Independence Day is a celebration marked by red, white and blue, parades, afternoon baseball, barbeques and fireworks.
But for Valley fans, July 4 also represents a day of freedom — or better put the day the Phoenix Suns set two-time MVP Steve Nash free by trading him to the rival Los Angeles Lakers.
It’s now been exactly one year since the Suns dealt Nash after eight seasons with the organization, so let’s take a look back at the last 365 days for both the 39-year-old point guard and his former team.
• July 4, 2012 – The Suns agree to a sign-and-trade with the Lakers, in which Nash would be swapped for four draft picks (2013 and 2015 first-round picks and the 2013 and 2014 second-round picks) and cash.
• July 4, 2012 – Phoenix agrees to a four-year deal worth $34 million with former point guard Goran Dragic.
• October 30,2012 – In his first game with the Lakers, Nash scores seven points and dishes out four assists in a 99-91 loss to the Dallas Mavericks.
• October 31, 2012 – The Suns drop season opener at home to the Golden State Warriors 87-85.
• October 31, 2012 In a 116-106 loss at Portland, Nash suffers a small non-displaced fracture in his left fibula. He misses Los Angeles’ next 24 games, including a 114-102 victory over the Suns on November 16.
• November 10-12, 2012 – The Lakers fire head coach Mike Brown after just five games. Two days later, the team replaces him with former Suns head coach Mike D’Antoni.
• December 22, 2012 – Nash returns to the Lakers’ lineup and plays 41 minutes in a 118-115 overtime win over the Golden State Warriors. Los Angeles moves to 13-14 with the win, while a Suns loss in Portland pushes their record to 11-16.
• January 18-20, 2013 – After dropping to a Western Conference-worst 13-28, the Suns and head coach Alvin Gentry part ways. The team tabs Lindsey Hunter as its interim head coach for the rest of the 2012-13 season two days later.
• January 30, 2013 – Nash makes his first return to the Valley as a Laker and scores just 11 points to go along with two assists. The Suns outscore the Lakers by 16 in the fourth quarter en route to a 92-86 victory.
• February 12, 2013 – The eight-time All-Star finally gets a win over his former squad, as the Lakers down the Suns 91-85 at Staples Center. Nash scores 10 points in the victory.
• March 8, 2013 – Nash scores a season-high 22 points in the Lakers’ 118-116 overtime win over the Toronto Raptors. The win puts LA over the .500 mark, while the Suns are 20 games under .500 for the first time all season.
• March 30, 2013 – The former Suns point guard exits the Lakers’ 103-98 victory over the Sacramento Kings with a hamstring injury. Los Angeles plays its finish eight games without the 39-year-old.
• April 17, 2013 – With a 118-98 loss to the Denver Nuggets, the Suns finish the 2012-13 season with a 25-57 record — its worst since the 1968-69 expansion season.
• April 28, 2013 – The San Antonio Spurs complete a four-game sweep of the Lakers with a 103-82 road victory. Nash sits out the final two games of the first-round series with recurring hamstring and back injuries.
• May 7, 2013 – After parting ways with Lance Blanks two weeks earlier, the Suns tab Ryan McDonough as the organization’s new general manager.
• May 28, 2013 – The Suns and McDonough officially hire Jeff Hornacek as the team’s new head coach. It’s the former Sun’s first head coaching job.
• June 27, 2013 – With their first top-5 pick since 1987, the Suns draft Maryland center Alex Len with the No. 5 overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. The team also trades up to draft Kentucky guard Archie Goodwin with the No. 29 overall pick.
• July 2, 2013 – McDonough completes his first trade as GM, as the Suns acquire point guard Eric Bledsoe and small forward Caron Butler in a three-way deal with the Los Angeles Clippers and Milwaukee Bucks. As part of the trade, the Suns send veteran Jared Dudley to Los Angeles. The trade can’t be finalized until July 10.