Since he agreed to a three-year deal with the Lakers and was signed-and-traded to a division rival by the Suns earlier this summer, Steve Nash has discussed the move with a handful of reporters, explaining his motives for choosing Los Angeles. In a lengthy interview with Doug Smith of the Toronto Star, Nash expanded a bit on his free agent experience, among many other topics. The interview is worth a read in its entirety, but here are the key quotes from Nash on his free agency:
On whether there's been a backlash since he decided to sign with the Lakers:
"From Phoenix? Yeah, a little bit. But I’ve felt some backlash but I’ve also felt an overwhelming amount of support. There are people that are pissed off that I came here to the enemy but, to me, this opportunity ticked all the boxes after Phoenix didn’t want me to come back. That’s the thing that I think some fans don’t realize or don’t understand, an offer was never made…. So am I supposed to pass up an opportunity to play on a great team, be in a great city and be an hour from the kids just because? For me, my kids trump everything."
On having had the chance to sign with the Raptors:
"Toronto was a very special opportunity to me because, I mean, when they came to recruit me, it’s Bryan [Colangelo] who I’ve known my whole career; Jay Triano, recruited me in high school and who is a very close friend and our national team coach; Marc Eversley, who was my Nike rep way back and now an executive for the Raptors and very close friend of mine; Johnny Lee, who is a very close friend of mine, manager on the Olympic team. It’s hard when it’s a room full of people you care about to say no to that…. Let alone the fact I love Toronto as a city, it’s home in many ways and I would have been proud to play for the Raptors and in front of those fans and to try to move the ball forward a little bit with that franchise; that was exciting."
On weighing the Knicks' offer against the Lakers' and Raptors':
"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…. I would have been happy to go to either and I would have been thrilled to play in Toronto."
On whether his decision was made when the Lakers began to show serious interest:
"It wasn’t over because there were factors. We started talking to the Lakers, had to get them to sign off on a third year (of a contract) and the Suns had to sign off on a sign-and-trade, which was very difficult and took almost two days."
"I think it’s a different situation. I think the way that it was handled was different, I think always the first time is the hardest when something like that happens and people get over it. I think it’s slightly different."