Before the Los Angeles Lakers were able to acquire Steve Nash via sign-and-trade with the Phoenix Suns, the two-time NBA MVP was weighing his options in free agency with the Toronto Raptors and New York Knicks at the top of his list.
With a soft spot for his native Canada, the Raptors appeared to have the edge in the race to sign the superstar point guard. After offering Nash a deal worth $36 million over the next three years, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that he’d end up in Toronto with no other team willing to spend that much on a 38-year-old veteran.
Although the Raptors appeared to be the frontrunners, New York was still an option for Nash as he also had a love for the Big Apple after spending a decade of off-seasons in the city. With the Knicks in need of a potential replacement for Jeremy Lin, Nash was an obvious choice and apparently he considered signing according to his interview with Doug Smith of TheStar.com:
“And the Knicks opportunity was exciting; I’ve been in New York for 10 summers, always wanted to play in the Garden for the Knicks in some way and I have so many friends in the city now living there. Just the challenge of playing the Garden even though it’s been such a tumultuous environment recently, it still was an exciting proposition just to experience it. They have a lot of talent, too.”
After an intriguing offer from the Raptors and interest from the Knicks, Nash ultimately signed with the Lakers to be closer to his children and the opportunity of playing for a championship alongside Kobe Bryant.
The sign-and-trade with the division rival Suns to land Nash was by far the biggest surprise move of the season. It was no secret that the Lakers were on the lookout for an All-Star caliber point guard, but Nash was never a legitimate option with his asking price and the fact he never saw himself wearing purple and gold.
An impressive move to say the least by Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak as he was able to convince Nash to come to Los Angeles over playing back home in Canada and New York.
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