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Steve Nash says he does not regret his decision to join the Los Angeles Lakers.
Nash acknowledged facing "challenges" in an interview Wednesday with USA Today Sports but also told the website that he does not regret the sign-and-trade deal that sent the two-time MVP from the Phoenix Suns to the Lakers.
"Ten out of 10 times, I make the same decision again," Nash told USA Today.
Nash opted to join the Lakers this past offseason instead of signing with the New York Knicks or Toronto Raptors, a pair of East Coast teams that reportedly pursued the 39-year-old point guard.
It'd be nice, in some ways, to have a bigger impact on the game. You have to balance it with all the guys, all their needs and personalities. I embrace it. I really appreciate it. I could still be in Phoenix and have the ball in my hands the majority of the time and probably be out of the playoffs again, so it's worthy of trying something new -- especially since the upside here is potentially great.” -- Steve Nash to USA Today Sports
Nash repeatedly has stated that playing in Los Angeles would allow him to more frequently see his children, who reside in the Phoenix area, and he reiterated those sentiments to USA Today.
"I've gotten to see my kids probably four times as much as I'd seen them if I'd have gone back East," Nash told the website. "That's first and foremost. Second of all, it's a great experience to play for the Lakers organization. ... I'm happy here.
"I'm beyond playing for the credit or the adulation. I feel secure in myself as a player. I just want to help this team, regardless of what it means for me personally."
The Lakers (28-30) trail the Houston Rockets by 2½ games for the eighth seed in the Western Conference and are in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time since the 2004-05 season.
Nash's agent, Bill Duffy, told the website that his client would have considered retiring if he had been unable to stay close to his family.
"If L.A. wouldn't have worked, I honestly think he would've considered retiring," Duffy told USA Today. "He said that three or four times from July 1 to July 5, and I was saying, 'If he wants to retire, I have to respect it, but let's piece this thing together so you can get what you want and continue to play.'"
Nash also received rave reviews from Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak and coach Mike D'Antoni, who both told USA Today that they admire the eight-time All-Star's willingness to accept a lesser role on Los Angeles' star-studded roster.
"His desire to figure out a way to make it work is remarkable," Kupchak told the website. "He's always prodding, always making the sacrifice. Yet you have to catch yourself and say, 'This is a two-time MVP.' He could certainly say, 'No, I'm not changing. You've got to do it my way.' How many two-time MVPs are as accommodating as he is?"
Nash is averaging just 7.1 assists per game this season, his lowest mark since the 1999-2000 campaign as a member of the Dallas Mavericks.
Nash's current statistics pale in comparison to the numbers he put up in Phoenix, where he averaged at least 11 assists in five of his eight seasons while leading the NBA in assists six times.
D'Antoni, who coached Nash for four seasons in Phoenix, told USA Today that he wished more members of his current team made similar sacrifices.
"It's too bad not everybody is like that, because that would make my job and everybody's job ... a lot easier," he told the website. "It's not like that, but [Nash is] hard to put in words because he's the best you can be -- with his teammates, with his coaching staff. He's the best. It doesn't get any better than that."
Nash also admitted that adjusting to a lesser role has been difficult, but he told USA Today that he "embraces" playing with Lakers All-Stars Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard.
"It's been different. It's been an adjustment," he told the website. "But I want to embrace these challenges. I'm at a stage of my career with a new club where I'm playing with Kobe -- he's a great player -- and finding that balance and accepting and embracing that opportunity is key. It'd be nice, in some ways, to have a bigger impact on the game. You have to balance it with all the guys, all their needs and personalities. I embrace it.
"I really appreciate it. I could still be in Phoenix and have the ball in my hands the majority of the time and probably be out of the playoffs again, so it's worthy of trying something new -- especially since the upside here is potentially great."