LOS ANGELES - Two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Steve Nash will join the Los Angeles Lakers in a sign-and-trade deal with the Phoenix Suns, according to numerous newspaper and television reports on Wednesday.
While deals can be made during these early days of the NBA free agency period, no transactions can be made official until July 11.
But the move will give Nash, a 38-year-old Canadian who was born in South African, a switch to a championship contender and a chance to play in the same backcourt as NBA star Kobe Bryant.
Toronto, Dallas and New York were also interested in swinging a deal for Nash, but the chance to stay near his three children, who live in Phoenix, was said to be a major factor in the decision to join the Lakers.
ESPN reported that Nash, known for his passing skills, will sign a three-year deal worth more than $25 million.
The Arizona Republic reported that the Suns will receive four NBA Draft picks as part of the deal, including first-round selections in 2013 and 2015.
With Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum up front and playmaker Bryant in the backcourt with him, Nash has a chance to pursue the NBA title that has eluded him for 16 NBA seasons.
Toronto had been considered a strong contender, allowing Nash to boost the fortunes of his home-nation team.
The Lakers, Toronto, New York and Dallas are also contenders to sign one of Nash's best friends, 39-year-old Grant Hill.
Nash averaged 12.5 points and 10.7 assists a game last season, receiving $12 million from the Suns, who missed the playoffs.
© 1994-2012 Agence France-Presse