Throughout this offseason, we will do our best to keep up with trades and free-agent signings that could have a potential effect on the Thunder.
Today, it’s Phoenix Suns point guard Steve Nash being traded to the Los Angeles Lakers:
What it means to the Lakers: It means they have their greatest point guard since Magic Johnson. The 38-year-old Nash is a pending Hall of Famer and two-time league most valuable player starving for his first world championship. His cunning, unselfish presence is precisely what the Lakers need for another NBA title. By surrendering four future draft picks (two first-rounders; two second-rounders) and $3 million cash to the Sun in a sign-and-trade for Nash, the Lakers retain key components that make them a threat to win the Western Conference crown, unlike previous trade scenarios that had them forfeiting Pau Gasol and other role players. (To replace Nash, the Suns have agreed to terms on a four-year, $34 million deal to bring back point guard Goran Dragic, whom they traded to Houston in 2011.) If the Lakers can swap center Andrew Bynum for Dwight Howard, the franchise’s 17th all-time title could await, which would tie them with Boston for the most in NBA history. Heck, a Bynum-Howard trade might not even be necessary.
What it means to the Thunder: Its path to returning to the NBA Finals just got significantly tougher. In the second round of this year’s playoffs, OKC dominated the position. Lakers starting point guard Ramon Sessions averaged 6.8 points, 3.0 assists and 2.4 turnovers in 30.2 minutes. He shot 35.3 percent from the field and didn’t make a 3-pointer against the Thunder. Nash averaged 12.5 points and 10.7 assists in 31.6 minutes last season and shot 53.2 percent from the field on a team that had to get hot to finish the season at .500. There is still fuel in the tank for Nash, who will be even more gassed up about having some teammates to pass to, including a pair of 7-footers standing extremely close to the basket. The Thunder will counter Gasol-Bynum (Gasol-Howard) by committee with Kendrick Perkins, Serge Ibaka, Nick Collison, Cole Aldrich and Hasheem Thabeet. This deal also means the Dallas Mavericks have failed in their two primary free-agent quests in luring either Deron Williams or Nash. Mavs owner Mark Cuban still has enough room available to bid on James Harden and/or Ibaka after next season if they haven’t agreed to an extension with OKC.
- John Rohde