BEIRUT

Basketball

Los Angeles Lakers to sign free agent Nash

FILE - Los Angeles Lakers' Magic Johnson celebrates with fans as he leaves the court after defeating the Boston Celtics 106-93 to win the NBA basketball championship at the Forum in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File)

LOS ANGELES: The Los Angeles Lakers have reached an agreement to land All Star point guard Steve Nash in a trade with the Phoenix Suns, U.S. media reported late Wednesday.

The Lakers are expected to send four draft picks to the Suns, first-round picks in 2013 and 2015, and second-round picks in 2014 and 2015.

The deal to sign free agent Nash cannot be made official until the NBA allows signings on July 11. The 38-year-old will reportedly sign a three-year deal worth nearly $27 million to join forces with Kobe Bryant and pursue a long elusive championship.

He said he had made the decision after discussions with Suns owner Robert Sarver and president of basketball operations Lon Babby.

“After talking with Robert and Lon we’ve agreed that it’s time for both of us to move in new directions,” Nash told ESPN in a statement. “I approached them and asked if they would be willing to do a sign-and-trade deal with LA.

“I couldn’t be more grateful to the organization and Robert in particular.”

Nash had several NBA suitors vying to sign him as a free agent, including the New York Knicks, Dallas Mavericks and Toronto Raptors.

Having captured back-to-back league MVP Awards and leading his team to three conference finals during his last eight years in Phoenix, Nash departs a rebuilding Suns team that have missed the last two postseasons.

The Lakers are trying to recapture their championship form after being eliminated in the second-round of the playoffs two years in a row. Nash averaged 12.5 points and 10.7 assists for the Suns last season. He is expected to replace point guard Ramon Sessions, who opted out of his Lakers contract to become a free agent.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on July 06, 2012, on page 14.

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