The Suns will remain the Suns with Nash extended

Posted by on July 22nd, 12:45 am

Moments after the Phoenix Suns’ disappointing 2008-09 season ended, Steve Kerr sat in an interview room and proclaimed that extending Steve Nash was his No. 1 offseason priority.

We now know that was more than just lip service, as confusing as it sounded at the time for a Suns team heading in the direction of youth to be committing dollars and years to a 35-year-old point guard above all other offseason duties.

Although I have previously written a warning as to why it could backfire, there’s just something comforting about knowing that Nash will be around for the next three years and likely the rest of his career.

I couldn’t stomach the thought of Nash finishing his career in a place like New York or Toronto, places he hinted he would be interested in going, even if signing Nash to an extension that takes him to 38 doesn’t make perfect sense for a team otherwise (besides Grant Hill) going toward a youth movement.

As TrueHoop’s Kevin Arnovitz writes, it’s fairly interesting that Nash decided he would be better off taking a fair deal than testing his value on the open market.

That’s against everything that free agency has always been about, and especially everything that the much-hyped Summer of 2010 was expected to be. It could end up being the Summer of Disappointment instead, though, as the money well dries up. Sure the LeBrons of the world will still get paid, but that next tier of star may end up being disappointed when teams just don’t have as much cap space as they thought they would.

In light of Jason Kidd’s $8 mil deal, $11 mil a year should be viewed as more than fair from Nash’s perspective, although I thought $10 mil should have been able to get a deal done. An Arizona Republic graphic shows that only Reggie Miller and John Stockton have received comparable extensions at this age.

I have always thought Nash’s career would end much like Stockton’s did, with him remaining effective to his final days only with diminished minutes as another point guard steadily takes on more responsibility (with Dragic playing the Howard Eisley role).

To get a gauge on what we might be able to expect out of Nash, Stockton signed an identical two-year, $22 million extension at age 37, a year older than Nash will be when his kicks in, and he played every game over that span while averaging 11.8 and 8.6 before signing another extension.

Unless he gets hurt, I would expect Nash to far and away surpass those figures. I certainly hope he would for $11 mil a year in this economy, especially considering the steroids-like effect Alvin Gentry’s system has on a player’s stats.

Before the extension, there was a school of thought that said the Suns would be better dealing Nash for a younger point guard who can lead them into the next era.

But the reality of the situation is, that guy just isn’t out there.

With the way the Suns plan on playing, point guard is easily the most important position on the floor. It’s the reason why we’ve seen such a drop off in their play over the years when Nash rested or was hurt.

Sure, there were rumors of dealing Amare for Stephen Curry or Nash for Jerryd Bayless. Those players may turn out to be fine point guards one day, but as combo guards trapped in a point guard’s body neither of those guys could realistically run the Suns’ record-breaking offense right now.

Since an established star like Chris Paul isn’t coming here anytime soon and neither is a run-and-gun prodigy like Ricky Rubio, the Suns wouldn’t be the Suns anymore without their engine. And nobody plays run-and-gun quite like Nash anyway.

For those who like to look toward the future, the Suns now have three years to acquire that guy or pray Dragic does indeed become that player capable of taking the keys from Nash.

For now, Suns fans can enjoy three more years of the master at work.

Michael Schwartz founded ValleyoftheSuns in October 2008 and is the owner/editor emeritus of the site. He is currently working toward his MBA in sports business at San Diego State University.

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Tags: Free Agency · Future · Phoenix Suns Analysis · Steve Nash

5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Justin // Jul 22, 2009 at 2:35 am

    I've been reading you for awhile, but I finally felt compelled to actually write something to you. . .

    I consider myself one of the biggest Suns fans there are. I live in Los Angeles and all my best friends are Lakers fans and you can only imagine the crap I get being out here, but my apartment still holds a shrine to the one and only Steve Nash!

    I already know for a fact that I will be crying on the day that Nash retires. He stands as my second favorite player all-time (behind KJ, my childhood PG role model) and very well could move to #1 once all is said and done. I know I'm not alone in those feelings.

    And that is why we had to re-sign him. Are we legit title contenders with him? We are still close but I'm not one of those ignorant fans who just thinks my team is always the best. We certainly aren't a contender without him, and the prospect of losing the most beloved Suns player in over a decade for a youth movement that, wait for it, may not result in a championship either, is not one that I would support. Nash has to retire in Phoenix. It's so rare these days when guys hang around long enough to be able to do that (even though he's only played one season more for us than he did in Big D). With the money Kidd got, Nash was worth what we paid, because, simply, he is better than Kidd.

    I love the summer moves and what it does is continue on with the trend of having a likable team that will win games and ultimately come close to winning a title, but with 41 years behind us to prove otherwise, will fall short. In my mind, as long as I'm watching number 13 run the offense, I'm there, faithful that the ball will bounce our way just once.

    (Great work by the way – - keep it up!)

  • 2 jay thatch // Jul 22, 2009 at 3:39 am

    I've been a suns fan for over 25 years (all my life i can remember) and I am disappointed with the ownership, players, and fans that are professing to be content with another season of high scoring and early playoff exits. The team that I identify with of KJ, chambers, majerle, barkley and others had the goal of a championship, but fell a little short. For those of you who can't remember, Jerry Colangelo was always championship minded. It is a shame the way colangelo was forced of the valley, and even a bigger shame that we would forget his legacy, which was to me was all about winning a championship with classy players (for the most part). I hope that "suns fans" WILL be happy just watching (an ageing) steve nash, and a team that scores points, because that is all that is on the schedule for the near future. I will reserve my enthusiasm for the time when there is an organizational commitment to win a championship. I will still (an always) cheer for the phoenix suns, it just happens that I am currently cheering for the franchise to return to what it once was.

  • 3 Alex // Jul 22, 2009 at 9:17 am

    @Justin

    Do you really think this Suns team can come anywhere near a title with this lineup? I'll be happy with a #7 or #8 seed with a competitive first round exit to be honest. I still think the Lakers, Spurs, Nuggets, and Blazers are in another class than us and I can't see us beating any of them in a playoff series. I am happy that Nash is going to be around because he's such an icon, but I just don't understand the long-term plan with this lineup right now. How are you so optimistic? I want to be like that!!!

  • 4 D. Hayden // Jul 22, 2009 at 11:23 am

    If we would have pushed to get Chandler then by all means this would be a championship team. I like the Frye signing but where is the defense? We can beat any team I never have doubted that as long as we let Amar'e do what it is that he does best which is beast down low and stay in front of the offensive players when we are on defense. This season we didn't even get the chance to see how well we could've done because Amar'e went down. All I know is we could beat the Lakers and any team in the west but we need to be able to do something about the spurs. The Lakers are a team that like to score well we score more than they do and their defense is as bad as ours so what makes anyone think we couldn't beat the Lakers?

  • 5 Nash finalizes deal, deferred money and all| Valley of the Suns // Jul 28, 2009 at 12:51 am

    [...] written before about Nash seemingly looking at the 2010 free agency landscape and deciding he’d like to [...]

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