This season, despite never playing in an actual game, newly retired Laker Steve Nash has been spending time working with the team’s promising young players in Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle and Ryan Kelly, though it seems that the legendary Canadian point guard plans to be of service to the purple and gold for years to come, too.
According to Eric Pincus from the L.A. Times, Nash noted at his retirement press conference on Tuesday that he’d be “open to helping out” the Lakers in their pursuit of the league’s top upcoming free agents over the coming years.
The 2015 free agent class, which could include prominent players such as Marc Gasol, Kevin Love, Rajon Rondo, LaMarcus Aldridge and Goran Dragic, among others, would hold more than enough talent to put the Lakers back on the right track towards re-establishing themselves at the top of the NBA’s hierarchy.
While it’s likely that players like Gasol and Aldridge won’t leave their respective teams for a much less attractive situation like the Lakers, it should never be 100 percent discounted. We’ve seen enough crazy things happen in this league to know that no scenario can be fully ruled out.
For example, how could anyone predict a player like Lance Stephenson leaving a winning situation with the Indiana Pacers in 2014 in order to sign with the Charlotte Hornets? Certainly, money was a contributing factor, but a bigger reason behind his decision could have been a result of issues within the Pacers organization.
The same can be said for LeBron James: the Miami Heat were able to secure a back-to-back championship run during LeBron’s tenure in South Beach, so their certainly wasn’t much suspicion that he would even consider leaving.
However, LeBron left Miami and landed with his former team the Cleveland Cavaliers in what would be a homecoming welcome.
Furthermore, the 2016 free agent class could include compelling players such as Kevin Durant, Joakim Noah, Brook Lopez, and maybe even LeBron – if he were to seriously re-consider his situation in Cleveland after just two years, that is.
For a player like Kevin Durant, you’d want someone like Nash on your side for a potential L.A. pitch.
Nash and Durant are friends, so the Lakers could possibly have an advantage over a number of teams around the league when it comes to the pursuit of the high-scoring forward.
None of these players should be ruled out for the Lakers. Much less, any other team in the NBA.
When players enter free agency, they look at a variety of aspects to determine where they land next.
Winning culture is one of them – but certainly not the only one. Money is also obviously a big factor – maybe the biggest – along with the market, culture, their potential role on the team and how their location will affect their family life.
Now, the question that remains is whether the Lakers will have a somewhat established roster when they decide to chase the league’s premier free agents, because no matter how much persuading Nash does over the next few summers, the team’s success rate in signing big names will ultimately come down to the quality of L.A.’s roster going forward.
Edited by Ross Pickering.