With the NBA officially wiping out the rest of the preseason on Tuesday and preparing to start canceling games if no deal is reached by Monday, today seems like a perfect time to take a look back at some recent analysis on the ESPN/TrueHoop platform.
ESPN Insider Tom Haberstroh feels the Suns must trade Nash.
He wrote that the Suns “exist in NBA purgatory,” not good enough to make the playoffs but not bad enough to secure a top lottery pick.
“To some corners of the Suns community, dealing Nash, their lovable and legendary point guard for the greater part of the past decade, would be an unthinkable act. It could cause a mass exodus out of the US Airways Center. After all, the face of the franchise puts people in their seats and, at the end of the day, that’s what oils the machine.
But let the wreckage in Cleveland and Toronto serve as a warning sign. The Suns will outlive Nash’s stay, just like the Raptors were forced to endure without Chris Bosh, and the Cavaliers without LeBron James. Those two franchises were exposed as woefully unprepared for the inevitable transition, pinning their hopes on the frail backs of Andrea Bargnani and Antawn Jamison, respectively.
And for the Suns, that day will come, andisn’t qualified to receive the torch. The sharp organization is the one that balances a short-term focus with a plan for long-term prosperity. Nash may be the short-term answer from a business perspective, but his expiration date is dangerously approaching. Can the Suns accept the sobering reality that Nash, a 37-year-old in the final year of his contract, won’t lead the Suns to their first title?
Well, actually he can. Indirectly. If Nash won’t lead the Suns to hallowed ground, the Suns need to get working on finding their next candidate. And they can use Nash to acquire a bundle of prospects and fruitful assets rather than let him rot on a dried-up roster.”
Haberstroh’s article caused HoopSpeak’s Beckley Mason to pose the question once again: Should Phoenix really trade Steve Nash?
Beckley would pull the trigger on a Nash deal but he would not ask for merely quality young talent because he feels that “amounts to swapping out an older, borderline elite player, for a younger one on a team that still needs to be demolished, not remodeled.”
Therefore, according to Beckley:
“The surest way to completely annihilate any chance that Phoenix stays out of the lottery is, paradoxically, to not trade its best and most beloved player for anything other than expiring contracts or draft picks. But trading Nash for nothing immediately useful probably isn’t so attractive to an owner with an uphill PR battle.
On the other hand, if Phoenix hangs on to Nash for one more season then becomes truly awful, it will have a good opportunity to acquire dirt-cheap young talent and, when he becomes a free agent, allow Nash to find a contender of his choosing.
Losing Nash, then a whole bunch of games, may be the only way for a win-win in Phoenix.”
Although I don’t think the Suns are in nearly as decrepit a spot as Haberstroh and Beckley do, especially if the labor deal ends up favoring Phoenix, I agree with the gist of their argument that the Suns should trade Nash to spark the rebuilding process.
Beckley favors a complete rebuild in which the Suns would ask for only expirings and picks whereas Haberstroh recommends shooting for impact young players.
If I were the GM, I would favor a sort of hybrid of that strategy depending on what gets you the best deals. My top priority would be 2012 picks, but if an impact young player can be had with a reasonable contract I would certainly consider that route as well.
Haberstroh suggests Serge Ibaka and James Harden would be “hot names in the conversation” if the Suns and Thunder talked Nash trade. I would do a deal for Ibaka in a heartbeat, although I doubt OKC would ever dangle him, and Harden would be the kind of impact young scorer who could be a nice piece of a Nash trade.
I have written many times this summer that the Suns’ future direction hinges on what they do with Nash, so let’s all hope for good news on the labor front so the next several months can be filled with more than just chatter on what the Suns should do about Nash, whose contract could expire by the time the owners and players come to terms.
In Bill Simmons’ amnesty column last week, Suns fans had to love his remark on Portland’s theoretical amnesty choice, Brandon Roy.
“You’re right, it’s gonna be Roy,” Simmons wrote. “This made me sad for about 10 seconds — until I realized that he’ll almost definitely sign with Phoenix and get rejuvenated by their miracle-working training staff … followed by Portland fans rioting for three solid weeks.”
If anyone can rejuvenate B-Roy, it would have to be Aaron Nelson and his crew, right?