Steve Nash has hardly brought the second coming of Showtime as the Lakers envisioned.
Instead, the persisting nerve irritation in his back and hamstrings has provided endless injury reports and trips to the Lakers’ trainer’s room. But even if the sign-and-trade with the Phoenix Suns cost the Lakers two first and second-round draft picks, general manager Mitch Kupchak said he “absolutely” would have made the deal 10 times out of 10.
“No regrets,” Kupchak said. “We had a chance. You have to recognize where you are as a franchise. We felt we had a two year window, maybe three to go for a championship. That’s what we did. Looking back on it, which nobody can do, that’s a different story. But at the time, we knew exactly what we were doing.”
The move came shortly after point guard Ramon Sessions opted out of his player option in hopes of securing a long-term deal with the Lakers. Despite Sessions’ athleticism, he appeared inexperienced in the 2012 NBA playoffs and the Lakers hoped to see him develop before ensuring him long-term security.
Instead, the Lakers pursued Nash, a former two-time MVP that would immediately bolster the team’s backcourt and ease the burden on Kobe Bryant. Kupchak also told this newspaper that the Nash deal also helped spur other moves, including the Dwight Howard acquisition, since Nash’s teamwork would both bolster those around them.
Nash missed a combined 32 games last season because of a fractured left leg and the subsequent nerve irritation that damaged his back and hamstring. Nash sat out of the Lakers’ 107-103 loss Thursday to the Oklahoma City Thunder at Staples Center after feeling nerve irritation in his back and hamstrings after colliding earlier this week with Chicago guard Kirk Hinrich. Nash has still vowed he will play this season and hopes to return after the All-Star break.
“I feel terrible for him. I really do,” Kupchak said. “Some players sulk and kind of get depressed and say I’m 38 years old, whatever it is, and say it wasn’t meant to be. But this guy has worked harder than anybody to get back. I just feel terrible for him. I really do. For someone who has had that career and worked that hard and came here to win a championship, something that has eluded him for years. But those things are out of his control and they’re out of our control.”
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