One day after Canada’s favorite basketball son ignored a lucrative offer from Canada’s biggest city, the Raptors moved to fill one of its most glaring holes. On Thursday, Toronto acquired a player they had initially passed on in their pursuit of Steve Nash: Houston Rockets point guard Kyle Lowry.
The Raps needed to do something; Bryan Colangelo was a general manager who had to make some moves. He had targeted Nash with a huge contract (three years, $36 million), and also issued a gigantic offer sheet to forward Landry Fields in what was widely seen as an attempt to effectively “box out” the New York Knicks from making their own pitch to Nash.
The deal to Fields is reportedly for three years and approximately $20 million: nothing is official until July 11, when NBA players can sign new contracts. New York then has three days after that point to figure out if they want to match the offer, because Fields is a restricted free agent. In the meantime, it turned out Nash had another thought on the subject: he requested, and was granted, a sign-and-trade deal from the Phoenix Suns which saw him go to the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday for four draft picks.
Canadian hoops fans, Torontonians and Lakers-haters exploded with rage when the news leaked to social-media sites. Twitter went nuclear as various sources swore up and down that the Nash move wasn’t a joke or a hoax; it did seem too incredible to believe at first. Phoenix and L.A. are interdivisional rivals; Nash reinforced that idea in a viral video where he jokingly emphasized that Suns- and Lakers-branded vitamin water were to be kept “as far apart as possible.” Now the waters have merged for real.
So the Lakers have added an all-world player in Nash who solidifies them in the one-spot, a glaring deficiency since the heyday of Derek Fisher. The Raptors, meanwhile, have brought in a “pit bull” who had grown disgruntled under Houston head coach Kevin McHale. Lowry averages 14 points per game and stabilizes half of the backcourt, and all Toronto had to give up was guard Gary Forbes and a first-round pick which has yet to be determined.
The Rolling Stones famously sang that “you can’t always get what you want.” It would appear that Toronto has recovered from the knockdown of not getting Nash by bringing Lowry in, while Los Angeles have bounced back from their playoff humiliation with the pickup of Nash. In short, they got what they need.
Now the Knicks have big decisions to make and the prospect of losing not only Fields but also guard Jeremy Lin, who has reportedly accepted an offer sheet from none other than the Rockets, who suddenly need a point guard. The “silly season” in the NBA just got serious.