They sure were close, weren’t they?
It seemed like Steve Nash signing his 3-year, $36 million dollar deal with the Toronto Raptors was all but guaranteed. Not only would Nash become the face of the franchise (at 38 years old mind you), but he would represent the entire country of Canada as its biggest star to date. The greatest Canadian basketball player of all-time playing for Canada’s only NBA franchise seemed all too perfect.
However, as the great lyricist Biggie Smalls once eloquently put it…….“it was all a dream”.
Instead of travelling north of the border, Steve Nash will instead be enjoying the bright lights of Hollywood after the Los Angeles Lakers agreed to a sign-and-trade with the Phoenix Suns to acquire the 2-time MVP last night.
Unfortunately for Raptors fans, Steve will not be dawning the red and black for Toronto in 2012-13.
Are you surprised? I’m certainly not.
Steve Nash made the best decision for Steve Nash. Not only do the Los Angeles Lakers give him a legitimate chance at his first NBA Championship (something the Raptors aren’t even close to accomplishing), but the move to L.A will also allow Nash to be closer to his three children who will remain in Phoenix. If that’s good enough for Steve, then who are we to argue?
As far as the Raptors are concerned, this is all probably for the best anyways.
Nash playing in Toronto would have been great for the marketing of the team and its public image as a whole, but would he have really put the Raptors over the top in the Eastern Conference?
The answer is NO.
Lest we forget, Nash is 38 years old. Signing him to a 3-year deal for that kind of money wouldn’t have been the wisest of decisions for GM Brian Colangelo and the Raptors front-office. Steve has shown that even with his age, he still has the mobility and basketball IQ to be an effective top-10 point guard in the NBA, but could they really have banked on that good fortune to continue all the way to age 41?
As he’s clearly shown in the past, Nash can make other players better around him. With a young core of talent in Andrea Bargnani, DeMar DeRozan, newly drafted Terrence Ross and the up-and-coming Jonas Valanciunas, Steve could have more than likely elevated all of their games to the point where this Raptors squad could be seeing postseason action for the first time in years.
That’s about it though. It would be false hope.
Even with Nash, would Toronto be a better team than the Heat? Celtics? Pacers and Bulls? Knicks and Nets?
I don’t think so.
For those Raptor fans who want to put heavy blame on Brian Colangelo for not getting the job done, just take a look at all of the effort he put in to recruiting Steve Nash. From having NHL legend Wayne Gretzky endorse signing with Toronto to offering Knicks guard Landry Fields an insane 3-year, $20 million dollar contract offer just to take New York out of the running, B.C threw everything but the kitchen sink (as well as his $36 million dollar deal) at Nash to try to convince him to sign with the team.
Ultimately, it all amounted to nothing.
It wasn’t for a lack of trying though.
With this Steve Nash insanity officially over, the Raptors can now move forward. With Jonas Valanciunas coming over next season from Europe and the potential of the #8 pick Terrence Ross, there is still a lot to be excited about in Raptor Nation despite the loss of Nash to L.A.
Toronto isn’t done making moves just yet. With the team linked to younger guards in Jeremy Lin and Kyle Lowry, it’s not out of the question to think the Raptors will land their point guard (of the future) elsewhere.
This is a franchise that needs to continue building with youth, rather than placing their bets with 38-year olds nearing the end of their careers (no matter how good they still may be).
The light at the end of the tunnel is fast approaching for the Raptors. So what if they couldn’t sign Nash?
It’s not the end of the world.
Christopher Walder is a sports blogger and lead editor for Sir Charles in Charge. You may follow him on Twitter @WalderSports