The Los Angeles Lakers have acquired one of the biggest prizes in the NBA offseason that several other teams were jostling for, and the payoff is going to cause issues for everyone, including the defending Western Conference Champion Oklahoma City Thunder. Steve Nash is now the new Lakers point guard, and combined with the other storied vets on the team, a new power has been established before the Lakers competitive window is completely closed.
As if the conference weren’t difficult enough (and the Lakers team as well), LA’s Mitch Kupchak pulled off an incredible sign-and-trade with the Suns that gives up two first- and two second-round selections in alternating future drafts for the next four years. That’s a small price to pay considering the Lakers’ first rounders are always near the second round anyway.
Nash, however, will give LA instant championship potential after being swept out of the NBA playoffs this season in the second round by the Thunder. With Nash at the point, the offense becomes incredibly difficult to defend.
ESPN’s Brian Kamenetzky writes, "The Lakers have instantly gone from a staid, struggling team on offense to one with incredible potential. Nash at the point, Kobe Bryant on the wing, with Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum up front (at least for now)? Good luck guarding those guys. The potential for spectacularly entertaining basketball is very, very strong."
The Thunder were considered the team to beat in the Western Conference for the next few years and many were calling the Thunder-Heat finale a potential rivalry to be developed. However, the Lakers have answered with another veteran acquisition of their own that should prove tough to beat. Perhaps now the Lakers stand as the biggest competition within the conference for the Thunder to overcome.