secured their point guard of the future when they acquired Ramon Sessions from the Cleveland Cavaliers and dealt Derek Fisher to the Houston Rockets. But Sessions opted out of his Lakers contract for next season to become a free agent. it’s unlikely the Lakers would continue their attempts to re-sign Sessions.
It was believed Nash was bound for either the Toronto Raptors or the New York Knicks or perhaps with the Dallas Mavericks to re-unite with Dirk Nowitzki. The two-time NBA most-valuable player reportedly received a three-season, $36-million offer from the Raptors. Word leaked early Wednesday that he would not take it, however.
What’s more, it’s possible veteran small forward Grant Hill, Nash’s former teammate with the Suns, could join him with the Lakers. Hill, 39, reportedly underwent the same knee procedure Kobe Bryant had last summer in Germany that allowed him to play with more explosiveness than in recent seasons.
Nash and Hill are very good friends.
It’s unclear how the Lakers acquisition of Nash would impact their interest in swapping center Andrew Bynum for Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic. The Lakers were said to be one of several teams interested in acquiring Howard. The Atlanta Hawks, Brooklyn Nets and Houston Rockets also are believed to be in the hunt for Howard.