Although he described a possible partnership with the Toronto Raptos this offseason as a “very very serious option,” Lakers guard Steve Nash reiterated that his ultimate signing with the Lakers hinged on two variables.
First involved his three children that live in Phoenix, including his eight-year-old twin daughters Lola and Bella and two-year-old son Matteo.
“I really get to see my kids a lot compared to if I played in Toronto or New York,” Nash said in an interview with this newspaper. “I barely have seen them. Now I’ve seen them a ton. That means everything to me. It’s hard enough on me as it is. I can only imagine how hard it would be if I had barely seen them.”
The second element involved the 17-year veteran’s chance to win an NBA championship.
“It’s not lost on me,” Nash said, “that this is a fantastic franchise and great place to live and we do have a lot of talent.”
Still, Nash wanted to make one thing clear about how his free agency ultimately involved.
“I didn’t want to leave Phoenix,” Nash said. “I wanted to stay. A lot of people in Phoenix think I wanted to leave and go to the Lakers. That was after the Suns made it clear they wanted to move on. Then, I started looking for other teams.”
Everything will come full circle the instant Nash steps on the hardwood when the Lakers (17-22) visit the Toronto Raptors (14-26) today at Air Canada Centre. The storyline goes beyond facing a team he may have chose this offseason. Nash has extensive ties to Canada, with his native heritage, Olympic experience and current gig as the national team’s general manager.
Even though fellow Canadian and Lakers backup center Robert Sacre considers him the “Michael Jordan of Canada,” Nash remains unsure how the Raptors fans will receive him.
“I have no idea,” Nash said. “I’ve always gotten an incredible reception up there, but since I didn’t sign with them, I don’t know.”
Those close to him believe most Canadians understand and respect Nash’s ultimate decision to join the Lakers even if they hoped he’d return to his native country.
Regardless, Nash has zero regrets on how free agency transpired.
In addition to holding out hope with the Lakers turning their season around, Nash relishes flying on Southwest flights nearly every other week to Phoenix to see his children.
“Whatever happens from here on out, I made the right decision,” Nash said. “I think a lot of people understanding and then there’s some people who might not. The people who understand get it, Family comes first. It’s just the bottom line.”