The Phoenix Suns trade PG Steve Nash to the Los Angeles Lakers for 2013-, 2015 first-round picks and 2013-, 2014 second-round picks
When Ramon Sessions opted out of the final year of his contract, it became clear that the Lakers were sorely needing an upgrade at the point guard position. Besides Deron Williams, Steve Nash was the hottest name out there, and he ultimately chose to stay out West rather than sign with the Knicks, Raptors, or Mavericks, which were all reportedly expressing interest in the crafty distributor.
The 38-year-old Nash agreed to a 3-year, $27 million sign-and-trade deal that benefits both sides. Kobe Bryant finally gets a playmaking point guard who is a proven distributor, but can also score when needed. The Lakers bigs, Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol, should be thrilled to have a passer like Nash join the fray. It will be interesting how to see how Bryant handles playing off the ball a lot more, but he will certainly still get his touches.
As for the Suns, they add four future picks to assist in their post-Nash makeover. Even though both first-rounders will likely be in the mid-late twenties, it provides Phoenix with some valuable assets and is better than losing Nash via free agency and getting nothing in return.
The Phoenix Suns sign PG Goran Dragic to 4-year, $34 million deal and SF Michael Beasley to 3-year, $18 million deal
With Nash leaving the desert, Phoenix ponied up a lot of cash to re-acquire one-time Sun Goran Dragic. Call it "interesting" or "poor general managerial skills," but this is the same Dragic who the Suns dealt to the Rockets along with a first-round pick for Aaron Brooks. Now, Phoenix is paying $8.5 million per year to bring Dragic back while Brooks temporarily remains on the roster as a restricted free agent. Whoops. Dragic had a breakout season last year and will take over for Nash at the point while first-round pick Kendall Marshall likely serves as the backup.
Adding Beasley provides the team with a needed wing scorer to bring off the bench. If Eric Gordon ends up on the Suns, they will have tremendously increased their ability to score the basketball when you add in Jared Dudley to the equation as well.
The Toronto Raptors acquire PG Kyle Lowry from the Houston Rockets for F Gary Forbes and 2013 protected first-round pick
Lowry was reportedly an unhappy camper in Houston and didn't see eye-to-eye with head coach Kevin McHale. Therefore, GM Daryl Morey dealt Lowry even though the team had just lost Dragic to free agency. The first-round pick gives the Suns another asset for the future; something Morey loves to collect. However, the trade leaves the Rockets incredibly thin at the point guard position ...
The Houston Rockets sign PG Jeremy Lin to 4-year offer sheet worth $28.8 million
... that is until they signed Linsanity to a four-year offer sheet in an attempt to pluck him away from the Knicks. The deal is reportedly worth $10.2 million over first two years then spikes to $9.3 million in each of final two seasons, which is rather amazing considering the former Harvard standout was a nobody just seven months ago. New York does have three days to match this offer and has repeatedly said that it would do just that with any deal Lin signed since he is a restricted free agent. If Houston loses out on Lin, the team goes back to step No. 1 in its search for a point guard.
The New York Knicks agree to sign PG Jason Kidd; terms undisclosed
Kidd decided to spurn an offer to stay with the Mavericks and will instead join the Knicks. Despite the tank creeping closer and closer to empty, he will bring a veteran presence to New York, which the team failed to get from Baron Davis and Mike Bibby last season. The ideal situation is Kidd mentoring Lin for a season or two while also helping jell the likes of Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire. Kidd is not the same player he was of a few years ago, but if he can play his role, he will certainly be an asset in the Big Apple.
The Los Angeles Clippers re-sign G Chauncey Billups to 1-year, $4.3 million deal and sign SG Jamal Crawford to 4-year, $21-25 million
With Nick Young, Randy Foye, and Billups free agents, the Clippers were searching for depth and talent on the wing. Re-signing Billups, who only played twenty games in L.A. last season before suffering a season-ending injury, is a smart move. After all, he is a proven winner and capable of playing off the ball or running the point, which the Clippers don't really need him to do since Chris Paul and Eric Bledsoe are more than capable of shouldering that load.
Crawford signed for the full mid-level exception, but there is some confusion as to the released terms. The Los Angeles Times is reporting the contract is a three-year deal worth $15.7 million, but ESPN has it as a four-year deal. Crawford has been one of the top scoring sixth men in the league the past several seasons and will likely be asked to play that role again assuming Billups starts at the two. L.A. didn't really have a big-time bench scorer before signing Crawford, so he will anchor the second unit.