The Los Angeles Lakers would happily get rid of Steve Nash right now. The Toronto Raptors are in the early stages of what promises to be a long rebuild, and they neither need nor want Rudy Gay on the roster. Due to the fact that L.A. has been rumored as possible destination for Gay when he becomes a free agent, and because of how tirelessly Toronto pursued Nash when was a free agent a year ago, naturally folks combined these two situations together.
Gay to the Lakers and Nash to the Raptors is the totally unrealistic rumor of the week that’s been gaining traction online.
It’s not going to happen.
Nash, 39, still has two years and about $20 million remaining on his contract. Through the four games he’s played thus far this year, he is averaging 6.5 points and 5.0 assists. The natural reaction is to attribute those paltry totals to him playing eight fewer minutes per game than he’s played over the course of his career, but his per 36 stats don’t jump off the page either. And that’s to say nothing of how blatantly uncomfortable he looks whenever he’s on the floor. Clearly he’s still not right health-wise, but it’s been a year since his injury. When will he be right?
If the Raptors wanted to bring Nash in for national pride reasons, veteran leadership, or whatever, it certainly wouldn’t be with two years remaining on his contract and more than $20 million owed. Moreover, they wouldn’t give up anything for him – so the incentive for the Lakers is completely non-existent.
As far as Gay goes, he’s often been mentioned as L.A.’s fallback option if Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James, etc. decide not to join the Lakers next summer. And seeing as they probably won’t, him eventually landing in purple and gold for the right price is a very real possibility. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how you look at it, it makes zero sense for the Lakers to trade for Gay now and tie themselves down financially when the whole plan they’ve been selling over the past six months is saving up cap space for next summer. Gay is fine as a fallback option – he’s not someone you mortgage you future for.
The Raptors may want to get Nash somehow. And the Lakers may want to get Gay down the line. But those two things have nothing to with each other right now, and they will not result in a Nash-for-Gay swap this year.