Raptors throw stick in Nash-to-Knicks tire, Suns visit with Gordon and Dragic

The Toronto Raptors offered New York Knicks wing Landry Fields a three-year, $20 million offer sheet on Tuesday, but the move goes well beyond Bryan Colangelo and crew wanting Jeremy Lin’s buddy.

The Toronto Raptors want Steve Nash, and badly. And as both Zach Lowe of SI.com and Matt Moore of CBS argue, that’s basically why they’re throwing out an absurdly high salary figure to Fields.

The Knicks, hampered by the cap, have no leverage in Fields’ situation, meaning that the biggest carrot of trade bait they could’ve used in a sign-and-trade with the Phoenix Suns is now lost. As such, the chances of Nash landing in the Big Apple — where the Knicks could probably have only offered him $3 million per year to the Raptors’ approximate of $12 million a year over three years — have slimmed.

And with the Brooklyn Nets appearing to have gotten Deron Williams to re-sign with them — he tweeted a Nets logo this afternoon with the text of “Made of a very tough decision today ….”  — things are shaping up nicely for Toronto, making the Raptors the leader for Nash’s services at this point in the free agency bonanza.

The Fields news doesn’t mean a deal between New York and the Suns is completely out of the picture just yet, but it does mean they’re out of the picture of including Fields in the trade, even if New York matches the high-paying offer of the Raptors, according to ESPN New York’s Jared Zwerling.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports tweeted that Phoenix could potentially ask for athletic combo guard Iman Shumpert in return for Nash. The defensive-minded Shumpert was apparently a favorite of some of the Suns’ front office members in the draft room of 2011, and it might only take Knicks owner James Dolan’s will to obtain star power to overrule New York’s brass, who love Shumpert’s future, Wojnarowski believes.

Eric Gordon, Goran Dragic visit US Airways Center

The Suns hosted former backup point guard Goran Dragic and New Orleans restricted free agent Eric Gordon on Tuesday, and the team’s Twitter account shot some pictures of the two arriving to a small crowd of employees.

After meeting with Gordon for dinner last night, a second visit appears to be a positive sign from Gordon’s end. Again, this is a long shot with a number of suitors still said to be in the mix for one of the younger and most talented free agents on the market, not to mention his status as a restricted free agent whose offers the Hornets expect to match.

But what about Dragic?

Money might be the biggest issue here. Houston Chronicle reporter Jonathan Feigen and ESPN’s Marc Stein both report that Dragic is asking for much more than the Rockets are willing to dole out, and while that has Houston meeting with the Knicks’ Jeremy Lin, now it’s a question of whether Phoenix will be willing to spend $8-10 million per season on the player they traded away a year and a half ago.

For what it’s worth, Wojnarowski and Feigen both believed the Nets would offer Dragic $9 million per year had Williams not re-signed, but from Phoenix’s perspective, it’s questionable what he could bring to the table at that cost, whether it’s fair to the market value or not.

Is he worth paying that much in the first place, and does that hamper the development of the new point guard of the future, Kendall Marshall?

The free agent point guard situation, though crazy, should start clearing up soon.

Williams’ commitment in Brooklyn was the first domino to fall. Now it’s down to Nash, Dragic and the others to fill in the holes.

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Tags: Deron Williams Eric Gordon Goran Dragic Landry Fields Steve Nash

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