Someone will call him a traitor. Some people already have. Steve Nash is a Los Angeles Laker today, as far from Toronto as he ever was; he will not come and save the Raptors, even though they asked. Someone will boo him when he comes to Canada to play, wearing purple and gold. Sadly, it’s inevitable.
And they will be wrong. Nash’s entire career is based on two overriding instincts: Smart decisions, and unselfishness. He has led the league in assists five times; he has been responsible for a higher percentage of his teams’ total assists over his career than Magic Johnson was for his. Nash has altered his passing technique in certain situations because he figured the ball would get there a tenth of a second faster. If Steve Nash is on your team, he’s here to help.
But he was never overly interested in helping the Toronto Raptors, even if he would have been handsomely paid to do so. The team’s three-year, US$36-or-so-million offer was plunked on the table on Sunday, and sat untouched and lonely as he negotiated with New York and then unexpectedly approved a sign-and-trade to the Lakers on Wednesday night, along with a reported three-year, US$25-million deal. He did this despite a reported plea from Wayne Gretzky to do what he could never do, which was come back to Canada. He left the Raptors, and general manager Bryan Colangelo, to fend for themselves.
And that’s OK. It really is. Lord knows there are those who have lashed out at him before — primarily for leaving the Canadian national team after a decade of year-in-year-out service, and after they fired his friend and mentor, Jay Triano. Because Nash didn’t sign with Toronto there are going to be some who will blast him for a lack of patriotism, even after he has accepted the job as GM of Canada Basketball.