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Steve Nash was “very close” to being a Raptor

Oct 17, 2012, 8:29 PM EDT

Steve Nash of Canada poses with his new jersey at a press conference to announce his signing with the NBA basketball team Los Angeles Lakers in El Segundo Reuters

Only three days after the NBA free agency period began, a bombshell was dropped on the NBA landscape when it was announced that Steve Nash would be a Laker via a sign and trade with the Phoenix Suns. Shock spread around the league with everyone wondering how the Lakers could pull the deal off and why Nash would want to join his longtime Pacific Division rival.

But while surprise came from all corners of the association, it was the Toronto Raptors that took the news the hardest. The organization (and their fans) thought their native son was returning to his roots to guide their franchise. And, it turns out, with good reason. Nash himself has since come out and said the deal was nearly done.

Steve Buffery of the Toronto Sun has the report:

In an interview with QMI Agency last week, Nash confirmed he was on the verge of signing a deal with the Raptors. GM Bryan Colangelo reportedly offered the Victoria, B.C., product a three-year, $36-million contract — close to $10 million more than he received from the Lakers.

“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.”

This revelation may seem like pouring salt in the wound but, in reality, the fact that Nash is in Southern California rather than north of the border is probably best for all involved.

The Lakers got an elite point guard and filled their biggest positional hole. They’ll pair Nash with Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Dwight Howard and chase rings for the next few seasons — or as long as their bodies hold up.

From the Raptors side, they may not have brought in Canada’s most decorated baller to play in front of a “home” crowd, but in the wake of losing out, they’ve done quite well for themselves. They’ve since turned a future draft pick into Kyle Lowry — a fantastic point guard in his own right — and have brought last season’s lottery pick Jonas Valanciunas over from Europe.

Those two, along with rookie Terrence Ross and a healthy Andrea Bargnani, form the core of a young and up and coming team that will grow up together. In a season or two, they’ll still be in their primes pushing for a playoff spot rather than watching an aged Steve Nash play out the final games of his career.

The way it all turned out may not be what the Raptors wanted at the time, but they may well be better off in the long run. Even if it’s the Lakers that are seen as the short term winners.

  1. furiouslytim - Oct 17, 2012 at 9:18 PM

    Lowry isn’t a bad consolation prize at all

  2. lakerluver - Oct 17, 2012 at 11:33 PM

    Both teams won.

  3. diehardcard - Oct 18, 2012 at 1:47 AM

    “…it was the Toronto Raptors that took the news the hardest.”

    No, that would be Suns fans. Betrayed by our star and by management in one fell swoop. If Nash goes to Toronto, he remains loved by all in Phoenix. As it is now…what’s the opposite of love?

    • dls612 - Oct 18, 2012 at 7:15 AM

      Nash gave all he had to the Phoenix organization and to its fans, never asked to be traded! If the fans are genuine they’ll be rooting for him to do well!

      • zerole00 - Oct 18, 2012 at 2:35 PM

        Betrayed? He gave you his best years and NEVER caused drama, asked for a trade, nada. He’s in the twilight of his career now and he wanted a legitimate chance at a championship, even the Suns management understood and appreciated him enough to do the sign and trade.

      • diehardcard - Oct 18, 2012 at 2:43 PM

        Uh…he did ask to be traded. To the Lakers. And Sarver did it. That’s why he’s there. Would Yankee fans root for Jeter if he asked to be traded to the Red Sox so he could win a title? Would Patriot fans root for Brady if he asked to be traded to the Giants? Suns fans hate the Lakers passionately. They’ve dominated the division, won a ton of titles and have the best overall team winning percentage of all time. The Suns are 4th all time in winning percentage! 4th! But they have no titles and have only won the division 6 times to the Lakers 32. Think about that. Fourth best team all time, only 6 division titles.

        If you don’t understand why Suns fans hate the Lakers and why Suns fans hate Nash for WANTING, ASKING to play for them, you don’t understand what being a loyal fan means.

  4. dls612 - Oct 18, 2012 at 9:11 PM

    Diehardcard shut up! U sound like some bitter female who got dumped by her boyfriend!

  5. paulhargis53 - Oct 19, 2012 at 10:45 AM

    Yeah, dls. Just like you laker fans rooted for Shaq to do well, or are saying good riddance to Bynum and his injuries and attitude, right? RIGHT?!

    Is hypocrisy a communicable disease amongst laker fans?

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