Tomorrow’s story today …
Steve Nash signed his new three-season, $27-million contract with the Lakers a few minutes past 9 p.m. on Tuesday in the restaurant of a Marina del Rey hotel, just after the NBA’s moratorium on new business was lifted.
The Lakers completed their sign-and-trade deal for Nash with the Phoenix Suns at about 6 a.m. Wednesday, formalizing their swap with a conference call with the league office. Nash politely but firmly declined to participate, citing the early hour.
“I think that’s the general manager’s job,” he told Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak.
By noon, Nash and Kupchak were together again, however, facing a crowd of reporters in the Lakers’ training facility for an introductory news conference in the gymnasium the veteran point guard will soon call his workout home.
“I’d like to welcome a two-time MVP, a thorn in the Lakers’ side for most of the last decade, happy to see him wearing purple-and-gold, Steve Nash,” Kupchak said as the newest member of the Lakers sat beside him, smiling broadly.
After posing for the obligatory photographs with his new No. 10 Lakers jersey, Nash took questions for nearly 40 minutes, most in English but a few in Spanish, too. He apologized that his Spanish wasn’t very good, but it didn’t matter to the questioners.
Nash also thanked the Suns organization for eight great seasons, but he said the chance to come to the Lakers to play for his first NBA championship and the franchise’s league record-tying 17th title was “too good to pass up.”
“It’s a little surreal,” he said of joining the rival Lakers.
The 38-year-old Nash said he and new teammate Kobe Bryant were “two dedicated gym rats,” adding that he couldn’t wait to begin to play with Bryant, power forward Pau Gasol and center Andrew Bynum when training camp begins in the fall.
“It’s a dream come true for a point guard,” he said.
Nash said the Western Conference champion Oklahoma City Thunder were the team to beat next season, but then added without the slightest hesitation, “We’ve got a lot of things to work out, but I wouldn’t put anything past us.”
Later, after the reporters left the building, Nash donned his new uniform and posed for photos under a street sign in front of the practice facility.
The name of the street?
Nash, of course.