Wednesday was a big day for Steve Nash in Los Angeles. The new Lakers point guard met with the media for the first time and took his first photos donning the purple and gold. He later attended the ESPYs which were held at the Nokia Theater across the street from Staples Center where Nash will be playing his home games.
Nash was singled out by host Rob Riggle during the show-opening monologue, meaning the lady by his side got some quality face time. That woman is Brittany Richardson, who has been Nash’s girlfriend for over a year. The two attended an NBA Finals game together last year and received plenty of attention when ABC showed them on TV.
Richardson wrote on Twitter Wednesday that she found out about her ESPYs invite at the last minute and that she was concerned about how she would look. She was worried about looking like an idiot, but she managed to avoid that.
Nash divorced his ex-wife in November 2010 and says he wanted to go to the Lakers so he could be close to his young children who live with his ex in Arizona.
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Steve Nash was introduced to the Los Angeles media on Wednesday when his sign-and-trade deal from the Phoenix Suns was made official. Nash took some media photos and put on a Lakers jersey for the first time. You’ll notice that he’s wearing jersey No. 10 instead of 13, which he wore throughout his entire career with Dallas and Phoenix. No. 13 was Wilt Chamberlain’s number and is retired by the franchise.
The two-time MVP who knocked the Lakers out of the playoffs twice as a member of the Suns has received a warm welcome from the city, but it’s going to take a while to get used to him in purple and gold.
If you had asked Kobe Bryant for his thoughts on Steve Nash a few months ago, he probably wouldn’t have been too complimentary. The Suns and Lakers have been too competitive over the past several seasons for Bryant to gush over his rival. But now that they’re on the same side, Kobe is offering a completely different tune. In fact, he says the two have a strong bond because they’re part of the same draft class.
“We’ve obviously had our moments and had our battles, but at the core of it was two guys who came in the league the same year (1996),” Bryant said, according to ESPNLA. “Myself, him, Ray Allen, we’re pretty much the last ones left. And there’s kind of a bond that comes with that. It’s a little bigger than some of the rivalries that we’ve had.”
Bryant says Nash reached out to him before asking for a trade to the Lakers to see if he’d be welcome.
Basketball fans were shocked to find out on July 4 that Steve Nash had asked for and agreed to a sign-and-trade deal that would send him from the Suns to the Lakers. Only a week earlier Nash had said it would be difficult for him to play for the rival Lakers, a team he had faced in the playoffs three times during his eight seasons in Phoenix.
So what made him change his mind so quickly? Apparently it was a family matter.
“I’m calling it the family-values deal,” Nash’s agent Bill Duffy said, according to The Arizona Republic. “[Nash] was adamant about being close to his children. To be able to play in a competitive situation was wonderful after he had given everything he could to re-establish the brand of the Suns. He wanted for the Suns to have some benefit (in his departure). He’s very grateful to Robert (Sarver) and the Suns. They wanted to respect him but also remove the shadows of Steve. He’s getting older and it’s time to reboot.”
Nash has 7-year-old twin daughters and a 20-month-old son with his ex-wife in Phoenix, so being in Los Angeles will make it easier for both sides to see each other. That reason won’t help bitter Suns fans overcome what they feel is a betrayal, but it should be appreciated by any unbiased party, and certainly all concerned parents.
A week ago Steve Nash said on the radio that it would be hard for him to put on a Lakers jersey because he’s “old school.”
It didn’t take him long to overcome his feelings.
The Lakers and Suns reportedly have agreed on a massive trade that will send four draft picks (firsts in ’13 and ’15; seconds in ’13 and ’14) from LA to Phoenix in exchange for Nash, who will sign a 3-year deal worth more than $25 million. Nash will join one of his chief rivals over the past eight seasons (his Suns went 2-1 against the Lakers in the playoffs). He had to beg Suns owner Robert Sarver to send him to the Lakers because Sarver was reluctant to send the two-time MVP to Phoenix’s enemy.
The big move is expected to convince the Lakers to keep its core trio of Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum, and Pau Gasol together to make another title run. The question is if it will work.
Now that Deron Williams has signed with the Nets, Steve Nash is now the “it” guy available on the NBA free agent market. The Knicks and Raptors have been fighting for him. The Lakers and Mavericks even jumped into the fray recently. But according to Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski, the Knicks have become the favorite to land the 38-year-old.
The Knicks and Nash are reportedly in the “critical” stages of a three-year contract worth between $27 million and $30 million. Because the Knicks hardly have that kind of cap room, the deal can only be completed through a sign-and-trade with the Suns.
Iman Shumpert (and his torn ACL) would reportedly be the top player the Suns would receive in return. ESPN’s Marc Stein reports that other Knicks players involved in the deal would likely be Toney Douglas, Josh Harrellson and Jerome Jordan — “ehh” players with cap-friendly contracts.
“The Knicks don’t want to trade (Shumpert), but they will if they have to. They want Nash,” a source told Stein.
As the Raptors and Knicks duke it out for Steve Nash, the Lakers and Mavericks have now also emerged as suitors for the 38-year-old point guard’s services.
The Lakers, with a payroll already projected in excess of $83 million next season, would only be able to offer Nash an exception starting at $3.09 million for next season. It’s unlikely Nash would take that, so a sign-and-trade deal would be a more realistic possibility.
The Lakers do have a viable starting point guard they could send Phoenix in such a deal, Ramon Sessions, who became an unrestricted free agent after surprisingly opting out of the last year of his contract. Forwards Jordan Hill and Matt Barnes are also free agents.
Aldridge also mentions Metta World Peace as another available piece the Lakers can offer in a Nash sign-and-trade, but it’s doubtful the Suns want any part of him and his clunky two-year, $15 million contract. But probably mostly because he’s Metta World Peace.
The Mavs reportedly are fighting the Knicks also for Jeremy Lin and Jason Kidd, or as they’d be known in Dallas, “Not Deron Williams or Steve Nash.”