Thursday, August 9, 2012

Kobe Bryant "sealed the deal" on Bringing Steve Nash to the Lakers

After going through numerous postseason battles against the Los Angeles Lakers as a member of the Phoenix Suns, perennial NBA All-Star point guard Steve Nash now finds himself on the other side of that rivalry.

Coming into his first season as the floor general sporting purple and gold, Nash says the move from the Suns to the Lakers was a done deal after Kobe Bryant issued his approval.

"Well, it definitely needed (Bryant's) blessing," Nash told the Burns and Gambo show on KTAR in Phoenix. "I primarily did this for the kids, and then a great byproduct is that I get to play for a contender. … It was great that (Bryant) signed off and he was so enthusiastic about it and positive. You could feel it.

"He was genuine and excited, and that kind of sealed the deal."

Even though he's focused on securing his first championship and putting Los Angeles back on top in the Western Conference, Nash says joining the Lakers was no easy task for him.

 "Going to L.A. was not an easy thing," Nash said. "I think I said a week before free agency it would be hard to put on a Lakers jersey, and I meant that. We've gone through some playoff battles and they're a rival and an enemy to some of the Suns fans, but at the end of the day the Suns were moving in a new direction and in some ways I felt like I couldn't cut off my nose to spite my face."

That new direction for the Suns was the deciding factor in the two-time league MVP leaving the desert to head to Los Angeles, according to Nash. Despite the likelihood that Phoenix would've still been an also-ran in the Western Conference next season, Nash said rejoining the Suns was still his first choice.

"I wanted to come back, to be honest," Nash said. "One, primarily with my children being in Phoenix, but second, I felt dissatisfied with the last two seasons, not being in the playoffs. And I felt a big part of me wanted to leave the franchise in a better place than it was the last two seasons and be a part of moving it forward."

If the sign-and-trade to the Lakers would've fallen through, Nash believes with certainty that he would've ended up with either the Toronto Raptors or New York Knicks.

"It would've been Toronto or New York," Nash said. "Those were the two next teams, and I don't know. I would've crossed that bridge had the Lakers situation fell through."

With the dust now settled, it's clear that Los Angeles was Nash's best choice among his potential options this summer. With Bryant, Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol already in place, the Lakers are likely to be top contenders to challenge the Oklahoma City Thunder for the Western Conference throne.

Via USAToday.com

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