How Steve Nash became a Laker

The dust has settled, or is at least settling, on the shocker of a deal last week bringing Steve Nash to L.A.

So how did it happen? ESPN.com's Marc Stein breaks it down in a fantastically well-reported feature not only taking you inside Nash's thought process, but serving as a great window into how free agents are courted in the NBA:

"The first 24 hours of luxurious action delivered a lot to digest. [Nash's agent Bill] Duffy urged Nash to "sleep on it" all when they finally parted, but Nash admits that by "Monday morning I was ready to decide between New York and Toronto."

"We're thinking," Duffy said, "that this is going to be a two-horse race."

The phone didn't stop ringing, though. Nets general manager Billy King followed up on his initial call by reiterating that Nash was Brooklyn's top choice in the event that Deron Williams elected to sign with Dallas. He pressed for his own face-to-face session with Nash. Miami's Pat Riley, despite the Heat's limited financial flexibility, rang again. And then Kupchak circled back to see how things were progressing.

Duffy says that's when he asked [Lakers G.M. Mitch] Kupchak point-blank: "How serious are you, Mitch? Because Steve would love to be on the West Coast." By the end of Day 2, Kupchak had not only convinced Nash and his agent that the Lakers were serious but had also secured approval from Lakers ownership to offer the guaranteed third contract year that Nash was seeking at 38.

The far bigger obstacle was that everyone understood that the well-over-the-cap Lakers had only one path to making a representative bid for Nash, needing to absorb him into the $8.9 million trade exception L.A. had created in December by shipping Lamar Odom to Dallas without taking any salary back. And that would require the seemingly unthinkable: Phoenix consenting to signing-and-trading Nash to the team its fans loathe more than any other."

There are a couple big takeaways from the piece. First, Nash really wanted to be close to his kids. Second, Kupchak understands how to play this game. Third, Duffy earned his commission on this contract.

Again, a really interesting piece of work, well worth the time.