Kobe Bryant welcomed the addition of Steve Nash to the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday. Bryant told reporters at the Team USA basketball camp in Las Vegas that he was excited at the improved chances Nash gives the Lakers at winning an NBA championship, according to ESPN.
“He gives us a much, much better chance,” Bryant said. “He’s a terrific shooter. And shooting is something that was lacking for us. His ability to playmaker for others out of the pick and roll is one of the best we’ve ever seen. He has a high basketball IQ, in terms of being a coach out on the floor.
Bryant and Nash forged a rivalry through three notable meetings in the NBA Playoffs in 2006, 2007 and 2010, when Bryant’s Lakers met Nash’s Phoenix Suns. Nash even said during the free-agency process that because of his history playing against the Lakers, it would be “hard to put on a Lakers jersey.”
When the Lakers’ sign-and-trade for Nash looked close to being completed this week, Nash even asked Bryant if he had any qualms about teaming up.
“It was more like he wanted to know if I’d be OK with it because he knows how competitive I am and obviously the history we’ve had,” Bryant said. “But I said, ‘Our bond coming in the league together in ’96, especially he and I, because we weren’t necessarily highly regarded coming into that draft. That bond is much bigger than the rivalry we had with Phoenix.’ “
Bryant didn’t offer a comment on whether he hoped the Lakers would continue dealing, specifically with regard to a possible trade for Orlando Magic star Dwight Howard.
“I just wish the best for him and hope he ends up where he’s happy,” Bryant said.