When you think of Steve Nash, what comes to mind?
For me, I always think of him as one of the best point guards in NBA history. Additionally, I often think of his back-to-back MVP Awards when he first arrived in the desert.
Even though the two-time MVP is 38 years old, he's still a top five point guard in the entire league, as evidenced by his ability to pass first and shoot second. As of right now, he's the only player in the NBA that is averaging over ten assists per game (10.9)—Boston's Rajon Rondo is second, with 9.5 per game.
Lately, we've heard rumors of the distinct possibility that Nash could get dealt elsewhere.
Personally, I believe it's a shame that he has yet to make an NBA Finals appearance, because he has had such a great career. Even though he's a likely Hall-of-Famer, it still takes away from the fact that he has not won a championship ring, much less gotten the opportunity.
With the rumors constantly swirling, here are eight possible destinations that could be in store for No. 13.
Note: The following trades were done by using ESPN's NBA Trade Machine.
The Trade: Phoenix trades PG Steve Nash to Toronto for PG Jose Calderon, SF James Johnson and a future first-round pick
Synopsis: I believe this is one of the unlikeliest trades on the list, but it could still virtually happen.
According to reports, the Raptors have been shopping the Spaniard around in hopes of clearing up cap space to acquire Wilson Chandler, who has been playing in China. Former Sun Leandro Barbosa has also been shopped around as well.
The addition of Nash would be a great homecoming party for the point guard, who grew up in Canada. It would also benefit the Raptors, who are in desperate need of a veteran's leadership. The Raptors' young corps of Andrea Bargnani, DeMar Derozan, Ed Davis, Amir Johnson and Jerryd Bayless has copious amounts of potential, but they are so young and need a player like Nash to help them all develop.
For the Suns, they would get a point guard right back in Calderon, who is quietly having a great season—averaging 11 points, 8.9 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game.
Calderon may not be exactly like Nash, but as you can see by his stats, he's a pass-first point guard, much like the two-time MVP.
The acquisition of James Johnson is practically a fill-in, as he is really not needed by the Suns. At small forward, the Suns already have Grant Hill, Jared Dudley and Josh Childress, so a buy-out would seemingly be possible.
This possible scenario, I believe, would work out for both teams. The Raptors would get the veteran that they need and the Suns would get a little younger, along with nabbing a point guard who's play is similar to Nash.
The Trade: Phoenix trades PG Steve Nash to the Los Angeles Lakers; Los Angeles trades C Andrew Bynum to Houston; Houston trades SG Courtney Lee, PG Jonny Flynn and C Hasheem Thabeet to Phoenix and a future first-round selection to Los Angeles
Synopsis: This is perhaps the biggest trade of the scenarios and I believe a similar deal could happen.
After being robbed by the NBA of their acquisition of Chris Paul, the Lakers have struggled all season at point guard. Frankly, an aging Derek Fisher and a mediocre Steve Blake just aren't cutting it in Los Angeles. They need a point guard if they want any hope of winning a championship this season.
That's where Steve Nash comes in. The addition of Nash would set up a deadly combination with Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol and would benefit them more than they would ever think.
Of course, the Lakers would have to give up someone in this deal, which could be Andrew Bynum, who has been shopped around lately. In that Paul trade, the Rockets would have acquired Pau Gasol, but in this scenario, they'd have to settle for Bynum, who has a smaller contract and is younger than the Spaniard.
A frontcourt consisting of Luis Scola and Bynum would give Houston one of the best in the entire NBA. And not to mention, they'd also have Samuel Dalembert and prospect Jordan Hill coming off the bench. That could be the trade that could get the Rockets in the playoffs.
In order to acquire Bynum, the Rockets would have to relieve themselves of some cap space. Courtney Lee, who has been subject to trade rumors as of late, would be sent to Phoenix, along with former lottery selection Jonny Flynn and the extraordinary bust, Hasheem Thabeet. They would also send a future first-round selection to L.A. as well.
Flynn would likely assume the starting role in Phoenix, which could salvage his somewhat disappointing career. The Suns' system would likely fit Flynn's game, and he could flourish into the player we all expected.
This possible trade benefits every team, as Phoenix gets younger, the Lakers get a point guard and the Rockets acquire a massive frontcourt presence.
The Trade: Phoenix trades PG Steve Nash and a future first-round selection to Denver for PG Ty Lawson and PF Al Harrington
Synopsis: I also deem this scenario to be rather unlikely, but it is plausible. I just don't think that Denver would want to give up a young and talented point guard in Lawson for a 38-year-old Nash. However, anything can happen.
The superstar-less Nuggets have played mildly well this season, even though their 18-17 record really doesn't reflect it.
The Nuggets have a young roster that includes talents such as Danilo Gallinari, Kenneth Faried, Rudy Fernandez, Corey Brewer, Arron Afflalo and Jordan Hamilton. It could get even better if they're able to retain Wilson Chandler, who has been playing in China for the last few months. The addition of Nash would give them that superstar and an experienced postseason player that could get them into the playoffs.
A point guard combination of Nash and Andre Miller would automatically become one of the best in the NBA, as both are very talented and nowhere close to being known as "selfish players."
As stated above, the Suns would acquire former Tar Heel Ty Lawson in the trade, a player who has gotten better and better as his career has progressed. Lawson is currently averaging career-highs in minutes (34), points (15.4), assists (6.1) and rebounds (3.3).
Phoenix would also absorb Al Harrington's contract, who is currently owed $6.226 million this season. Prior to the 2010-11 season, Harrington signed a five-year deal worth approximately $33.4 million.
If this deal were to happen, I'd consider the Nuggets to be the winners as they'd acquire an eight-time All-Star, along with a first-round selection. When comparing Nash to Lawson, the latter has a slight advantage in points per game, but Nash is dishing out over four more assists per game, which turns to an additional eight-to-twelve points per contest for Denver.
A deal similar to this could conceivably happen, and both teams would be winners.
The Trade: Phoenix trades PG Steve Nash to Portland for PG Raymond Felton and SG Elliot Williams
Synopsis: After a hot start, the Blazers have seemingly cooled down, as they are currently in eighth place in the Western Conference.
Portland acquired point guard Raymond Felton on draft day, but he has been quietly shopped around to a number of teams, including the Los Angeles Lakers.
If he were to get traded, this scenario makes a good amount of sense.
As stated above, the Blazers would acquire the 38-year-old point guard in exchange for Felton and the seldom-used former Memphis guard Elliot Williams.
This scenario benefits both teams, as the Blazers would get a great point guard and the Suns would acquire Nash's replacement, along with an additional developmental player that could flourish in the Suns' up-tempo system.
Felton, who is having a down season, would become the Suns' new leading man and would surround himself with a solid young corps of players. As of right now, the former Tar Heel is averaging just 10.2 points and 6.2 assists per game.
Williams—who didn't register a single minute last season—has played in nineteen games this season, but is only averaging a shade over five minutes per game. The former first-round selection has great potential, but he won't be able to develop if he's stuck behind Wes Matthews and Jamal Crawford. A trade to Phoenix could be just what he needs.
The Blazers would acquire Nash, a player that could significantly help All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge, along with the rest of the team. The addition of Nash could also help the struggling Blazers get into the playoffs, something the franchise needs at this point.
The Trade: Phoenix trades PG Steve Nash and SF Josh Childress to Orlando for PG Jameer Nelson, SF Hedo Turkoglu, cash considerations and a future second-round pick
Synopsis: As reported a few days ago, the Magic have stated that they would actively pursue Steve Nash, in hopes of landing a proven veteran—along with trying to persuade Dwight Howard to stay in Florida.
The acquisition of Nash could be what keeps Howard in Orlando, at least for the moment being.
It'd undoubtedly make the Magic contenders, as a Nash-Howard duo would immediately become one of the best in the NBA. With Nash giving the ball to Howard in the paint, the latter would practically be unstoppable.
The Magic would also acquire Josh Childress as well, who has been a humongous disappointment this season. The Stanford product is currently averaging career-lows in minutes (13.5), points (2.7), field-goal percentage (45.3) and rebounds (2.8). A trade to Florida could be what he needs to salvage his career.
Orlando would also be able to rid themselves of Hedo Turkoglu's massive and stupid contract. If he were to be dealt to Phoenix, a buyout would seem likely, as I highly doubt that the Suns would want to pay him the remaining balance of his contract.
Phoenix would, of course, acquire a point guard in the deal to replace Nash, which would likely become Jameer Nelson. The former St. Joe's player hasn't been bad since arriving in 2004, but he hasn't developed into the player everyone had hoped for. This season, Nelson is averaging just 9.3 points per game, his lowest output since his rookie season. He's also averaging just 5.3 assists per game, his lowest total since the 2006-07 season.
An up-tempo system, such as the one that Phoenix runs, could suit Nelson's game better. I could definitely see it revitalizing his career.
The Trade: Phoenix trades PG Steve Nash and C Robin Lopez to Milwaukee for SG/SF Stephen Jackson, PG Beno Udrih and a future first-round selection
Synopsis: Currently, the Bucks really wouldn't be considered contenders and even though they hold a 13-20 record, they are just 2.5 games back of the eighth-place Boston Celtics.
Anyway, as we all know, there has been a somewhat major rift between head coach Scott Skiles and veteran Stephen Jackson. Jackson has seen a decrease in his minutes as of late and it seems as though there is no doubt that Jackson will get traded between now and the trade deadline.
The only question about Jackson is: where will he end up? Well, in this scenario, he ends up in Phoenix as part of a four-player trade.
Phoenix would acquire Jackson and point guard Beno Udrih in this scenario. Jackson really doesn't fill an exact need for Phoenix, as they already have Shannon Brown and former Buck Michael Redd at shooting guard. However, he would likely inherit the starting role and Redd's minutes would be dropped even more. There is no doubt that Jackson would give them 15-20 points per game if he were to receive the same amount of playing time, however.
The Suns would also receive Beno Udrih in the deal, a player who was dealt to Milwaukee from Sacramento on draft day last year. After playing at least thirty minutes per game for the Kings over four seasons, he has seen his minutes decrease to 16.5 per game with Brandon Jennings starting.
Udrih may not have the most amazing stats in the world, but he is a quality starter that will give you everything he's got.
In turn, the Bucks would receive Nash, along with former first-round selection Robin Lopez. The Bucks currently have Brandon Jennings on the team, but it is entirely possible for the team to switch him to shooting guard with Nash running the point. A Nash-Jennings backcourt would be very exciting and we'd likely see an increase in Jennings' numbers.
Milwaukee would also acquire the lesser-known Lopez brother, who has been somewhat of a disappointment since arriving in the NBA in 2008. But Lopez could flourish if he were dealt to Milwaukee because of the season-ending injury to former first-overall selection Andrew Bogut. There would be a distinct possibility that he would be listed as the starter, with Ersan Ilyasova lining up at power forward. If Lopez played well, the Bucks would get a great deal.
The Trade: Phoenix trades PG Steve Nash to Utah and SF Josh Childress and two future second-round picks to Minnesota; Utah trades PG Devin Harris and a future first-round pick to Phoenix; Minnesota trades SF Michael Beasley to Phoenix
Synopsis: I doubt a trade like this would happen, but the NBA's slogan is, "Where Amazing Happens," so anything is possible. Sports are so unexpected, you never know what could happen on a day-to-day basis.
The Jazz would acquire Nash in this scenario, giving the team their first proven point guard since John Stockton, one of the all-time greats and a player who had a similar skill-set to Nash. With one of the better frontcourts in the NBA, Utah's backcourt is limited, although it has solid potential.
The addition of Nash would give them a solid opportunity to make some noise in the playoffs and all they have to do is unload Devin Harris and a first-round selection to Phoenix. Harris, a former lottery selection, has been a solid NBA player, but has yet to be considered "elite." I'm not sure if he'd do better in Phoenix, but it's worth a shot.
Additionally, Phoenix would acquire Michael Beasley from Minnesota in the deal. Beasley, a former No. 2 overall selection, has been subject to a myriad amount of trade rumors lately and a departure from the North seems imminent. However, the Suns already have Grant Hill and Jared Dudley at small forward, so it'd be unknown as to how many minutes Beasley would play if this trade were to happen.
In exchange for Beasley, the Wolves would acquire the seldom-used Josh Childress and two future second-round selections. However, I really couldn't see Childress actually playing for Minnesota, as I think he'd either get bought out or dealt immediately to another team.
This scenario works out for every team, I believe. The Suns would acquire another point guard who is also younger than Nash and still has time to develop into an All-Star caliber player. Utah would get one of the best in the game, along with a great veteran presence that could help the younger players such as Alec Burks, Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors. Minnesota would be able to rid themselves of Beasley and actually get something in return.
Again, I'm not sure about the probability of a trade like this going down, but it would benefit all three teams.
The Trade: Phoenix trades PG Steve Nash to Indiana for PG Darren Collison, SG/SF Dahntay Jones and a future first-round selection
Synopsis: There is no doubt that the Indiana Pacers have been one of the biggest surprises of the 2011-12 season. The team is currently sitting in third-place in the Eastern Conference with a stellar 21-12 record -- the Miami Heat (27-7) and the Chicago Bulls (27-8) are sitting in first and second, respectively.
What's even more surprising is that the Pacers are doing all of this with a $50.1 million payroll, which is ranked 28th in the entire league.
With a little over $14 million in cap space, the Pacers could take on Steve Nash's $11.689 million salary. In this scenario, they'd be giving up point guard Darren Collison ($1.455 million), Dahntay Jones ($2.7 million) and a future first-round pick to Phoenix in exchange for Nash, an eight-time All-Star.
However, I deem this scenario slightly unlikely, as I don't think the Pacers would want to shake up their roster since they are doing so well. But anything can happen.
The Pacers have one of the youngest rosters in the NBA, with players such as the high-flying Paul George, Tyler Hansbrough, George Hill, Danny Granger and Roy Hibbert. The addition of the former Santa Clara standout would be a great fit as Nash, a pass-first point guard, would be able to set up more shots for Granger and Hibbert.
In turn, the Suns would acquire point guard Darren Collison, a player who is on the cusp of having a good career. The former UCLA product and ex-Hornet is currently averaging 11.5 points, 5.2 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game for the Pacers.
Dahntay Jones, the other player that Phoenix would acquire, has seen his minutes decrease over the last couple of seasons with the emergence of Paul George. Jones is playing about seventeen minutes per game, averaging 5.4 points per contest.
There is no doubt that the Pacers would be winners in this trade, as I believe they'd be able to make some solid noise in the playoffs. A trio of Nash, Granger and Hibbert would be able to contend with the likes of Miami's LeBron, Wade and Bosh or Chicago's Rose, Boozer and Noah.
There's always the possibility that Nash does not get traded and he stays in Phoenix for the time being. You just never know, but I somewhat expect the two-time MVP to be dealt sometime in the near future.
Since arriving in the desert prior to the 2004-05 season, Nash's career has been revitalized.
During his first season in Phoenix, Nash won the Most Valuable Player Award after averaging 15.5 points and 11.5 assists per game and leading the Suns to an NBA-best 62-20 record.
The following season, Nash had an even better year as he averaged a career-high 18.8 points per game, along with dishing out 10.5 assists per contest. The Suns finished the season 54-28 and won the division, as Nash collected his second consecutive MVP Award.
Since that successful two-season span, Nash's stats have stayed about the same. He has averaged less than ten assists just once since the 2004-05 season, as he dished out 9.7 assists per game for the 2008-09 campaign. The following two seasons, Nash led the NBA in assists per game with 11 and 11.4, respectively. He is also currently leading the NBA in that category with 10.9 per contest.
Needless to say, he has become a great player in his second stint with the Suns. But it may be time for it to come to an end, as Nash could be shown the door at the trade deadline.