Steve Nash: Joining Lakers "an Incredible Opportunity"

The two-time MVP talked about the Lakers-Sun rivalry and what it means to join Kobe Bryant

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The new member of the Los Angeles Lakers, Steve Nash, talks about what he expects with his new team. Raw video from a July 11, 2012 news conference. (Published Thursday, Jul 12, 2012)

    The Lakers acquired one of the league's top point guards and removed a "thorn" in their sides when they signed Steve Nash away from long-time rival Phoenix, the team's general manager said Wednesday at a news conference.

    The two-time NBA MVP was introduced Wednesday as a Laker -- he held up his No. 10 jersey -- at the Lakers' El Segundo practice facility.

    Nash -- described by Laker Pau Gasol as "the most unselfish player in the NBA" -- was acquired by LA through a sign-and-trade deal with Phoenix. In exchange for the immediate impact Nash brings at point guard, Phoenix received draft picks.

    Nash signed his contract Tuesday night, Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak said.

    "He's been a thorn in the Lakers side for most of this decade," Kupchak said. "We're happy to see him wearing purple and gold."

    Nash made the decision after phone calls from Laker Kobe Bryant and coach Mike Brown.

    "We didn't talk about the past at all," Nash said of his talk with Bryant. "We only talked about moving forward."

    Nash, 38, was drafted by Phoenix with the No. 15 pick in 1996, just two picks behind Bryant. Nash was traded to Dallas in 1998, but returned to Phoenix in 2004.

    He averaged 12.5 points and 10.7 assists per game last season. The Suns finished 10th in the Western Conference with a 33-33 record.

    Los Angeles finished third in the West at 41-25, falling to Oklahoma City in the playoffs.

    "To be back in a position to win again is a phenomenal story," Nash said.

    Nash was asked Wednesday about the Western Conference rivalry involving his former and current teams. The teams have a history of intense playoff matchups dating back to 1970.

    "We're grown-ups, we can get past that," Nash said.

    The Lakers dominated through the 1980s, but Phoenix finally won a playoff series against LA in the 1990 Western Conference Semifinals. Phoenix against eliminated the Lakers in the 1993 playoffs before the Lakers -- led by Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal -- defeated the Suns in the 2000 NBA Playoffs.

    Nash was a member of the 2006 Phoenix team that dropped Game 4 of its series against the Lakers when Bryant hit a buzzer-beater, but came back to win three consecutive games to eliminate LA. Phoenix against eliminated the Lakers in the 2007 playoffs, but LA answered by defeating Phoenix six games in 2010.

    The back-to-back league MVP (2004-05, 2005-06) said he originally wanted to remain loyal and come back to Phoenix, but "it became apparent the Suns wanted to move in a new direction."

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