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Steve Nash’s potential destinations; Grant Hill has knee surgery


Free agent Steve Nash’s future in Phoenix is looking less and less likely. As Michael Schwartz wrote a couple days ago, the Suns are probably looking to go in another direction.

Paul Coro tweeted Monday afternoon that a source said Nash and the team have only spoken once since Saturday night, and that no offer has been made despite KTAR’s Paul Calvisi saying Phoenix offered a underwhelming contract for two years at $12 million.

As of Monday afternoon, the New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets and Toronto Raptors appear to be the hottest suitors for the two-time MVP.

In addition, there’s a chance the Suns’ other free agent and co-captain Grant Hill could follow him following platelet-enriching knee surgery, reports ESPN’s Ric Bucher. He said the Los Angeles Lakers, Knicks, Raptors and Suns could all land the 39-year-old.

But back to Nash, whose decision is ultimately connected to the other big names free agents, especially Deron Williams. Here’s a glance at each situation and how they could work out for those teams, Nash and the Suns.

Brooklyn Nets

How does it fit? The freshest and most shocking Steve Nash destination news comes with regards to the hottest trade news of the day. Former Sun and Atlanta Hawks guard Joe Johnson is apparently set to be traded to Brooklyn, according to multiple NBA writers.

It appears that trade isn’t contingent on Deron Williams re-signing in Brooklyn.

How does this relate to Nash? Well, apparently Plan B is for the Nets, who met with Nash on Monday, to put all their focus on the 38-year-old if Williams goes with his other potential landing spot, the Dallas Mavericks, reports the New York Daily News’ Stefan Bondy via Twitter.

That would pair the All-Star point guard with Johnson, his former backcourt mate. Remember, it was playing one season with Nash that led the Hawks to acquire Johnson for big money and eventually hand him a second ridiculous contract that Danny Ferry is ready to dump.

What does Nash get? A competitive team. Of course, a lot of things would have to fall into place for the Nets to acquire Nash, and even though the Johnson deal appears to be in the final stages, according to Adrian Wojnarowski, Brooklyn would have to fail to tempt Williams into returning and then convince Nash it’s a good situation.

But out of all of these options, this one could be the most tempting. It’s close to Nash’s NYC home that he frequents in the offseason, the Nets have more cash to spend than the New York Knicks, and Nash would have Johnson taking advantage of his dishes — Coro points out that JJ hit 48 percent of his threes in 2004-05  — while Johnson himself can take some ball-handing duties off the aging Nash.

Count in the interior presence of the more offensive-minded Lopez twin in Brook and Gerald Wallace, and the Nets could win a lot of games in the first season with that four-man core.

What does it mean for Phoenix? The Suns don’t get anything out of this deal, but fans do get an interesting look at a semi-what-if scenario had Phoenix kept the original SSOL squad together.

New York Knicks

How does it fit? This might be the most complicated deal for a myriad of reasons. As Knicks reporter Alan Hahn writes, many things have to go well logistically for this to go down. This would likely be a sign-and-trade with Phoenix that includes restricted free agent Landry Fields. The Knicks’ wing would himself have to agree to sign a favorable contract to be shipped off to Phoenix, and Nash would also have to take less money than offered by the Toronto Raptors, who threw out a three-year, $36 million contract.

[RELATED: Paul Coro’s quick look at a Suns-Knicks sign-and-trade]

Add to that the most basketball-relevant problems. New York would have to be OK with signing Nash to go along with Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony, the latter of whom is obviously the biggest question mark after we saw Anthony struggle to adapt as a spot-up shooter with a poor-man’s Nash, Jeremy Lin, generating the offense.

On the plus side, Lin himself, who at this point is somewhat likely to remain with the Knicks, will be paired with a mentor that fits his game well.

What does Nash get? Nash of course gets the opportunity to shine on the biggest basketball stage in Madison Square Garden, all while playing with two All-Star talents in Stoudemire and Anthony as well as a quality rim protector in Tyson Chandler. In the end, complicated logistics of making this move combined with the unknown perception of how Nash will fit in the Knicks’ system could make this an unlikely landing spot.

What does it mean for Phoenix? If anyone worried about the Suns getting nada from letting Nash walk this free agent season, this scenario would benefit Phoenix the most. Seeing Nash head off into the sunset, in my opinion, would be the end of the Grant Hill era with the Suns as well considering how good of friends the two co-captains were. That said, receiving Fields in return fills a hole on the wing, though Phoenix could always give the Josh Childress experiment one more go.

Toronto Raptors

How does it fit? This potential ending makes sense for reasons far different than the others. Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated broke this one down; since forward Chris Bosh headed to South Beach with LeBron James, the Raptors have struggled with attendance. With no face of the franchise, why not chase after the game’s most famous Canadian, regardless of his age?

Per Amick:

"“They’ve fallen into the league’s bottom half in home attendance since Bosh’s departure. Toronto ranked 17th last season (average crowd of 16,835) and was 19th in 2010-11 (16,566) after ranking as high as ninth overall during the Bosh era (19.435 in 2007-08).”"

Basketball-wise, this move is hard to fathom considering Nash was all about playing his final few season in the league with a competitive team. But maybe he would help Toronto’s scorers have breakout years. The Raps would help stretch-big Andrea Bargnani along with wings DeMar DeRozan and rookie Terrence Ross increase their production with Nash at the point.

What does Nash get? The new general manager of the Canadian national basketball team gets to play out his final NBA years in his home country, and considering Nash’s home-bred loyalty, that has to hold weight in this decision. Nash gets a solid salary in return, and he could also use his relationship with former Suns front office king Bryan Colangelo to forge a post-hoops career, as Amick points out.

What does it mean for Phoenix? If anything, this would lend evidence that the Suns could have re-signed Nash had they gone hard at the point guard out of the gates on Sunday. Nash showing a loyalty for his country, though expected, alludes to how loyal he might have felt toward Phoenix had the Suns’ front office wanted him to finish his career in the Valley of the Sun.

Dallas Mavericks 

How does it fit? While Nash has yet to sit down with Dallas, that happening has much to do with the outcome of Deron Williams’ decision. With Dallas and Brooklyn the leading candidates to land the All-Star, Nash’s future could be depending on the No. 1 point guard free agent’s final destination.

According to ESPN, Nash knows that he’s Option B, but he apparently is “eager” to hear the Mavs’ pitch.

What does Nash get? Indecision is also a key in the Mavericks’ situation. Dwight Howard could possibly land with the Mavs after Joe Johnson ends up taking all of the Brooklyn Nets’ cap space, and if he were shipped off to play with Dirk Nowitzki and company, Dallas all of a sudden could be a prime landing spot for Nash. He’s obviously familiar with the organization and the potential to have a pick-and-roll platter of a shooting power forward and one of the game’s best interior scorers has to be a strong pull.

What does it mean for Phoenix? Just like the potential of a Nash-Johnson reunion in Brooklyn, Nash could return to pair with Nowitzki and chase a title with his long-time friend and one-time title winner. Again, Phoenix gets nothing except a vantage point as of one of their more fun — as in, not as hated — rivals competes in the postseason.