Even though Steve Nash is 38, the basketball media is calling the longtime star with Phoenix the point guard the Lakers need to stay competitive the next few years. Nash says he got Kobe Bryant's blessing before okaying the trade. The Lakers gave up draft picks to get him.
Here are three views from the Lakers beat.
This is the week Kobe Bryant went from acknowledging his advancing age to accepting it. Yes, there is a difference. It's one thing to say and joke that you're old; it's another thing to let that fact dictate your actions. I can't imagine Bryant teaming up with Steve Nash as recently as, say, 2010. But that's what two more years and two early playoff exits will do. They create urgency, which creates unlikely alliances.
So now Kobe is down to playing with Nash. The same Steve Nash who walked away with the most valuable player award in 2006, the year Kobe averaged a career-high 35.4 points per game. The same Nash whose Phoenix Suns put Kobe's Lakers out of the playoffs in back-to-back years.
Kobe always held it against him. Even though there was turnover on those Suns teams from the front office to the roster down to the guy in the gorilla suit, as long as Nash wore that uniform, Kobe sought revenge against the Suns. Do you really think it's a coincidence that Kobe's two highest-scoring games since March 2009 both came against Phoenix?
"I won't let it go," Bryant vowed after dropping 48 on Phoenix Jan. 10.
Only now he has. He's over it.
It's a testament to Steve Nash's amazing efficiency that, at the age of 38, five teams were fighting for the right to give him a multiyear contract for several million dollars a season.
And it's a testament to the creativity of the Suns and Lakers that we got a surprise winner. Phoenix realized it had the ability to get assets back in a sign-and-trade deal when Nash unexpectedly developed a yen for the Lakers, partially redeeming the Suns after the scathing criticism the franchise took over the past year for not trading Nash before he hit free agency.
Los Angeles, meanwhile, gets a major upgrade and a few questions that go with it. On the one hand, Nash is far better than any predecessor at point guard in the Kobe-Shaq era. Also, Laker point guards spot up as much as anyone in the league, and nobody is a deadlier shooter than Nash. And if Nash plays anywhere near his level of recent seasons, the contract is a great value.
On the other hand, they're wasting a lot of Nash's talents if all they do is spot him up on the weak side....
Welcome to the new Lakers, the ones who are actually fun to watch.
They won't be as dreary as last season, when they failed to break 100 points for 13 consecutive games in January, the longest sub-100 famine for the franchise since the shot clock was established in 1954.
And, no, that wasn't also the year Nash was born.
Sure, he's old and a step slow on defense. As if the Lakers care.
They'll no longer bore their fans to tears.