Steve Nash Opts for the Lakers Over the Knicks

The Knicks lost out on the two-time MVP, but hang on to defesnsive standout Iman Shumpert

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    No Nash doesn't mean a bigger problem.

    It was a particularly tough Independence Day  for Knicks fans who spent the day rationalizing and bemoaning a trade of Iman Shumpert to secure the rights to two-time MVP point guard Steve Nash.

    A sign-and-trade was the only possibility to bring Nash to New York and including Shumpert, whose defense made him a Garden favorite as a rookie before he tore his ACL, was probably the only way to get it done.

    All of that thought and worry went for naught, though. Nash is heading to the Lakers, a fascinating acquisition for a team built around Kobe Bryant, who has never played alongside a real point guard.

    Watching that play out will be endlessly interesting, but the success or failure of the move won't do much for the Knicks. They now need to move on without a potentially game-changing acquisition.

    The first order of business should be to deal with the news of Nash's decision honestly. It's being pitched by our local papers as a major miss by the Knicks.  It's a strange take on the situation, given how little chance the Knicks were given to land Nash after the Raptors signed Landry Fields, how much of a longshot the deal was in the first place and how little the overall picture for the Knicks has changed without Nash.

    That might sound like an attempt to put a happy face on a miss, but think about it this way. If you planned to add a deck to your house and then didn't add the deck for some reason, would your house be any worse than it was before?

    The Knicks were going to match any offer for Jeremy Lin if Nash was on the team and they will match any offer for him now that Nash will play at the Staples Center. There are other options for backcourt depth, including Jason Kidd and old friend Raymond Felton, that will allow the team to fill their need even if the result isn't quite as dynamic as Nash.

    It's hardly perfect, but keeping Shumpert is a good thing for the team's defense and Nash's arrival wouldn't have changed the fact that the Knicks are only going to go as far as the Carmelo Anthony/Amar'e Stoudemire tandem is going to take them. Maybe Nash makes it easier for them to facilitate a thriving relationship, but it's hardly a sure thing thanks to Nash's chronic back issues and the realities of both forwards' games.

    The greatest fear right now is that the Knicks will over-correct thanks to the reaction to Nash heading to the Lakers. Knicks owner James Dolan is an unrepentant star-chaser, which is  dangerous to mix with a desire to be seen as making waves in the offseason.

    The Knicks' flaws wouldn't have all gone away if Nash said yes to life in the Apple and they aren't all going to go away unless the Knicks find some way to alter the DNA of several other players. That's the real takeaway from what went down on Wednesday, no matter how much some might try to make it seem like something much more momentous happened.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.