On March 29, 2010, the Lakers defeated the Suns 111-103 in game six of the Western Conference Finals. The loss marked the end of another disappointing season for Phoenix.
It was an unlikely journey to the conference finals for the Suns after they had defeated Portland in the first round (4-2) and completely swept San Antonio in the conference quarterfinals.
However, despite how recent that playoff run was, it may seem very far away to Steve Nash and it should. He takes the court now with only a few players left from the D’Antoni era of seven seconds or less. Meanwhile, Shannon Brown, Sebastian Telfair, Michael Redd and rookie Markief Morris are sitting in the seats that once cradled the talents of Amar’e Stoudemire, Joe Johnson, Raja Bell, Kurt Thomas, Boris Diaw and Leandro Barbosa.
Since that loss in the Western Conference Finals, Steve Kerr resigned probably out of embarrassment over the Shaq deal and they dumped $80 million into Hedo Türkoğlu, Josh Childress and Hakim Warrick to replace Stoudemire. On December 19, 2010, the Suns acquired Vince Carter, Mickaël Piétrus, and Marcin Gortat from the Orlando Magic, along with a low draft pick and cash considerations. For this acquisition, the Suns traded Jason Richardson, Earl Clark, and the recently acquired Türkoğlu. On February 24, 2011 the Suns acquired Point guard Aaron Brooks(Currently playing in China), trading first round (Lottery Protected) draft pick and Point guard Goran Dragić to the Houston Rockets.
Only three of the players mentioned above still play for the Suns.
Enter the rebuilding phase for the once most dangerous offense in the league and a tough decision concerning the face of the franchise…
What the hell to do with Nash?
At seasons end, Steve’s contract ends with the Suns who have supposedly received several offers from other teams in the league for the 37-year-old point guard. None of them have impressed owner Robert Sarver who fully plans on throwing a two-year deal at Nash in order to retain him for one last “run.”
Sarver has stated: “”I don’t know that I can sit there for four years and watch a terrible team play.”
Team demolition isn’t on the owner’s mind just yet.
If they use the amnesty clause on Childress, they should have $33 million in cap space. Primetime free agents Dwight Howard and Deron Williams are most certainly not looking to play out in the desert, which leaves them with only Nash worth throwing a max deal at. This will free up money for them to pursue players such as O.J. Mayo or Nicolas Batum both of which won’t turn this team around.
But what about Nash? What does he want?
TV analyst and former player Chris Webber made his opinion known on NBA TV just over a year ago:
“I’m getting a ‘Free Nash’ T-shirt. You know how when people go to jail, you get a ‘Free Tyson’ T-shirt? A ‘Free Nash’ T-shirt, because I want him out of Phoenix. He has 15 points, seven assists — he cannot do any more than what he’s doing. He’s a hard worker, he plays hard. Free Steve Nash.”
Since, a #FreeSteveNash movement has formed and the point guard himself, has kept him mouth shut. He’s on the verge of becoming the team’s all-time assists leader here soon but his future does not need to be in Phoenix.
Some use the word “ring chaser” but this falls more in line with “self-respect” chaser since the Suns lost theirs a while back. The rotation of crap players through the Suns’ locker room clearly shows that this franchise is clawing at relevance in a Western Conference that has done nothing but grown stronger. Depending on where Dwight and Deron end up, the West could be getting even more powerful.
A desperation deal for 2 years, $8 million to Nash isn’t enough to have him close his eyes as Sarver continues to bring in less-than-stellar talent to Phoenix. Instead, Nash needs to look elsewhere for a deal.
Lakers: they would be willing to spend the money for a new point guard. It’s yet to be determined if the money is there but they would spend it. Kobe Bryant knows that his window is closing for another ring and Nash could help them squeeze one last championship out.
Mavericks: a reuniting of Nash and Dirk Nowitzki in Dallas would spell championship. The team did free up some cash by not throwing a max offer at Tyson Chandler and it would be easy to fit him into the lineup by rotating Jason Kidd to shooting guard. What about Roddy Beaubois? It’s yet to be determined if the guard can stay healthy.
Knicks: no question: New York would spend the cash and do anything in order to get a veteran point guard on their roster. Ball movement is a big problem in NYC with a group of players that just can’t seem to create their own shots and get the ball to each other. Also, I’m sure Nash wouldn’t mind playing for D’Antoni again.
As this tortuous season continues for the Suns that will most certainly be an irrelevant team once the postseason begins, Nash needs to sit back and consider his options. Continue to be the face of an ailing franchise or take his talents where they will be fully used for a title run.