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Steve Nash calls going to Lakers “surprise” but is excited

Jul 5, 2012, 1:47 PM EDT

Suns guard Nash looks to drive on Mavericks center Mahinmi during their NBA basketball game in Dallas, Texas Reuters

Even Steve Nash didn’t expect to be a Laker.

Well, he was hip to the idea before the rest of us were, but it was just a couple weeks ago that Nash was saying it would be hard to picture himself as a Laker. But things change in free agency. Fast. Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak called Bill Duffy, Nash’s agent, on July 1 to plant the seed and three days latter it blossomed.

Nash went on ESPN 710 Radio in Los Angeles on Thursday and talked about the move, again emphasizing the importance of being close to his family in the decision (as opposed to going to New York or Toronto). Here are some of his highlight quotes:

• “It was a surprise. I said I think 10 days ago that it would be hard for me to put on a Lakers uniform, so for everyone including myself it was a surprise. But things happen. First and foremost the Suns decided to go in a new direction. Then the opportunity to be close to my kids was exciting to me. And I think you’ll agree basketball wise it makes a lot of sense.”

• “Frankly, the idea to be close to my son and my daughters who will be in Phoenix is my No. 1 priority. Now, don’t get me wrong, I think it’s fantastic that I’m a good fit for the team and we have a great team and we are a contender. That’s incredible, too. But as far as getting over the hump and being able to be a Laker after being a Sun and trying to beat the Lakers in the playoffs after all those years, this was too good an opportunity to pass up.”

• On speaking to and being recruited by Kobe Bryant: “To me it was important to speak to (Kobe) to make sure he was completely on board, that he could visualize this as being a good fit and being excited about it. So I spoke to him, I spoke to coach Brown, and they were excited….

“(He can be) Someone to help handle the ball, and to lead. I think he also thought we were complimentary leaders. I’m more on the positive side, he’s more, um, as he said it “crack the whip.”

• “Kobe is still one of the all time great players in this game and I hope he does have the ball in his hands a lot. But I think it takes pressure off him if someone else can handle the ball, get him the ball in spots, maybe get him a few more easy baskets, and at the same time create offense for other guys so he’s not stuck so often having to take on one or two defenders. Perhaps we can all compliment each other because of our different skills. Maybe I can space the floor for those big guys.”

• “I feel like I’m in great shape, I know a lot about my body and I think I’ve learned a lot over the years to preserve the level of play I’m at now. I’m not worried about minutes.”

• He said a championship would not define him “but I’m dying to win one.”

• As for the ongoing Dwight Howard to the Lakers speculation: “(Howard) is a special player, a special talent for sure and I can understand why the Lakers may be recruiting him. But all I know is that for me to get the opportunity to play with Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum that’s amazing. It’d be a pleasure to play with those two. And frankly that’s a lot for me to pick up there, so I’m not even going to speculate with what is going to happen with Dwight.”

• He said he hoped the Lakers would recruit Grant Hill to the team as a reserve.

  1. quonce - Jul 5, 2012 at 2:17 PM

    What number is he gonna wear?

    • willsolo - Jul 5, 2012 at 7:01 PM

      Why wouldn’t he keep his trademark ’13’?

      • saint1997 - Jul 6, 2012 at 12:01 AM

        That was Wilt’s number

      • willsolo - Jul 6, 2012 at 5:11 PM

        And I stand corrected. Thank you for that. Maybe 31? 3?

  2. loungefly74 - Jul 5, 2012 at 2:44 PM

    Feeling the love in LA! yes!

  3. bchapman2011 - Jul 5, 2012 at 4:10 PM

    Steve Nash said he was “suprised but excited” to be a Laker. Sir that is how all of us Laker fans feel as well. We can’t wait to see you in purple in gold this year! LA is 2 or maybe 3 bench players away from being the favorites in the west.

  4. icu84bs - Jul 5, 2012 at 4:57 PM

    Kudos to Mitch Kupchak. Mitch’s playing days in LA may have been shortened by a horrendous knee injury but he has been a major factor in their many Championship runs since then.

    • bchapman2011 - Jul 5, 2012 at 6:56 PM

      As a Laker fan the biggest fear I have is not losing a star player but instead Mitch Kupchak. I don’t think that people appreciate what he has done for the orginization enough. The Lakers have been very blessed to have first Jerry West and then Mitch Kupchak running the show for the last twenty years. As long as Jim Buss stays out of the way and LA takes care of Kupchak, the Lakers will always put a winning product on the floor.

  5. lakerluver - Jul 5, 2012 at 7:21 PM

    13 is retired, that was Wilt’s number.

  6. nygdriveforfive - Jul 5, 2012 at 8:18 PM

    Still cannot believe the Suns actually traded there best player(probably ever) to a team in there division. Not a Suns fan but I’m assuming the Lakers are there arch rival? Gifting Nash to the Lakers is slap in the face to suns fans.

  7. kobe8124 - Jul 5, 2012 at 8:21 PM

    What are the chances that the Lakers land Dwight Howard?

  8. southpaw77 - Jul 6, 2012 at 2:04 AM

    Number 7 for the Canada team, 10 for his school number, 11 for his college number, 3 for his number of kids? Any of those are a possibility.

    Maybe Kobe can let him wear number 8. Lol. So which one does LA hang in the rafters. Number 8 or 24 for Kobe?

    They definately need Grant Hill so when the artist formerly known as Artest gets suspended they got a reserve small forward. They need a 3 point shooter also to open the floor up for the bigs inside and for Nash’s drive and kick outs.

  9. Jennie Oemig - Jul 6, 2012 at 12:11 PM

    I will be shocked if the Lakers don’t win at least one championship over the next two years. As a Suns fan, I’m devastated to see Nash go … especially to L. A. You’re welcome, Lakers!

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