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Suns stockpile draft picks in Nash deal

The Sports Xchange
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Losing Steve Nash to the division-rival Lakers might be painful for the Suns and their fans, but the move made sense both short term and long term.

By getting the star point guard to agree to a sign-and-trade deal, Phoenix managed to maximize its asset. Multiple media outlets reported that the Lakers sent the Suns 2013 and 2015 first-round picks and 2013 and 2014 second-round picks in exchange for Nash, an unrestricted free agent.

Nash agreed to a three-year, $27 million contract.

A two-time MVP, Nash is still missing NBA championship from his resume. Moving to L.A. gives him a far better chance of adding a ring than at some of the other locales he considered, particularly Toronto.

The Raptors made a large play for the Canadian-born star, but he ultimately chose the chance for a title over the chance to finish his career in his homeland.

The move came shortly after the Suns drafted their point guard of the future.

The question now becomes: Does that future start immediately?

Truth be told: When the Suns selected North Carolina's Kendall Marshall with the 13th overall pick, they hoped they were getting a 2012-13 backup for Nash.

The Suns are confident they've landed a similar player -- a glue-type leader who demonstrated an uncanny ability to keep a wide assortment of talented teammates happy before getting hurt late last season.

En route to setting an Atlantic Coast Conference single-season assists record as a sophomore, the 6-foot-4 standout often played like Nash. The Suns are hoping to create an even greater resemblance by teaming the ball-distributing whizzes for at least the next season or two.

If Marshall has to start immediately, the Suns shouldn't have to worry much about culture shock. With North Carolina teammates Harrison Barnes (No. 7), John Henson (14th) and Tyler Zeller (17th) also having been first-round picks this year, you could argue the 20-year-old will take a step backward in supporting cast when he steps on the floor with last year's 33-33 NBA club.

SEASON HIGHLIGHT
After a 12-19 start, the Suns were 21-14 after the All-Star break and came up one loss shy of a playoff spot. Players found comfort in their roles and the offense started churning out 100-point efforts. Three wins in three nights, including a big win in Los Angeles over the Clippers, was a big week for the team.

TURNING POINT
Losing Hill to a knee injury down the stretch hurt a team that needed a defensive stopper. He tried to play in the elimination game in Utah but only lasted three minutes.

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