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Kamis, 05 Juli 2012

Steve Nash deal has Kobe Bryant's approval

The Lakers' newly acquired point guard and their franchise player spoke before Nash agreed to a sign-and-trade deal. In Las Vegas, the Lakers' odds of winning an NBA title in 2013 improved to 8-1.

The things that superstars will do to win a championship …

Steve Nash, who recently said he couldn't envision himself in a Lakers uniform, was on the phone this week with Kobe Bryant, inquiring about becoming his teammate.

Funny he should ask.

Bryant, who had never hid his disdain for Nash's Phoenix Suns since they bounced the Lakers out of the playoffs in consecutive seasons, said he was all for sharing a locker room with his longtime rival.

Now they are united in their quest for a title after Nash agreed to a sign-and-trade deal that had the blessing of the Lakers' franchise player.

"For me, it was important to speak to him just to make sure he was completely on board," Nash told Max Kellerman and Mychal Thompson on Thursday on ESPN Radio 710.

Nash, 38, said the players discussed the veteran point guard's ability to handle the ball and incorporate more pick-and-roll plays into the Lakers' offense. Locker room dynamics were also broached.

"I think he also felt that we're complementary leaders," said Nash, who trails Bryant in the championship department, 5-0. "I'm more on the positive side, he's more … cracks the whip."

The Lakers already were holding more sway in Las Vegas after adding Nash, a two-time most valuable player, to a core of Bryant, Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol.

RJ Bell of Pregame.com changed the Lakers' 2013 championship odds to 8-1 from 12-1, trailing only the defending champion Miami Heat (2-1), Oklahoma City Thunder (3-1) and Chicago Bulls (3-1).

The Las Vegas Hotel and Casino agrees with those title chances for the Lakers, also giving them 8-1 odds. Their odds to win the Western Conference title improved to 7-2 from 11-2.

The Lakers have also generated an uptick in betting since getting Nash.

"There's a little bit more activity on the Lakers than we would normally see in July, but small" bets, said Jay Kornegay, vice president of race and sports for the Las Vegas Hotel and Casino.

Predictably, Nash was a trendy Twitter topic after agreeing to forge a fearsome foursome.

Not that everyone who wanted to could participate in the discussion.

"Just FYI — as employee of the Lakers," tweeted Jeanie Buss, the team's executive vice president of business operations, "I am not allowed to comment on free agency until after July 11."

Still, there was no shortage of opinions from those who aren't restrained by the NBA's mandated moratorium on announcing most free-agent deals.

Gasol gushed about Nash during a video chat he posted on Twitter during a day off in his preparations for the Olympics with Spain's national team, calling him "probably the most unselfish player in the NBA."

Nash, Gasol said, "still has a lot of juice in him, so I look forward to that. He makes everyone around him better."

He also might have made Phoenix fans left behind a little testy.

A picture of the cover of Thursday's Arizona Republic was tweeted, featuring a massive photo of Nash and Bryant eyeing each other sternly with the headline, "No, not L.A.!"

There were lots of musings about what jersey number Nash would wear since his preferred No. 13 is not an option, having been retired by the Lakers as a tribute to Hall of Famer Wilt Chamberlain. Nash wore No. 7 with the Canadian national team and No. 11 while at Santa Clara.

"Actually, with all the Lakers jerseys retired," Nash said during his radio interview, "I don't know what's left. So we'll figure it out."

One number tweeted by Bill Sanders of BDA Sports Management, which represents Nash, already fit the newcomer: the Lakers' practice facility at 555 Nash St.

Source: latimes.com

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