Babby talks Steve Nash's future and five reasons why he wasn't traded

PHOENIX — For an hour on Wednesday afternoon, Phoenix Suns president of basketball operations Lon Babby talked with the local media about everything from this past season to the future ahead. We’ll be breaking down a number of issues, but let’s get to the pressing matters first.

Steve Nash is that pressing matter, and Babby went into detail about the to-be-decided future between the Suns and their two-time MVP, though it’ll probably be the last time we have a good grip on the situation from sources within Phoenix’s front office.

“I’m not going to give weather reports,” Babby said. “When the ship comes in, you’ll hear about it.”

After Wednesday’s meeting with the media, Babby’s comments reflected that Nash and the Suns are communicating and on the same plane of thought. Babby said he spoke with Nash after the lockout was lifted, and it was at that time when point both parties made the agreement to hold steady for an entire season.

“I made a commitment to him that we weren’t going to trade him if he wanted to stay,” Babby said. “He was the ideal partner all season long.”

Now, Nash finally has a decision to make, but Babby said the Suns will be “full participants in that process” of reaching a final verdict.

After all, the reaction by the Phoenix home crowd in the final game of the year spoke volumes about how important Nash is to the Phoenix community, and as such, the team has every reason to go after their franchise point guard despite his age. Still, the team and the player will need to come to a conclusion that their expectations of each other align.

“We have to go down the road with him and see if we can find a common path, a path that makes sense for him and that makes sense for us,” Babby said.

“At this very early stage, every indication we’ve gotten from Steve is that not only is our spirit willing to make this happen, but his spirit is willing as well,” he added. “That doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. We respect his right to look around, but we will work hard with him to find common ground.”

Five reasons why the Suns didn’t trade Nash at the trade deadline

There was a strong argument amongst our readers and ourselves about whether Phoenix should trade Nash before this season or before the trade deadline, giving him a shot to play for a contender all while giving Phoenix pieces in return for the aging point guard.

That’s a legitimate argument, Babby said, but there’s upside to keeping Nash around.

“We didn’t think that was right for our franchise,” Babby said of a potential trade. “I thought it was more important to communicate with Steve at the outset of the season that he could stay so long as he was all-in in what it was we were trying to accomplish this year.”

Here are five reasons why keeping Nash made sense for the franchise, according to Babby.

1. He doesn’t like tanking

Our TrueHoop brethren have covered the issue of tanking from all angles, and it’s safe the say the Suns could be the poster boys for refusing to tank. Holding onto Nash was the biggest of big anti-tank moves, and Babby admitted such on Wednesday.

The president of basketball ops said tanking robs fans of entertainment, all while masking bad decisions with an excuse. In the end, keeping Nash around made the Suns competitive and in the chase for a playoff spot, which was a goal at the beginning of the year.

The Suns made one-year signings of Shannon Brown, Ronnie Price and Michael Redd this season, and it was clear they were waiting to make major moves. Nash knew it, and he apparently had no scruples about waiting out a transition year in Phoenix.

2. Treating players with respect is important

The deal he made with Babby was, for example, the polar opposite of how the messy Dwight Howard situation in Orlando evolved in that neither team nor player would go behind the others’ back to discuss anything but this season.

“I want to project certain values for this franchise,” Babby said. “I want to treat players like him with respect, with a loyalty and communicate with the NBA community how we are going to treat our players. That was the judgment we made, and I think we were rewarded by it.”

3. Developing young players with veteran examples

Babby said Nash and fellow captain Grant Hill are invaluable to the franchise because of their locker room presence.

“Nobody will ever be able to persuade me that Markieff Morris won’t have a better career because he spent a year, or two, or three with Steve Nash and Grant Hill,” Babby said. “I look around the league and I see a lot of rudderless ships. I don’t want us to be a rudderless ship.”

4.  Nash could retire in a Suns uniform

This would be the perfect scenario, after all. If Nash can be satisfied by playing for a competitive team and the Suns can offer him that, Nash retiring in a Phoenix jersey would be a storybook ending. Plus, Nash is still one of the most productive point guards in the NBA, and not trading him obviously keeps the Suns in position to keep one of the best playmakers in the game.

5. More cap space for the summer

If the Suns had shipped Nash off for other pieces, they would’ve had less flexibility this summer by likely having more contracts on the books.

And 1

Suns forward Channing Frye had a successful surgery on his right shoulder, the team announced Wednesday afternoon. The 6-foot-10 forward missed the final two games of the season with a subluxed shoulder and underwent the procedure in Ahaheim, Calif.

It was the second shoulder injury to Frye, who also missed games during the 2010-11 season.


Tags: Steve Nash

  • Matt

    As much as I want to see Steve retire in purple and orange it’s tough to imagine that we’d be contenders next season. Our roster is basically Steve then everybody else, Jared, Marcin, Kieff, and Brown has been great but let’s face it none of them will be superstars. Steve deserves to go chase a title and the Suns deserves to find the next superstar whether it’d be via draft or free agency. Steve was great this year but he obviously isn’t the same player he was between 2004-2010. So why not just take the leap and rebuild? The Suns and Steve have proved this year that the Suns are a quality organization that treats it’s players with dignity and respect; Steve also set an example for these young superstars who are holding teams hostage. Great place to start this 2-3 year rebuilding process(HOPEFULLY) would be in this years draft, with a bunch of players with huge upsides there’s no better time to rebuild than now.

  • Scott

    I agree with Babby, and I think he expressed himself well.

    If the Suns don’t have a lot of churn, if they keep Nash and Hill, and they get a full training camp and pre-season, I think they come out stronger next year.

    @Matt -

    The Suns don’t need to rebuild so much as they need to acquire another star.

    I can’t think of any star they can get, but if they can get one, they probably won’t have to do much if any rebuilding.

  • grover

    Babby does indeed talk a very good game. Everything he says makes sense. I think even those that think The Suns should move on from Nash would admit Babby’s argument is well thought out and defensible.

    We have mixed data points on his performance with the Suns to judge whether this is just talk. On the negative side, he royally screwed up the the Dragic trade (do we have to call that a trade? Can we just call it our gift to the nice citizens of Houston?). I’ve heard him admit as much though in more mild terms (“certain trades didn’t work out as well as expected”, which in GM speak means “I screwed the pooch”). On the positive side, they had a good draft, their free agent signings were smartly done to maintain maximum flexibility for this summer, and he managed the Nash non-trade in professional way that has to help earn the respect of potential free agents.

    In my mind the jury is still out. In six months we might no more. If we make a few major moves and sign some great players, then Babby is the real deal. If we use up all our cap space on players like Turkoglu, Childress, and Warrick, then we know Babby is all hat and no cattle If the Suns stay neutral – maybe an ok FA and we keep our flexibility for the following summer – then the jury will have to keep debating until after next year.

    It like what I here, but I need him to prove it. Too many bad choices in the past but the organization to blindly trust what he says.

  • Daniel

    Maybe its just me, but I get a very different feel about the luncheon from this article as I do from the ESPN article about the same luncheon.

    The ESPN article makes me feel like Babby is already setting up his defense for signing no big FAs this summer. It just sounds like Babby is coming up with excuses for not spending money on getting players.

    However, this VOTS article makes me feel like Babby has some kind of a plan.
    I agree with Grover on Babby. I’m taking more of a wait and see approach to trusting Babby.

  •!/True_Rys Rich Anthony, (KJL)

    People can blast him and others for the past all they want. They did mess some things up, but that’s in the past.

    What he said here is what people should want to be hearing.

    I don’t expect the Suns to sign and / or trade for any big names, (or their contracts), this summer because to be honest, there aren’t any big names out there. it’s not that he’s setting up a defense. If you take a look at the unrestricted free agent class this year, outside of D Will, it is not very impressive.

    Restricted free agents arent that hot either in that most of them play the same couple of positions and a lot of them don’t fit the style of play Phoenix will use with Gentry at the helm.

    If they do intend on “weathering the doormat storm” for a season with a bunch of 1-year contracts and a smart [Dragic] signing here and there, while looking ahead to the 2013 FA class / Draft then I’m all for it.

    This presser pretty much lets everybody know that Nash will not be a Sun next season. I’m totally fine with that.

    I’m also okay with what was said in terms of the future. No more quick, stupid moves that tie up money and damage the team.

    See the NY Knicks. Seemed to have a plan. Amare, that great youth they had, M. D. at the helm, and a shot at D Will, CP3, or Nash in the near future.
    Then they messed everything up bringing in ‘Melo, Chandler, firing D’Antoni and using their amnesty on the wrong person [Billups] when it was obvious that the new direction basically ruined another [Amare] on that team.

  • steve

    Rich is spot on again. Couldn’t have said it better myself. The Suns aren’t going to make a big splash in free agency. Only one team even has a real shot at that (whoever ends up with D-Will). If any other big moves are made, it’s going to have to come from somewhere else.

    @Daniel – Thanks for the link to a different perspective on the story.

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