How do I feel about Nash to the Lakers? Where do you want to start?
In the hours since the news of Steve Nash to the Los Angeles Lakers (and oh by the way here's a Darren Rovell twitpic to really turn your stomach), I haven't been able to hold a thought in my head without it being replaced by another, and another, and another. It's like trying to catch a mouse that has snuck into your house. Every time I think I have it cornered it slips away.
So instead of one thought, I'll give you a stream-of- consciousness-type column that hopefully by the end, will have produced a clear what-do-I-think epiphany of the biggest story of the decade.
I am at The Amazing Spider Man when I see the tweet. That completely unnecessary reboot (Emma Stone is awfully pretty though) will always be associated with THE DAY THE SUNS TRADED STEVE NASH TO THE LAKERS. My co-host broke the news, but I when tell my 14-year-old son about it I add "I sure hope he's wrong." To which the wise young man reminds me it was bad for the show if Gambo was wrong. I respond by saying today I didn't care.
Once it was clear Gambo was right, I am literally queasy. The medium popcorn and dollar refill of Coke is churning. It was shock. Anxiety. Disbelief.
I read today that, according to Nash's agent, Nash briefly contemplated retiring from the NBA. As I walked out of the Harkins San Tan, I briefly contemplate renouncing my citizenship from Planet Orange, like some kind of a Cuban defector ("I seek political asylum with the Oklahoma City Thunder").
I try to focus my emotions. Who am I upset at? Nash for wanting this? Or the Suns for enabling it?
I thought about those words that brought me comfort a week ago: "I think it would be hard to put on a Lakers jersey." When Nash said that to an ESPN radio station in New York, it brought peace. I feel lied to. Flat out, straight up lied to.
But wait. It takes two. How could the Suns do this to Suns fans? How could they have so little knowledge or interest in just how much WE HATE THE LAKERS? I thought of the old radio adage; know your audience. Clearly, I thought, the law firm of Sarver, Babby and Blanks doesn't know theirs.
Keep in mind, this was all before I left the parking lot. Deep breath. Take the emotion out of it. Think rationally. Take the information that was given, cover the word "Lakers" with my thumb, and evaluate the move……ok, heart rate slowing down. Telling myself at least they got something for him. Somebody tweeted me and suggested that the picks could be used as part of a deal to the Hornets as part of a sign and trade for Eric Gordon. Ok, that's good too. I feel normalcy envelop me.
Then I remember that sports is emotion. Take the emotion out of it? I'm not a friggin' robot. I remember what I told Jon Bloom after the Suns drafted Kendall Marshall; when it comes to the Suns, I'm irrational. I don't run and hide from that.
No -- the angel on my right shoulder whispers in my ear -- sports is a business and all that happened today was a business transaction. Then another tweeter reminds me that sports are merely entertainment, like the movies, and with Nash in L.A. I've got another reason to loathe that team. The badder the bad guy, the better the story (it's the reason why Die Hard is one of the best action flicks ever).
Then the devil on my left shoulder chimes in by coming up with the analogy that, in a sports sense, my wife just left me for my best friend. Or even worse, my most-hated business rival. I can feel myself falling into an abyss. Now I've got so many thoughts swirling around that I have to ask my wife to drive to the D-backs game so I can think. And tweet.
I think about the Suns and wonder if four picks and three million bucks are worth alienating half of your fan base. And really, let's be honest about the value of those picks. Second round picks in the NBA remind me of signs that you see that read "Dirt for sale." Late first round picks are nothing more than putting all your money on one number at a roulette table. Did the Suns really get anything for Nash?
A friend compares the deal to the day the team traded Dennis Johnson for Rick Robey. I cried that day, have I ever told you that? I think of the day Charles Barkley did a nationally televised interview with NBC (halftime of Game 1 of the NBA Finals between the Sonics and Bulls) all but demanding he be traded from the Suns. I start comparing those three kicks to the midsection to judge which hurt the worse.
I think that given his love of filmmaking both in front of and behind the camera, I think that L.A. is a perfect place for Nash. And besides, what NBA player doesn't want to play for the Lakers?
I go to bed mad as hell.
I woke up with new perspective and new information.
Nash, we found out, was desperate to stay close to his family. He's only an hour away, his agent says. That, while playing on a contender, means everything to him. Reading Nash's statement and the gratitude he expresses to Robert Sarver ("couldn't be more grateful" and "says a lot about his character") and I feel my stance softening.
In addition to signing Gordon to the big offer sheet (smelling sign and trade with Hornets), the Suns have added Michael Beasley and Goran Dragic. They're going to be interesting next year (I didn't say good, I said interesting).
Then I think about my own hypocrisy. I've been upset with the Suns for years for not dealing Nash sooner in the name of getting something for him sooner. I'm going to complain now that they did what I wanted them to do all along? That seems a little unfair. Then I think about Sarver and his reputation, not among the fans but among the players of the NBA. That rep took a hit during the lockout. Did he just get some cred back for acquiescing to Nash's wish? ("Hey, everything you heard about me was untrue…did you see what I did for Nash?") If they can walk away with Eric Gordon, I'll be impressed. Maybe even pleased.
I'm about to get in the car and drive to the station and I'm sure five more thoughts will pop into my head.
How do I feel about Nash to the Lakers? You didn't expect an answer did you?