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Old 10-16-2012, 11:01 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Steve Nash: 'I was very close' to joining Raptors

In an interview with QMI Agency last week, Nash confirmed he was on the verge of signing a deal with the Raptors. GM Bryan Colangelo reportedly offered the Victoria, B.C., product a three-year, $36-million contract -- close to $10 million more than he received from the Lakers.

"I was very close, you know," Nash said. "Because it appeared that they were going to be an option long before free agency started. So I got my head around that and I was comfortable with that and happy with the opportunity to play in Toronto. But when this opportunity (with the Lakers) became a reality, I couldn't pass it up."
It's all about winning. Even with Nash in the fold, the Raptors weren't going to win anything this season, and probably not next season, either. Still, that didn't stop a great many Raptors fan from pounding on Nash for turning his back on the only Canadian team in the NBA. Captain Canada, as Nash was called when he still played for the national team, was branded a traitor, and worse.

Nash heard and read the criticisms and it hurt. But he was eager on this day to make the point that he didn't use the Raptors in some diabolical way to garner a better deal in New York or L.A., and was sincerely excited about the prospect of playing on home soil.

"It wasn't in any way like, 'Oh well, I gotta go to Toronto.' I was thrilled," Nash said.

"Unfortunately it wasn't a team contending for a championship. But I love Toronto, it's home in many senses. And I think it's a first-class organization and a first-class city and I would have been extremely proud to play for them and represent the city, and play for those fans and hopefully help get that team into the playoffs."

An advantage of playing in T.O., Nash said -- aside from trying to help the Raptors reach the post-season for the first time since 2008 -- was his role as GM of the national team. (Nash also has been criticized, including in this corner numerous times, for quitting the national team as a player in 2004).

"It would have been a different situation," he said of playing in Toronto. "It would have been rewarding in other ways, but I wouldn't have had an opportunity to play on a team with as much talent as we have and hopefully be a contender."
Steve Nash: 'I was very close' to joining Raptors | Basketball | Sports | Toronto Sun
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