Miami Heat a less likely destination for Steve Nash after title


When Steve Nash told Dan Patrick that the Phoenix Suns needed to make “an improvement” to retain him back in late March, he also made it known that he would not mind taking his talents to South Beach this summer.

Of course, at this point in the process Nash is basically telling reporters from every city he would not mind playing there, but I always felt Miami would be an intriguing choice if he were to join The King in a chase for a ring.

Not anymore.

Although I still feel like Nash, Wade and LeBron would play beautiful basketball together and I fully support Nash chasing a ring if that’s what he wants to do, I just don’t see him riding the coattails of two otherworldly talents as well as a third stud on a defending champion.

Nash’s free agent decision is ultimately going to come down to comfort and familiarity (Phoenix), a city he enjoys (New York for being his offseason home or Toronto for being his home country) or ring chasing.

The Knicks’ cap situation makes them incredibly unlikely (assuming they do bring back Lin on the midlevel) although perhaps they could be psuedo-contenders with Two Time. I don’t see a losing situation like Toronto being a viable option either, at least not at this stage of his career (perhaps when he’s 40 for a swan song run in front of his native fans).

So to me that either leaves the Suns or a title contender.

I would not underrate Phoenix’s chances. From the presence of the training staff to his family to what he means to the franchise and the fact this is “his team,” I would not be surprised one bit if he returns.

But if he leaves, I feel it would be to chase a title. After all, if not for that purpose, why would he go?

It won’t exactly be the same if Nash earns that elusive ring away from the Valley, but there’s a difference to me between legitimately chasing a ring on a team he could be a major part of and jumping on LeBron’s coattails immediately after he gets off the championship-less schneid.

Of course, Nash could not care less about how his legacy is perceived externally, but if he’s going to chase a ring I don’t think it will be with the defending champions.

Tags: Steve Nash

  • Tony

    I don’t think Nash is demanding the Suns FO put together a championship roster by next season, but rather, I suspect he wants to play on at least a competitive enough team to make it to the 2nd round of the playoffs. What the Three Stooges have done over the past two seasons is deplete virtually all of the talent with the exception of Gortat. It was a significant accomplishment for the Suns to even get so close to making the playoffs as they did this season.
    So, why would Nash want to commit his remaining years to a franchise led by incompetents bent on putting together a roster just competitive enough to possibly make the playoffs as an 8th seed if everything goes right and then get swept right out in the 1st round?
    With that being said, if the FO can actually show Nash that they are committed to building a championship roster by acquiring talented players this off-season, then Nash will probably want to stay. As my own personal views about the three dummies are already well-established VOTS, I won’t go into further detail, but suffice it to say I have absolutely no confidence in Sarver, Babby, and Blanks, in bringing this franchise back to an elite status. Hence, I am expecting Nash to don another team’s uniform next season.

  • Ben Shockley

    … Mr. Schwartz, you mean that Nash “couldn’t” care less. People make this mistake often, but if Nash “could” care less, then he does care to some extent. But if he “couldn’t” care less, then he doesn’t care at all, which was what you meant.

    By the way, I wouldn’t completely assume that New York would bring back Lin; the Knicks may opt to pursue Nash instead in an effort to maximize their short-term window with Anthony, Stoudemire, and Chandler. And Nash is a proud Canadian who has become the general manager for Canada’s national team and who possesses a history with Raptors’ president Bryan Colangelo, who was the general manager in Phoenix when the Suns drafted Nash in 1996 and when they signed him as a free agent in 2004. So the Toronto possibility isn’t implausible, either.

  • Ben Shockley

    By the way, if the Mavericks fail to sign Deron Williams, then Dallas looms as a possibility for Nash. Sure, the Mavericks won the championship in 2011, but they failed to win a single playoff game in 2012. If Nash could help Dallas return to the championship, then he would boost his legacy to some extent and I’m sure that he’d love to play with his good friend and former running mate, Dirk Nowitzki, one again.

    And if Kobe Bryant asks Nash to join him on the Lakers, Los Angeles could constitute a possibility, too. Portland, with LaMarcus Aldridge, could also prove attractive.

  • Rich Anthony, (KJL)

    Gotta disagree with ya on this one Schwartzy.

    I think the Heat are an even better fit for him now that the team as won the championship for a couple of reasons.

    First, I don’t know if Chalmers will survive another year playing next to James. LeBron might literally kill him.
    Secondly, there are rumors that Mike Miller may hang ‘em up. I think that Nash brings what Chalmers and Miller bring times two.

    He will make repeating easier on Wade and James while also allowing Bosh to blossom even more because, well, Nash loves bigs that can move around.

    He’ll hit the open 3 far more than anybody else the heat could bring in and he’s going to be hidden on defense while LeBron and Wade cover the scoring threats.

    I think he’ll end up in Miami because if he is looking for a ring, I’m sure he understands that even with him in a Laker uniform, they’re not getting by a currently-hurt-but-absolutely-FURIOUS-by-then Kevin Durant and OKC. They’re going right back to the finals and there’s nothing any team in the west can do about it.

  • DBreezy

    I think Miami is only out of the running if they take themselves out of the running. The only one who can do that is Riley as I do not think any of their big stars would have a problem with it-we already know Lebron doesn’t. I have no idea what Steve will do, but I don’t think anything’s off the table at the moment.

  • Jason A.

    Michael, I totally agree with you on all counts. I have thought this for a long time. I was rooting for the Heat to beat Boston, guaranteeing the breakup of the Big 3 and possibly enabling a Garnett and/or Allen to come to Phoenix. I also felt that if the Heat won a title it would no longer appeal to Nash. I don’t think he would mind going to a loaded team to be the guy to put them over the top, but he’s not going to a team just to be around for a ring.

  • Scott

    There’s nothing assured about going to a team that won the championship last year.

    Nash – and Hill – would be good additions to Miami’s team.

    Heck, Lopez would be a good addition to Miami’s team, too.

    And the motivation may not be all about the ring. While, sure, Nash has invested himself in Phoenix, the will to win has deteriorated around him in recent years. It’s a good natured locker room, we hear, but maybe there’s not enough of a winning spirit.

    If Nash goes to Miami it’s clear there’s a culture of winning and you don’t have guys kicking back and coasting because they’re there to play ball and win. That could be more important to Nash than either the ring or the money or anything else.

    Nash may simply want to get out of a junior team and be with his peers.

    • http://www.valleyofthesuns.com Michael Schwartz

      @Ben Fixed.

      Agree completely with what Jason A said, I think that last sentence kind of encapsulates my argument.

  • Roman S.

    Great read! This article encapsulates my thoughts exactly. Nash is just not your typically NBA star. I believe he does care about his legacy but not in the way people think or expect. Certainly Nash desires a ring but it has to be achieved the right way. He will go to a team on the brink of a title needing someone or something to bring it all together (ie. OKC, Indiana, Utah perhaps, Dallas). I also believe that trying in this scenario and failing would mean more to his legacy than simply getting one as a shadow on a Miami roster that has nothing to prove.

  • Roman S.

    oh yeah, I also agree that there is the increasing likelihood that Nash stays in the desert. Wouldn’t have thought that at season’s end a couple of months ago but I think that, if now opportunity similar to what I outlined above materializes, he may just choose comfort and stay with HIS team.

  • grover

    Keep in mind that due to the salary cap Miami can only sign Nash for a fraction of what he can make elsewhere (I believe they’d be limited to the $3 mid level exception) or with a sign and trade with Phoenix. Either Nash has to take a huge cut in pay or Miami has to return assets back to the Suns and Miami doesn’t have much to trade back assuming their big three are untouchable. I had kind of hoped to see Miami flame out early against Indiana only as I suspected they would break up James and Wade, but that seems less likely now. I can’t see Nash ending up in Miami.

  • Evan

    I say this as a basketball fan first, I would like to see Nash go to the Lakers and them to also trade for Howard, now that big 3 Nash, Kobe, and Howard would be able to beat the Heat, it would also would only be able to stay together for 2 years as Nash only has that much time left realistically, Nash gets a title, and the King will not reign over the league for long.

    Lets face it the Suns will not be competing for a championship for at least 4 years, Nash can win now, that is one way he can, another is going to Miami, possibly OKC, and Maybe Dallas. Call me a hater but I would like to keep lebron with only one ring, even if that means Kobe gets 6 or 7.

  • Rich Anthony, (KJL)

    Any team that gets Nash will probably be able to give him more than the mid level as Nash and the Suns are both willing to execute and sign and trade.

    So if Miami is still interested in adding Nash, they can negotiate the amount of money they’re willing to give him and if Nash is pleased with this, then the Suns can sign him to a deal at or near that figure and simply trade him to the Heat in exchange for contracts equal to the sum.

    So, perhaps Norris Cole and or Chalmers / draft pick, just as an example.

    The same process can be applied to Los Angeles or New York or any other team with serious interest in Nash as long as Nash is in agreement to go to said team.

    With Jeremy Lin winning his Early Bird rights this creates quite an interesting situation for New York because they can go over the cap if they want to retain Lin, and still arrange a package to add Nash to the fold.

    Having Nash as the starter and Lin the point for the second unit could actually propel the Knicks forward.

    Sessions entered free agency so the Lakers really don’t have a guard. If Nash doesn’t agree to take the minimum to go there it would probably be more affordable for LA to sign Dragic and have both big men to use as trade bait because if PHX / Nash agree to a sign and trade, LA would probably have to include players in a deal to land two-time. there isn’t much on that team the Suns would be interested in outside of Gasol and Bynum and a trade involving either of those two for Nash takes LA out of the Dwight Howard race.

    On the other hand, it could be a sweetner for some sort of 3-team deal where Phoenix receives youth and a draft pick or 2

  • Ben Shockley

    … should have written “once again” in my previous post, not “one again.”

  • Ben Shockley

    James,

    What exactly would be the point of inking a thirty-six-year old Garnett and/or a thirty-seven year old Allen (who will probably be coming off ankle surgery, which won’t be his first)? Are the Suns really going to win a championship with three starters over the age of thirty-five? What is the precedent for this model?

  • Ben Shockley

    … my bad, I meant “Jason A.,” not “James.”

  • Jason A.

    @Ben there is no precedent to this. But those guys still play at a high level, will probably (initially) play at a higher level here due to our training staff, they would fit brilliantly with what our needs are, wouldn’t tie up long-term cap space, allows us to keep Nash, and they’d serve as excellent mentors to Morris and the SG we’re about to draft. There are never any guarantees, but don’t you think that team would have a chance? They’d certainly be better than this year’s Celtics. I think that team is better than the Lakers and Spurs. Nothing wrong with a WCF run with keeping Nash and long term cap space. I don’t think we can get KG but I’m very intrigued by it all.

  • Jason A.

    Also, think about the makeup of that team. If we made a deep run we’d capture the hearts of the nation (plus all of Canada would be riveted). What a story. A team with FOUR starters over 35. Nash’s first Finals appearance. The twilight of the careers of some of the best players of the last 15 years. It’d be a BOON for the NBA.

  • Rich Anthony, (KJL)

    I think KG will retire. I think Allen will remain but a contender will hire his services.

  • Ty-Sun

    There is no precedent in basketball but there is in the NFL. The Washington Redskins of the early 70′s were called the “Over-The-Hill Gang” because that team was made up of a lot of aging vets while George Allen was the coach. During that 7 year period the Redskins had 7 winning seasons, made the playoffs 5 times and got to the Superbowl once (1972 when they lost to the Dolphins which had a perfect 16-0 record that year).

    Of course that was 40 years ago and a completely different sport but it it does imply that an older team can compete at a high level with the right talent and coaching.

  • Ty-Sun

    Lol at myself. There was no need to go back so far or even look to another sport for a precedent. Last year the Dallas Mavericks won the NBA Championship with a starting lineup that averaged 33 years old and their key sixth man (Jason Terry) was a year older than the average age of the starters. Yes a team with 4 starters over 35 would be pushing it but it’s possible.

    Do I want to see that in Phoenix? No. It would be an interesting team to watch though!

  • Tony

    @Evan

    So you say you’re a basketball fan and you dislike the Heat, probably every reason most people do, for the joining of superstars. Yet you want the Lakers, one of the most storied franchises in sports, to sign a couple superstars?? Lol.

    Anyway, anyone who says that Nash doesn’t want to join the Heat now that they won a title, hasn’t given one good solid argument. The salary? Things could be done about that. Pride? What makes you do sure Nash wouldn’t want to join a team that just won it all? Isn’t that why players like Ron Artest sign with the Lakers after they’ve won a title? Sure I’m biased towards the Heat because I’m a fan but honestly who wouldn’t want to see a player as classy as Nash leave on top? If Miami is gonna be the team of the 2010s I want Nash to be a part of it

  • Mark

    I just can’t deal with Nash in a Lakers Jersey, it would be too much for me to take. Go anywhere, just please not the Lakers. To see the greatest Sun of all time wear purple and yellow would be traumatizing.