Steve Nash Opens Up on His Move from Phoenix to Los Angeles

August 8, 2012 – 9:00 am by Brad Gagnon

In about eight weeks, we’ll see Steve Nash in a Los Angeles Lakers uniform. Hard to imagine still considering all of the great battles Nash’s teams have had with L.A. over the years. And even harder to believe considering that the Lakers were never really considered to be in play for Nash until the eleventh hour.

Steve Nash joined Burns and Gambo on KTAR in Phoenix to discuss the end of his time in Phoenix, his move to Los Angeles, and his overall experience as a free agent. But before getting to all that, he quickly weighed in on the United States men’s basketball team in London.

Comparing the United States men’s basketball team at these Olympics to the 1992 Dream Team:

“They really have two accomplished centers — two centers that can play both ends of the floor and this team is a little smaller than the ’92 team.”

On if he knew at the time that the season finale against San Antonio was his final game with the Suns:

“Not at all. I wanted to come back, to be honest. 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. So not at all, I didn’t know for sure that I would be moving on and in many ways was hoping to come back.”

On at which point in the process he realized he probably wouldn’t return to the Suns:

“It started to become apparent in June, and then I guess you could say the writing was on the wall. But I never really gave up on it until free agency actually came and I realized that there wasn’t really an offer and that they wanted to go in another direction. So it wasn’t till late in the game, and it just all kind of came to light at that point.”

On how hard he had to push Suns’ owner Robert Sarver to get this to happen :

“I definitely pushed him, and it was a difficult thing for him to do, and I won’t forget the gesture. Going to L.A. was not an easy thing. 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. Chance to go to Los Angeles, be as close as possible to the kids, primarily. And then other than that, a chance to win, to live in a new place and all the things that come with that as well. I just felt like I’d given my good, hard shift for the Suns and I think Robert appreciated my eight years. And I definitely had to push because it was a hard thing for him to do, but I’ll always be very thankful that he was willing to make it happen.”

On when the Lakers came into play:

“It was completely out of the blue. Even though you’re not allowed to talk to teams, you kind of know what teams are interested and to a certain degree you can kind of guess what’s going to happen. But the Lakers weren’t an option. I didn’t even realize they had a trade exception for Lamar Odom. There wasn’t really any talk, there wasn’t anything my agent hadn’t spoken about as an option, and then they called shortly after midnight on the 1st and the door swung open.”

On where he’d be playing right now if not for the trade to Los Angeles:

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

On why he considered returning to Phoenix even though the team is rebuilding:

“You’d definitely be sacrificing that, and that was tough. But I also didn’t want to sacrifice my proximity to my children, which was very important to me. And then on top of that I did feel bad about the last two years, and they were going to have flexibility this summer to do some things. So I thought we could really move this thing back in a better direction and I could walk away from the game and the organization that I spent most of my career at in a positive and grateful way where the team was going in the right direction and I felt good about the organization and the team.”

On the role Kobe Bryant played in the process:

“Well it definitely needed his blessing. 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 he 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.”

Listen to Steve Nash on KTAR here

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