PHOENIX - Steve Nash's agent, Bill Duffy, said Wednesday the two-time Most Valuable Player is going to the Los Angeles Lakers in a sign-and-trade deal with the Phoenix Suns.
The 38-year-old point guard, who spent the past eight seasons with the Suns, was a free agent, but a sign-and-trade agreement was necessary for the Lakers to afford him. He agreed to a three-year, $27 million contract. In return, the Suns get four draft picks - first rounders in 2013 and 2015 and second rounders in 2013 and 2014.
Duffy said the deal was finalized Wednesday night. He said a main reason for Nash choosing the Lakers was to remain close to his children, who live in Phoenix. There had been sign-and-trade talks with the New York Knicks and a lucrative free-agent offer from the Toronto Raptors.
The deal will put Nash on the floor with the team he tried so hard to unseat as a Western Conference power, teaming him with Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum and, at least for now, Pau Gasol.
The Suns at least get something in return for their longtime leader and one of the city's most popular athletes, although no one to help immediately, unless some or all of the picks are used in future trades.
Nash's Phoenix teammate Jared Dudley tweeted that Nash "has not only been the best but the most unselfish player I ever played with. I only wish him the best. He deserves everything. Steve Nash has made many players millions. Only fitting to trade to a team that has a chance to win the ship and pay what he deserves."
Nash has never made it to the NBA Finals. He was last in the Western Conference finals against the Lakers in 2010, when the Suns lost in six games and Los Angeles went on to win the NBA title.
The sign-and-trade agreement first was reported by sports personality John Gambadoro of KTAR radio in Phoenix.
The Suns resisted trading Nash during his final season and insisted they were interested in bringing him back, but they never seriously were in the discussion.
Nash's arrival should rejuvenate the Lakers, who lost in the second round for the second straight postseason after their back-to-back championships in 2009 and 2010. Los Angeles hasn't had an elite point guard alongside Bryant for several seasons, failing to address Derek Fisher's decline while the rest of the West got better.
The Lakers got sub-par play last season from the 37-year-old Fisher, who was traded to Houston at the deadline and replaced by Ramon Sessions. The journeyman provided speed and scoring but struggled in his first career playoff run. Sessions declined his player option for next season.