Steve Nash says he’s looking forward to meshing with Kobe Bryant and the rest of his new Lakers teammates

Steve Nash said Thursday morning he was surprised to be the Lakers’ new point guard, but calls from Kobe Bryant, coach Mike Brown and general manager Mitch Kupchak convinced him L.A. was the place for him. In his first interview since Wednesday’s trade, Nash told KSPN 710-AM in Los Angeles that he was looking forward to teaming with Bryant, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum and trying to win his first NBA championship.

Of talking to Bryant earlier in the week, Nash said:

“For me, it was important to speak to him just to make sure he was completely on board. He could kind of visualize this as being an effective fit and being excited about. So, I spoke to him. I spoke to coach Brown. They were excited. Kobe was excited and explained to me how he thought it would help and why it would be great. …

“Well, I think (Bryant’s pitch was), for one, somebody to handle the ball and lead. He also felt that we were complementary because I’m more of the positive side. He’s more, as he said it, more of a crack-the-whip. I think pick-and-roll, and at that to the offense, and being able to space the floor for the big guys inside …

“I think it’s a good fit. He was excited, and I think that was important for me. And coach Brown the same, so it’s going to be fun to try to work it all out and try to create some cohesion and chemistry on the floor and make all these pieces work. …

“Kobe is still one of the all-time great players in the game. So, I hope he does have the ball in his hands a lot. At the same time, it’ll take pressure off him if someone else handles the ball and get him the ball in spots and maybe get him a few more easy baskets and at the same time maybe create offense for other guys, so he’s not stuck so often having to take on one or two defenders.

“Perhaps we can all make each other better because of our different skills. Maybe I can space the floor for those big guys (Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum).”

Of chasing his first championship ring, Nash said:

“Believe it or not, and I don’t want to diminish what a championship would mean to me, but believe it or not that doesn’t haunt me at all. I don’t care what other people say. I fight every day to be the best player I can be. When I played for the Suns, Mavericks and now the Lakers, I’m going to fight every day like it’s the only thing that matters.

“But when I step away from the court, that’s not going to define me. I battle. I compete. I’m a great teammate. I’m dying to win one. I want to win one for me. I want to win one for my teammates, whoever they may be. I’m going to battle every day to do so. I try not get caught up in what other people are saying when I’m long gone. …

“I know it’s so all-consuming, the championship or nothing mentality that everyone has, especially the media. It’s valid to ask and it’s valid for a lot of people to get caught up in that. I try to shed away a lot of that extra baggage. I just try to worry about training, about enjoying my training, about enjoying the opportunity to compete at a high level. I want to win. I want to win bad, but I’m not going to be haunted by the fact. … If I retired today, I wouldn’t be haunted by the fact that I never won. I gave it a heck of a shot.”

Asked what he would say to Dwight Howard in an attempt to persuade him to agree to a trade to the Lakers for Bynum, Nash said:

“(Howard is) a special player, a special talent, for sure, so I can understand why the Lakers might be recruiting him. For me, getting an opportunity to play with Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, that’s amazing. It would be a pleasure to play with those two players. That’s a lot for me to think of right there. I’m not even going to speculate on what could happen with Dwight. As far as basketball goes, it would be thrilling for any point guard to play with the two big men the Lakers have. …

“As far as if I were recruiting him to the Lakers? Why don’t we wait until I sign my contract before I start recruiting players and making trades, so like I said I’m thrilled to play with players of the ability of Pau and Andrew and that’s thrilling to me.”

Of recruiting former Suns teammate Grant Hill to the Lakers, Nash said:

“I’ll do anything I can, if the Lakers are open to that, to make it a reality because he makes every team better, he makes everyone around him better and he makes any organization better. So he’s a class act and still a heck of a competitor and player.”

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