Before the Los Angeles Lakers pulled the trigger on the sign-and-trade to acquire Steve Nash from the division rival Phoenix Suns, the two-time NBA MVP was an unrestricted free agent and exploring opportunities from a few different teams proposing intriguing offers.
The consensus heading into the off-season was that Nash would simply re-sign with the Suns or end up signing with either the New York Knicks or Toronto Raptors. Once it became clear that Phoenix was going in another direction, Nash was heavily leaning towards heading to his native Canada to sign a three-year deal with the Raptors worth $36 million.
The deal the Raptors were offering was intriguing to say the least as it would give Nash an opportunity to play in Canada while continuing to $12 million annually before retiring at 42 years-old in three years’ time. It seemed like a foregone conclusion that Nash would sign with Toronto, but then Los Angeles came out of left field with an offer that both Nash and the team signed off on.
In a recent interview with QMI Agency, Nash talked about how close he was to signing with the Raptors via PortageDailyGraphic.com:
“I was very close, you know,” Nash said. “Because it appeared that they were going to be an option long before free agency started. So I got my head around that and I was comfortable with that and happy with the opportunity to play in Toronto. But when this opportunity (with the Lakers) became a reality, I couldn’t pass it up.”
Even though Nash ultimately ended up in Los Angeles and has helped form one of the most talented starting lineups in NBA history, it’s interesting to think of what might have happened if he signed with the Raptors instead of landing with the Lakers.
The fact that Nash was intrigued by the offer made by Toronto and left a lucrative deal on the table with a team that would’ve allowed him to play in Canada continues to show the incredible job done by the Lakers’ front office this summer. GM Mitch Kupchak and company pulled out all the stops during the off-season and showed the resolve of a team dedicated to putting a championship-caliber team on the floor every single season.
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