The Lakers have been searching for a point guard for a little more than a year now. Los Angeles signed Steve Blake but he wasn’t the answer. Then Los Angeles gave up a first round pick for Ramon Sessions. Even though Sessions brought an element of speed and athleticism to the position that the Lakers didn’t have, it turned out he wasn’t the answer either. That came more and more apparent in the Lakers second round playoff loss to the Thunder when Russell Westbrook both point guards apart and showed the glaring weakness.
The Lakers realized it as well as they were able to make a blockbuster move this offseason for future Hall-Of-Fame point guard Steve Nash. There are certainly some concerns with Nash. He is 38-years-old, he has been dealing with back injuries and he is a defensive liability, but the Lakers got better with this trade and they have the point guard that they have been searching for to compete with some of the ones in the Western Conference. Not to mention the Lakers have now extended their championship window and have given Kobe Bryant a reason to believe that title number six could be in his near future.
Kobe Bryant joined ESPN Radio with Colin Cowherd to talk about the conversation he had with Steve Nash before the trade was made, whether he has had a lot of dialogue with management this offseason about moves to make, how much he likes the idea of playing with Steve Nash, how many more prime years he believes he has in the NBA and the Lakers chances this year now that they have Nash.
On the conversation he had with Steve Nash before the trade was made:
“Steve just wanted to see how I felt about it. He knows the kind of rivalries that we have had. What I said to him was ‘look we came into the NBA together and we were both kind of flying below the radar so to speak.’ Since that time it’s kind of been a bond that has developed that kind of goes beyond the rivalries that we’ve had on the court. There’s always been that mutual respect and now you look around the league and we’re kind of the last ones doing it. Myself, him, Ray Allen, (Kevin) Garnett and there are maybe one or two other that have come in the league since ‘96 that are still doing it so there’s that level of respect there.”
Whether he has had a lot of dialogue with management this offseason about moves to make:
“We’ve had a much, much more open dialogue this summer as opposed to last summer. It’s been kind of a free-flowing information and we’ve been sharing things with each other, they’ve been open to my suggestions and they in turn have been open with me so it’s been a team effort.”
How he feels about playing with Steve Nash and not having the ball in his hands as much:
“I absolutely love it. He puts me in my original form which is that of a finisher. That’s what I do best and in the past I’ve kind of had to orchestrate the offense and make sure guys are in the right places and facilitate and score and do both and kind of switch hats quarter to quarter and sometimes minute to minute and now I don’t have to. That’s what he does, that’s what he is phenomenal at and that is what he is best at. Me, I just get to finish plays.”
How many prime years he feels he has left in the NBA:
“As many as it takes I guess. I don’t know. I think about it and the thing is you want to continue to play because you love the game. You obviously want to win and that’s why you play the season is to win a championship. In terms of how many years I have left? I don’t know. Three maybe four, but I don’t know if I want to play that long. This will be 17 coming up and man that’s a long time, that’s more than half of my life.”
What he thinks of the Lakers chances of a championship now that they have Nash:
“We have a much better chance obviously. We’ve kind of increased our chances by bringing Steve in. Last year was a tough year. There were a lot of inconsistencies and we were still trying to figure out what we wanted to do offensively. Even in the playoffs we kept adjusting things schematically so as a result there was a lot of uncertainty and indecision down the stretch. Those are things that we will still have to figure out and we will figure those things out this summer and probably into next season. If we do that I like our chances to win the whole thing.”
How much fun it will be to play with Nash:
“It’s going to definitely be fun for me because I get to finally just catch and shoot as opposed to dribbling and kicking it, dribbling some more and shooting so that’s just going to be fun because I’m not going to have to work that hard to get shots anymore. Bringing him here kind of pumps a new life into the team and the city is buzzing because of it and it’s such a great energy.”
Listen to Kobe Bryant on ESPN Radio here (Audio begins 9:35 into the podcast)