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Steve Nash was More Open to Joining the New York Knicks than Most Fans Think

October 29th, 2012 at 11:07 AM
By Matt Agne

Steve Nash has had a remarkable career in the NBA and defied logic by playing at a high level longer than most bodies players to. As a free agent this off-season he was courted mainly by the Toronto Raptors and New York Knicks before being shipped in a sign-and-trade to the Los Angeles Lakers. He chose the Lakers for the opportunity to capture a championship next to Kobe Bryant and company along with the chance to be close to his daughters. However, Nash landing in New York — his summer home for ten years — wasn't as much of a pipe dream as most fans believe.

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Steve Nash is a 6'3", 178 pound point guard who was born in Johannesburg, South Africa and comes from the great white north known as Canada. He was drafted fifteenth over-all in the 1996 NBA draft by the Phoenix Suns out of Santa Clara. Nash played for the Suns from 1996-98, the Dallas Mavericks from 1998-2004, the Suns again from 2004-12 and signed with the Los Angeles Lakers this off-season.

Nash is the three time Lionel Conacher Award recipient (2002, 2005, 2006). For those that don't know the Lionel Conacher Award is an annual award given to Canada's male athlete of the year. He won the Lou Marsh Trophy in 2004. The Lou Marsh Trophy is a trophy that's awarded annually to Canada's top athlete, professional or amateur. He also won the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award in 2007. That is an award given to either a player, coach, or trainer in the NBA who shows outstanding community service.

Nash is an eight time NBA All-Star (2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012), a three time All-NBA First Team (2005, 2006, 2007), a two time All-NBA Second Team (2008, 2010) and a two time All-NBA Third Team (2002, 2003). He's a two time NBA Most Valuable Player (2005, 2006), a five time NBA assists leader (2005, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2011) and a two time NBA Skills Challenge champion (2005, 2010).

To call Nash's career in the NBA a success would be an understatement. However, despite his longevity in basketball and being 38 years old he was still one of the hottest free agents this summer. He's defied his age by maintaining his soccer body and athleticism throughout his career.

As a result, the Phoenix Suns tried to retain him, the Toronto Raptors tried to lore him back to Canada and the New York Knicks tried to get him to re-join forces with Amare Stoudemire and make his summer home his basketball home. Ultimately, Nash chose to leave the Suns as their roster was young and non-competitive. Although intrigued, he decided not to take the money and fame of joining the Raptors for the same reasons. The Knicks offered him much more talent to play with but also couldn't offer him nearly the money he was looking for. However, the Los Angeles Lakers allowed him to join a team ready to win and willing to pay for his services.

Doug Smith of interviewed Nash and reports that the Knicks were much more of a realistic option than most New York fans believe.

And the Knicks opportunity was exciting; I’ve been in New York for 10 summers, always wanted to play in the Garden for the Knicks in some way and I have so many friends in the city now living there. Just the challenge of playing the Garden even though it’s been such a tumultuous environment recently, it still was an exciting proposition just to experience it. They have a lot of talent, too.

It was an impressive move by Mitch Kupchak (Lakers GM) being able to convince Nash to come to Los Angeles over playing back home in Canada or his summer home of New York. The Lakers offered Nash a New York roster with Toronto money and it was an opportunity at this point in his career that Nash couldn't pass up. Ultimately, that combined with the fact that Nash's daughters live on the west coast, helped make his decision to join the Lakers the right one for him this off-season.

The Lakers ability to pull off a sign-and-trade with their division rival Suns to land Nash surprised many NBA observers. It was one of the biggest moves of the off-season, ranking at the top by another Lakers trade to land Dwight Howard and the Nets trade for Joe Johnson.

Despite the Lakers need for a top caliber point guard, Nash never seemed like a legitimate option. First of all, he had said he'd never play for the Lakers in the past. Furthermore, his asking price took them out of his market. However, the intrigue of being able to play besides the Kobe Bryant and the rest of the Lakers talent-laden roster and the fact they were able to pull off a sign-and-trade and match Nash's asking price led to him calling Los Angeles home.

After flirting with Nash the New York Knicks pulled off a sign-and-trade of their own and brought Raymond Felton back into the fold. While he's not in Nash's league Felton can play and has had success in New York and playing besides Amare Stoudemire before. However, Knicks fans will always be left to wonder what it would have been like to have Steve Nash calling Madison Square Garden home. If the Lakers couldn't pull of their sign-and-trade New Yorkers likely wouldn't have to wonder.


Tags: Amare Stoudemire, Basketball, Canada, Kobe Bryant, NBA, New York, New York Knicks, Phoenix Suns, Raymond Felton, Steve Nash, Toronto Raptors

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