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NBA Free Agents 2012: 5 Reasons Steve Nash Will Leave the Suns This Summer

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NBA Free Agents 2012: 5 Reasons Steve Nash Will Leave the Suns This Summer
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Steve Nash is one of this summer's A-List free-agent targets in the NBA

The two-time Most Valuable Player is currently weighing all of his options as an unrestricted free agent, according to reports:

"I'm open to every team that has interest in me," he said. "I have to weigh it up with family, salary, environment, opportunity to win—all these different factors that are in a big pot, and figure out what's best."

Those reasons, among others, are why Nash is destined to depart the desert this summer.

 

Salary

The former first-round pick made more than $11 million last season alone—almost double the amount of the Suns' next highest-earner, Marcin Gortat.

That said, it's difficult to believe that Suns management will be willing to cut a check for a similar contract extension to the one it gave Nash in 2009—$22 million over two years—considering his age.

 

Management

Suns President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby recently said the organization and Nash are both open to negotiations, but his return ultimately depends on a number of factors involving both player and team desires.

At 38, Nash is the second-oldest player on the roster behind Grant Hill. And while Babby said he hopes to have Nash back in Phoenix in 2012, the amount of cap space without him is tantalizing.

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"If he doesn't come back, we're going to have $10 million more of cap space," Babby said.

 

Suns Going Young

Minus the likes of Nash and Hill, Phoenix's most experienced player is injury-prone Michael Redd—an 11-year veteran.

Besides that, all of its players have fewer than 10 years experience in the league.

Only two current Suns players—Robin Lopez and Markieff Morris—were drafted by the team in recent years, but look for Phoenix to add to its youth with the 13th pick in this year's draft.

 

Team Needs

Babby also noted that his team needs a "dynamic scorer" and specifically pointed out the post positions. 

With this year's free-agent class light on low-post talent, and with Gortat—the team's leading scorer and rebounder last season—set to make more than $7 million in 2012, Phoenix could potentially look to fill the void left by Nash.

If statistics could speak, they'd note Nash's lack of ability to get the Suns to the playoffs in the last two seasons, for whatever reasons. It might be time for the eight-time All-Star to part ways with a team that desperately needs rebuilding. 

 

Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Nash is an unrestricted free agent

Nash's Desires 

In a recent Wall Street Journal article, Nash was quoted as saying he is "completely open" to the possibility of playing in New York—his summer residence for the past 10 years.

"I'm completely open to it," Nash said. "In some ways, it'd be great to play for the Knicks. I don't want to, you know, set off any alarm bells right now, but it'd be a great opportunity. It's a franchise I'd love to play for. It's a city I love, obviously, living here the last 10 summers…I would definitely consider it, if they had interest in me."

The article goes on to mention Nash's salary expectations, and an already-high Knicks salary cap could potentially derail that deal, but New York's backcourt isn't set in stone yet, as restricted free agent Jeremy Lin has yet to re-sign.

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