Long before the free agency madness begins, the Lakers' front office puts together a list.

General Manager Mitch Kupchak and executive Jim Buss rank the players they covet once July 1 hits. It doesn't matter whether the Lakers can afford the player. It doesn't matter whether he is interested.

No free agency signing or trade happens without Kupchak first picking up the phone.

So even with Steve Nash proclaiming publicly he couldn't envision himself joining the Lakers, Kupchak recalled Buss providing a stern reminder.

"Jim Buss kept on saying, 'Mitch, don't forget to call. He's at the top of the list,' " Kupchak said. "I said, 'Jim, I'm not sure if this is even something we can begin to work out.' He said, 'You never know unless you try.' "

So that was that.