The Los Angeles Lakers wanted a point guard of this caliber for a long time, and they got Steve Nash, still one of the best in the NBA via a sign-and-trade deal with the Phoenix Suns, who will get four draft picks (two first round, two second round) over 2013-2015, while the Suns wasted no time by trying to find a replacement for Nash and an upgrade for the team.
Nash made it clear last week that returning to the Phoenix Suns wasn’t an option for him. But not just because of the team’s lack of chances. Nash does want an opportunity to win an NBA title or at least make a challenge for one, but money, he made it clear, was also a big issue in his decision to join a team. Having a film-production company and aspirations in the business didn’t hurt as well. Nash convinced the Suns’ decision makers to sign him on a three-year, $25 million deal and then send him to LA. As usual, it seems like the Lakers hardly gave up anything.
Nash, a two time NBA MVP and 8 time All-Star, averaged 12.5 points per game last season, his lowest output since the 1999-2000, adding 10.7 assists per game, missing out on a postseason sport for the third time in four years.
The Suns aren’t waiting around, and already have themselves a point guard many team were going after – Goran Dragic, making his return to Phoenix, this time as a starter. Dragic first came to be noticed in Phoenix for two reasons – Getting posterized by Derrick Rose and a 23 point fourth quarter in the postseason against the San Antonio Spurs that year. He got traded to the Houston Rockets, and took over Kyle Lowry’s starting job this year after Lowry went down to an injury.
Dragic held talks with the Rockets, but he wanted two things – A guarantee for a starting job, which wasn’t too safe in Houston with Lowry stickin’ around, and a chance to earn an eight-digit salary at some point. The deal Dragic struck with the Suns, a four-year $34 million contract, with a player option for the fourth year, will grant him both of his wishes. Dragic averaged 11.7 points and 5.3 assists for the Rockets last season.
Earlier on the day, the Suns agreed with the number 2 draft pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, Michael Beasley, after he spent the last couple of seasons playing for the Minnesota Timberwolves. Beasley was followed by five teams and despite all the off-court problems, he made quite an impression on the Suns’ staff. He averaged 11.5 points last season with the Timberwolves, coming off the bench for the first time in his career.
The Suns are also waiting to see whether the Hornets match their offer to Eric Gordon, or decide that if Gordon prefers to play in Phoenix, they’ll give up on him, maybe through free agency or maybe through a sign-and-trade deal between the two franchises.
So on to the Houston Rockets, who still want a point guard, partially liking the idea of playing another one off of Kyle Lowry. Jeremy Lin is visiting Houston, and will get an offer of the back loaded contract he desperately wants, which might also prevent the New York Knicks from eventually re-signing him, fearing to get a salary cap clog in a couple of years.
The Rockets will probably offer $30 million, spread onto four years, with 5 and 5.2 in the first couple of seasons, giving Lin the 8-figure salary in the last couple of years. Lin averaged 14.6 points and 6.2 assists last season for the Knicks, averaging 27 minutes a night.
Last and least, Jason Kidd is suddenly all about the Mavs. The 18 year veteran who went through the worst season of his career in 2011-2012 has an offer from the New York Knicks as well, but has expressed his desire and happiness at the prospect of ending his career in Dallas, a team and group of players (those who remain, at least) he won the NBA title with.