When Steve Nash signed with the Los Angeles Lakers, nixing the New York Knicks and Toronto Raptors in the process, rumors were swirling about Pau Gasol’s future and Dwight Howard’s pending departure from Orlando. The Lakers somehow managed to lure Orlando, Philadelphia and Denver into a trade for Dwight without giving up Gasol, and most of the basketball world couldn’t wait to see the foursome of Nash, Bryant, Gasol and Howard take the floor.
But due to a Nash injury, we haven’t been afforded many opportunities to see them at work. Instead, we’ve seen Dwight Howard miss a lot of free throws and the Lakers stumble to an 8-10 record in the first two months of the season. Of course nobody’s willing to write off the Lakers considering the collection of talent, not to mention the yet-to-be-seen D’Antoni-Nash reunion. And Nash, for his part, can’t wait to get back on the court. Not to play with Kobe Bryant, but Pau Gasol. Because that was a big factor in signing his deal with the Lakers. We’ll let Ric Bucher and his source explain:
“Source: Ignore any and all trade talk about Pau Gasol because the Lakers landed Steve Nash by promising him he would get to play with Gasol. Nash made it a prerequisite for passing on offers from Toronto and the Knicks that Pau would be around, the source said. Such prerequisites from an incoming star aren’t that unusual — Chris Paul made similar personnel demands as part of his agreement to be dealt to the Clippers. (In Paul’s case, he wanted assurance that LAC would do whatever was necessary to retain restricted FA DeAndre Jordan.) Conceivably, once Nash gets back and actually plays with Gasol, the Lakers could continue to struggle and Nash re-thinks his position. But as of right now, one of the enticements that brought Nash to LA was the big Spaniard and the organization would have much bigger problems than they already have if they backtracked on their promise to keep Gasol in the fold.”
The larger point in all this, as Bucher notes, is that it quashes any and all recent Gasol trade rumors. But the more intriguing nugget is that Nash didn’t give two shits about playing with Kobe Bryant, at least contractually-speaking. Though this can most likely be attributed to Gasol running the pick and roll with Nash (he didn’t know if Dwight would be a Laker at the time) and Kobe’s impossible-to-move gargantuan contract making him untradeable anyway, we can dream. And if Bucher’s source has it right, then all of this just points out the absurd futility of the NBA rumor mill at times, creating solutions to problems that can’t and don’t exist. Or maybe that dunk from a couple years back just soured the Canadian.