Originally posted on Fox Sports West  |  Last updated 7/4/12
LOS ANGELES On NBA Draft night, Mitch Kupchak told the assembled media that even though the Lakers didn't have much monetary or personnel flexibility to improve the team, he'd keep trying to "hit a home run." While the Lakers apparent trade with the Phoenix Suns for point guard Steve Nash may not be a Matt Kemp liner over the centerfield wall, or a Josh Hamilton bomb into the upper deck in right field, it is a homerun nonetheless. Nash will reportedly sign a three-year, 27 million dollar contract with the Lakers to team with Kobe Bryant once the NBA transaction moratorium ends on July 11. A package of future draft picks goes to the rebuilding Suns. Nash reportedly has already turned into a Laker recruiter, as he hopes to convince former Suns' teammate Grant Hill to join him in Staples Center for the 2012-2013 season. Due to NBA rules, the Lakers had no comment on the deal when contacted late Sunday afternoon. But that didn't stop former Laker Rick Foxlike Nash a Canadian --from expressing happiness over the future Hall of Famer coming to Los Angeles, tweeting "@stevenash Welcome to LA." Rumors surfaced a little more than 24 hours ago that the Lakers were in pursuit of the eight-time All Star, who most thought was headed to the New York Knicks or Toronto Raptors. Kupchak began working on a sign-and-trade deal that ultimately came to fruition as America celebrated another birthday. Nash was a big player in the move, asking Suns' owner Robert Sarver to work something out with the Lakers so he could continue to chase the championship he's been unable to win in 16 seasons. More importantly, he wanted to keep playing in the west, where he could be close to his three children, who live in Phoenix. Out of respect for Nash's great accomplishments in Phoenix, Sarver granted his wish, probably taking less in return than he could have gotten in a sign-and-trade scenario with the Knicks, who reportedly were offering young star-in-waiting Iman Shumpert as part of a package. The Raptors made a strong pitch to Nash and agent Bill Duffy in the form of a three-year, 36 million dollar contract, far more than the 27 million he accepted from the Lakers. But once Bryant got involved, convincing Nash to stay close to his children in the west and chase that elusive ring with him, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, it became academicand emotionalfor Nash. "He's ecstatic. He gets to be close to his children," Duffy told the New York Post. Besides staying close to his family, the emotional factors included whether or not he could see himself in a Laker uniform after so many battles against them over the past decade-and-a-half. "It would be hard to put on a Lakers jersey," Nash told ESPN in an interview. "That's just what it is. You play against them so many times in the playoffs, and I just use them as an example -- I have the utmost respect for them and the organization. "I think it was Larry Bird, he wouldn't have played for them. I kind of have that tendency, so it is strange. As a free agent, you're free to go wherever you want. I have to consider everything regardless of the past or the future. You have to evaluate in that moment." And the evaluation concluded in L.A.'s favor when he realized that he could be the literal missing piece to return the Lakers to the NBA Finals. He told agent Duffy that he liked the idea of possibly helping the Knicks win a title, proving all the naysayers wrong. Obviously, though, the idea of giving the Lakers a "Big Four" was more appealing, and Nash will bring his career averages of 14.5 points and 8.6 assists per game to a team desperate for a steady hand to run the offense. Last seasonwithout a 20 point scorer on the teamNash averaged 12.5 points and 10.7 assists, while shooting a career-high .532 from the floor. To say he's a major upgrade over Ramon Sessions really doesn't even have to be stated. Point guard Sessions was acquired from Cleveland at the trading deadline, and played well during the rest of the regular season, averaging 12.7 points and 6.2 assists per game, while shooting .479 percent from the field. His numbers imploded, though, during the Lakers playoff run, his averages dropping to 9.7 ppg, 3.6 apg and an abysmal shooting percentage of .377. He was also beaten consistently on defense, especially by Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook, who turned Sessions into a spectator anytime Westbrook drove the lane. Despite the poor showing under pressure, then opting out of his contract, Kupchak made re-signing Sessions a priority, calling him first when the free agent recruiting period began at 9:00 PM Pacific last Saturday. But when the Nash discussions became serious, it was clear that Sessions would remain an ex-Laker. Steve Blake is currently the backup PG. Despite being 38 years old, Nash is one of the most well-conditioned players in the NBA, and joining the Lakers' Big Three should cover up his defensive weaknesses. His signing also puts the Lakers right back into the chase for a spot in the NBA Finals, something that seemed very unlikely just a few days ago. Following another second round playoff lass this season, things looked bleak for the Lakers. No flexibility; Dwight Howard wanted no part of a trade to Los Angeles; Kobe and Gasol were a year older; And Bynum is Bynum. Then Kupchack stepped up to the plateand unlike Casey, he connected.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

United States wins its first World Baseball Classic

Jim Ross’ wife Jan dies from injuries due to Vespa crash

Report: Larry Brown to meet with LIU Brooklyn about coaching job

Report: Jay Cutler garnering 'zero' interest around NFL

Paul Millsap to opt out of contract, become free agent

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Martellus Bennett calls out NFL to do more to build up communities

NBA disciplines Raptors’ Serge Ibaka, Bulls’ Robin Lopez for fighting

Jason Day tearfully withdraws from PGA event to be with ailing mother

Matt Barnes on Derek Fisher chants: ‘I’m sick of that s—’

Brent Musburger admits he once bet on a game he broadcasted

Jeff Hornacek: Knicks will run triangle ‘exclusively’ next season

Box Score 3/23: Team USA wins their first WBC title

The 'Duke schadenfreude season came early this year' quiz

Which Sweet 16 team should you be rooting for?

The Aesthetic: The world of player exclusive sneakers

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Steph Curry pushes OKC's buttons

Lingering issues for each 2016 MLB postseason team

Box Score 3/22: Team USA is heading to the championship

The 'With teammates like this, who needs rivals?' quiz

Re-ranking the Sweet 16 for the NCAA Tournament

What you need to know for the World Baseball Classic semis

NBA Western Conference bottom feeders to watch down the stretch

MLB players most likely to break out in 2017

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The Aesthetic: The world of player exclusive sneakers

Which Sweet 16 team should you be rooting for?

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Steph Curry pushes OKC's buttons

Lingering issues for each 2016 MLB postseason team

The 'With teammates like this, who needs rivals?' quiz

Re-ranking the Sweet 16 for the NCAA Tournament

What you need to know for the World Baseball Classic semis

Eastern Conference bottom feeders to watch down the stretch

The Patriots are offseason champs for once

The 'Who will ruin your glorious bracket this year?' quiz

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker