Nash has been one of the best point guards in the league, combining great leadership as a floor general with dynamic passing, efficient scoring and an ability to get wherever he wants to on the floor. Nash has brought two MVPs, multiple deep playoff runs and winning expectations for the franchise.
This makes what I have to say next all the more distressing: The Suns must trade Nash before the deadline for the good of the franchise. It doesn't really matter where he goes (although trading him to a contender would give Nash one last shot at a title), only that the Suns get back young building blocks or draft picks.
By no means is Nash's game degrading with age as he has reached his eighth career All-Star game this season. The problem is that Nash is inflating the record of a Suns team that, without him, would be one of the worst teams in the NBA.
When Amar'e Stoudemire left for the bright lights of New York, the championship window for Nash in Phoenix slammed firmly shut.
However, the Suns have still been hovering in the middle of the pack in the Western Conference. This limits the probability of getting high-value rookie prospects in the lottery of the draft. As evidenced by Kyrie Irving and the Cavs this year, having a franchise cornerstone to build around is absolutely crucial.
Looking at the Suns roster right now, there are very few pieces that the team can use to rebuild: Marcin Gortat, Markieff Morris and possibly Jared Dudley as a role player are the only ones I see.
The 2012 NBA draft is projected to be one of the most talented classes in years, loaded throughout with strong NBA prospects. This is a golden opportunity for the Suns to get ahead in the rebuilding process, but they can only achieve this if they move forward and make a deal for Nash.
There are teams (I'm looking at you Lakers) that would be more than happy to give up a first-round pick for Nash and what he brings to a contender.
In addition, the loss of Nash would tank the Suns and throw them straight into the top three picks of the draft. In a draft where players like Anthony Davis, Andre Drummond and Harrison Barnes make up the top prizes, having the ability on draft day to acquire multiple impact players for the core of your team is essential.
If the Suns could get one or maybe two significant rookies for their team, they would be well on their back to being a competitive squad.
As much as it might hurt in the short term and for as much as Nash has done for this team, the time is now to begin rebuilding and looking to the future in Phoenix.