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NBA star Steve Nash speaks at a press conference at the Air Canada Centre where he was announced as the new general manager of Canada Basketball’s senior men’s team on Tuesday, May 8, 2012. (Matthew Sherwood For The Globe and Mail)
NBA star Steve Nash speaks at a press conference at the Air Canada Centre where he was announced as the new general manager of Canada Basketball’s senior men’s team on Tuesday, May 8, 2012. (Matthew Sherwood For The Globe and Mail)

Hard to vilify Nash for refusing deal he never truly sought Add to ...

So is Steve Nash a bigger Judas in Toronto or in Phoenix after choosing the Los Angeles Lakers as his next NBA club? Judging from some of what is being written and said in both the centre of the universe and the desert, Nash has picked up thirty pieces of California silver at the expense of, respectively, a nation and a city that’s about to lose its NHL team.

The truth is neither, of course. Nash makes his home in the southwest, and being a divorced dad needed to stay closer to home. And yes, he also has a quicker path to an NBA title via LAX than either YYZ or PHX. Plus he’ll have to get along with Kobe Bryant, which is no joyride, either.

If there’s disappointment in Canada with Nash’s choice, then Canadian media have themselves and maybe Brian Colangelo to blame. When the press saw the Raptors’ GM enticing Nash with $36-million over three years to rescue his misbegotten team and become a walking postage-stamp hero, things got ahead of themselves. Reports here and in the U.S. suggested Toronto had the inside track on Nash for a while. Toronto was going to be relevant. TV guy Jack Armstrong was beaming (but then he always smiles).

While being polite about the Raptors’ offer, Nash did nothing to encourage those who saw him in whatever uniform the Raptors wear these days. So it’s hard to vilify him for not accepting a deal he never really sought. Would it have been nice to see Nash– who is now helping to run Basketball Canada– in Toronto? Sure. But he’s 38, and the only thing he was going to win with the Raptors was Roll Up The Rim at Timmy Hortons.

So when it comes to Canada being let down gently by Nash, remember: half of what you see and none of what you hear. As for Phoenix watching Nash carve them in L.A. Lakers colours. You have a beef. It’ll hurt. But you also have a bad team. Case closed.

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