As Suns fans anxiously wait to see what direction their franchise will be going this season, the same could be said 10 times over for star guard Steve Nash.
Nash has hinted a number of times at possibly rather being in New York next season, as he not so subtly did on Letterman a few weeks back while making a joke, but every time he’s been asked about the topic he’s discussed making things work in Phoenix as his top priority.
If the Suns trade Amare for youth and decline to bring back Grant Hill, it would be hard to believe Nash would want to stick around to babysit a group of kids while his NBA expiration clock is ticking and fast.
Even if the Suns do bring Amare back, it wouldn’t be a stretch to believe Nash would want out considering the Suns don’t look like they’re going to be a serious contender in the immediate future.
Phoenix Stan of Bright Side thinks that if J Kidd goes back to Dallas, Nash will be heading to the Knicks later this offseason. He makes the points that Nash likely wouldn’t be happy with a rebuild, he’s not at his best when he’s in a situation he’s unhappy with as we saw last season and his trade value is at its highest point its going to be this offseason.
(Quick aside: how funny is it that Cuban is about to give J Kidd a three-year deal at age 36 when he worried about offering a 30-year-old Nash who still had a couple MVPs in him a long-term deal way back when.)
I’d add that with the way Nash is idolized in Phoenix, this is a situation that both sides are going to try to make as unmessy as possible. Nash isn’t the type of player who’s going to trash his employer to force a move, and with some of the bad PR heading toward Suns management for dismantling a championship contender, they’re going to do all they can not to botch this.
That’s starting with Kerr at least paying lip service to a three-year extension that doesn’t make sense for a Suns team that’s headed in the direction that they appear to be headed in.
Nash told The Globe and Mail that he hopes to stay in Phoenix but a trade would be “a possibility” if an extension can’t be worked out.
“I would preface it by saying that I love Phoenix and that’s what I’m focusing on right now,” Nash told the Toronto paper. “But I live in New York City, and I love it there, and [Knicks head coach] Mike D’Antoni was one of my favorite coaches. If it didn’t work out in Phoenix, obviously that would be a place I’d consider.”
Phoenix Stan proposes something like Nash for David Lee in a sign-and-trade, Danilo Gallinari and a first. I don’t see any way in hell the Knicks do that considering there’s a decent chance they’ll get Nash without giving up any compensation next offseason. But a trade certainly should happen from a Suns perspective if Nash doesn’t want a two-year extension after this season in the $8 mil range.
I could see a deal centering around Lee in a sign-and-trade and Chris Duhon. Ideally you then pair Lee with Amare and go into the next decade with a couple young legit bigs, but if nothing else Lee gives the Suns a big who thrives in the transition game and who will go out and get you 20 rebounds every once in a while. Duhon knows how to run this system and brings a $6 mil expiring deal.
From there, they could focus on acquiring an elite point guard (or a future elite point guard) in an Amare trade if they don’t go ahead and just keep him.
Speaking of Amare, either the Warriors and Suns are playing a hell of a poker game or that deal really appears to be all but dead. I credit the Suns for not making a panic trade once the Warriors apparently pulled Curry off the table.
My stance since the trading deadline in February has been I’m OK with an Amare deal so long as they get back a package of youth that can recharge the franchise. Such a deal never presented itself around the deadline, and I’m skeptical that it will at any point this summer.
If you can get a Curry-Biedrins-Wright, pull the trigger; otherwise, stay put and hope he doesn’t leave you for nothing next summer.
One more note from the Globe and Mail story, it mentions that the Shaq trade was “a move that Nash reportedly supported – if not pushed for – in a meeting with Kerr.”
We all know Nash and Shaq couldn’t co-exist together on either end of the floor and that Nash discussed the team needing active bigs during his exit interview. Still, it’s kind of interesting that the veteran point guard would find it easier for him to win in Phoenix without the four-time champion in the middle than with him there.
Maybe the Suns should have consulted Nash before trading for the Big Cactus in the first place.
And what about the Ben Wallace deal?
ESPN’s Ric Bucher has reported on Twitter that the Suns can deal Wallace’s deal for Tyson Chandler whenever they so please. They just want to check everything else out before going down that path.
In his blog, Paul Coro points out that such a deal may be doubtful because of Chandler’s $12.75 mil option next summer, an offeseason the Suns are clearing cap space for. If the Suns want the Hornets to sweeten the deal, they might be unwilling to provide a young cheap option the Suns want considering they won’t even be getting any talent in return in this deal.
Depending on what the Suns do, the Chandler deal could make a ton of sense. A lineup of Nash-J-Rich-Hill-Amare-Chandler with Dragic, LB, Dudley, Clark, Lou and Robin coming off the bench should be able to contend for a top-four spot in the West.
Of course on the flip side, it would severely limit their 2010 flexibility, but since Chandler would be such a perfect complement to Amare in the front court as well as to Nash in defending the pick-and-roll, if the Suns want to go for it now and then decide to build around Amare in the future, this is the move to make.
If they want to play for 2010 or end up dealing Amare for a center like Biedrins, obviously this move doesn’t make sense.