Steve Nash Free Agency: Latest Speculation on Knicks, Heat, Lakers & More
Steve Nash has a big decision to make this offseason.
The 38-year-old veteran is an unrestricted free agent, and with his impending free agency set to begin July 11, there will be a number of teams coveting his services.
Will he join a contender in an attempt to win his first ring? How about an up-and-coming roster as a mentor?
Or will he choose to stay put in Phoenix and rebuild the roster he’s been with the past eight seasons?
Only time will tell, so stay tuned as we keep you updated with the latest rumors regarding Nash and his big decision this summer.
Update: Wednesday, July 11 -- Joel C. Cordes
Steve Nash is officially a Laker now that the trade has been processed and the contract signed:
Lakers officially announce they have acquired Steve Nash. Press conference tomorrow at Lakers practice facility which is located on Nash St.— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) July 11, 2012
Update: Saturday, July 7 — Joel C. Cordes
With Steve Nash aboard as a Los Angeles Laker, speculation now turns to just how the run-and-gun point guard will mesh with reputed ball-stopper Kobe Bryant and "slow-it-down" coach Mike Brown:
Steve Nash has already talked to Mike Brown about calling plays on the court and running the Lakers' offense when he's out there.— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) July 5, 2012
As fallout from the Nash trade, point guard Ramon Sessions appears on his way out of Los Angeles. Considered a prize himself as mid-season acquisition, Sessions is looking for a starting job and a long-term contract, neither of which he'll find with the Lakers.
As ESPN reports, teams like the Dallas Mavericks and Houston Rockets are beginning to wildly scramble for the point guard leftovers. Sessions may find the starting situation he's looking for, even if he is just sloppy seconds.
Update: Wednesday, July 4 — Ethan Norof
Steve Nash is going to be sharing a backcourt with Kobe Bryant next season.
Multiple reports have now confirmed that Steve Nash will be traded to the Los Angeles Lakers in a package for multiple draft picks.
Nash will get a three-year, $27 million deal to join the Lakers, reports Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports.
Nash gets 3-year guaranteed $27 million deal, his agent Bill Duffy tells Y! "He's ecstatic. He gets to be close to his children," Duffy said— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 5, 2012
ESPN has also reported that Nash will attempt to have Grant Hill join him in Los Angeles.
Suns beat writer Paul Coro tweets that Phoenix will acquire two future first-round picks from the Lakers as well as two future second-round pick in exchange for Nash.
In the Nash sign-and-trade, the #Suns will get 2013 & 2015 first-round picks and 2013 & 2014 second-round picks.— Paul Coro (@paulcoro) July 5, 2012
John Gambadoro had the first report via Twitter.
Nash to LA for multiple picks all but done!!!— John Gambadoro (@Gambo620) July 4, 2012
Suns will get multiple picks from the Lakers, had been talk earlier of two first rounders so my belief is that it is at least the two 1sts— John Gambadoro (@Gambo620) July 5, 2012
ESPN's Marc Stein confirmed the news shortly after Gambadoro's report.
Just going up online & via SportsCenter: Sources say Suns have consented to sign-and-trade Steve Nash to Lakers for package of future picks— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 5, 2012
As if it weren't already, now it will certainly be interesting to watch the Lakers next season.
UPDATE: Wednesday, July 4 -- Joel C. Cordes
Despite the New York Knicks making all the waves with their sign-and-trade attempts this morning, Steve Nash's other main suitors remain undeterred according to ESPN's Marc Stein:
Beyond any sign-and-trade talks, Mavericks remain in talks w/Steve Nash as well, sources say. I'm told Raps aren't conceding yet, either— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 4, 2012
The Knicks have been considered the long-shot scenario for quite some time, so it's not surprising that the Dallas Mavericks and Toronto Raptors remain strongly committed to their Nash hunt.
Where will Steve Nash sign this summer?
The Mavericks can offer the greatest nostalgia and contender status of the remaining trio, while the Raptors have the hometown crowd and eventual front office position to sell.
All three teams have roughly $8-10 million per year contracts to offer, though the Knicks could only provide that pay raise via the rumored sign-and-trade.
UPDATE: Wednesday, July 4 — Ethan Norof
Things are officially heating up on the Steve Nash front.
The New York Knicks are making a strong push to complete a sign-and-trade deal that would send Nash to the Big Apple.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports has the scoop.
The Knicks have emerged as frontrunners to land Steve Nash in a sign-and-trade deal, league sources tell Y! Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 4, 2012
Additionally, Wojnarwoski reports that the Knicks and Suns are in "critical stages of discussions" that would have Nash garner a three-year deal worth between $27-$30 million. New York would send Iman Shumpert, Toney Douglas and multiple other players back to Phoenix in the outlined deal.
However, ESPN's Marc Stein reports that the Knicks are reluctant to give up Shumpert in a deal, and New York is searching for a third team to facilitate a deal that does not involve the Georgia Tech product.
UPDATE: Wednesday, July 4 — Ethan Norof
The idea of Steve Nash being sent to the Knicks in a sign-and-trade just won't go away.
After David Aldridge of NBA.com reported that Nash was giving the Knicks time to work on a sign-and-trade before he made his decision, Alan Hahn of MSG Networks reports that any potential deal would be "complicated," and there is a "hesitation" to part ways with Iman Shumpert.
Not so fast. The Mavericks are interested in bringing in Nash after whiffing on Deron Williams, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.
Mavs' PG priorities from here, sources say, are Nash and Jeremy Lin and re-signing J-Kidd. Team has not yet decided if it'll pursue Dragic
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 4, 2012
The Knicks want Nash. We know that. But it's not going to come without New York clearing some significant hurdles and it's unclear if they will be able to do that.
Jeremy Lin's situation is still looming in the background.
UPDATE: Tuesday, July 3 — Sam Quinn
Yet another team has joined the pool of potential Steve Nash suitors. The Los Angeles Lakers have reportedly shown interest in the veteran point guard.
According to NBA.com's David Aldridge, the Lakers "are making a strong bid to acquire" the two-time NBA MVP.
Per Aldridge's report, a sign-and-trade would be the more likely scenario, as the Lakers' payroll is already projected to be in the neighborhood of $83 million.
Without a sign-and-trade, the Lakers would only be able to offer a $3.09 million exception to the 38-year-old point guard, a far cry from his actual market value.
Players that the Lakers could offer to the Phoenix Suns in a sign-and-trade include Ramon Sessions, Jordan Hill and Matt Barnes. All three of those players are currently free agents, so it wouldn't be easy to pull off.
UPDATE: Tuesday, July 3 — Joel Cordes
The reported three-year, $20 million deal, complete with "poison-pill" salary increase in the final season, seems curious considering Fields' regression during his sophomore year.
However, Landry may just be a pawn in a much larger game of chess being played by Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo. By making this huge offer, he's forcing the Knicks to match it or risk losing one of their few young, cheap assets.
Now the Knicks MUST re-sign Fields if they were to include him for a sign-and-trade to the Phoenix Suns for Steve Nash. It never appeared as if the Suns were seriously considering such a deal with New York, but this takes that option right off the table.
What's more, if Nash somehow doesn't come to Toronto, the Raptors will have landed one of Jeremy Lin's closest teammates. This potentially opens the door for a similar ploy they're attempting with the Knicks' point guard.
The Knicks suddenly find themselves in a lose-lose situation. If they re-sign Fields, they could lose Lin while still missing out on Nash. If they let Landry walk, then they are devoid of trade options for Steve Nash whatsoever.
As Bruce Arthur of the National Post put it:
It's all about Nash. This is Bryan Colangelo throwing everything he's got to get one guy. All-in.— Bruce Arthur (@bruce_arthur) July 3, 2012
UPDATE: Tuesday, July 3 — Joel Cordes
Apparently the Phoenix Suns don't really want Steve Nash back all that badly. With the New York Knicks "pulling out all the stops", and the Toronto Raptors willing to pony up a three-year, $36 million contract, the Suns seem to simply be going through the motions.
There's not enough corroboration yet, but the story is surfacing that Phoenix' offer is in the two-year, $12 million range. That's supposedly what the Boston Celtics are offering Ray Allen, (a player whose skills have eroded far more sharply), and half of what Toronto is pitching.
Paul Coro claims that Nash and the Suns haven't even talked since Saturday.
At this point, it appears as if the Suns are simply making an offer out of respect, with no real intentions of retaining Nash whatsoever. Maybe they believe that he's out the door already, and this is simply a move to placate fans: "Look, we did try to get him back, but he rejected our offer."
Or, maybe it's just the perennially cheap-skate Suns doing what they've done all throughout the Steve Nash era: letting their stars and draft picks walk with no real compensation. Nash witnessed this for years, and now it's apparently happening to him too.
UPDATE: Monday, July 2 — Joel Cordes
Steve Nash says that money is important when considering his Free Agency options. Nash's agent has also set the parameters of his asking price at roughly $12 million per year, or nearly identical to the deal which the Toronto Raptors are offering:
Agent Bill Duffy had told suitors he was looking for a deal starting at $12M for Nash, and Raptors' offer Sunday expected to be in ballpark.— Ken Berger (@KBergCBS) July 1, 2012
However, the New York Knicks are apparently undeterred: they continue to reference Nash as their top offseason priority:
Nash is definitely the Knicks' top target, but they have reached out to Raymond Felton's reps. They have to have contingency plans.— Al Iannazzone (@Al_Iannazzone) July 1, 2012
New York is reportedly building a sign-and-trade scenario to help sweeten the pot for the Phoenix Suns, though Landry Fields is the only real asset in the deal.
UPDATE: Sunday, July 1 — Stephen Babb
The New York Knicks' chances of landing Steve Nash have taken a significant hit, and the Toronto Raptors appear poised to capitalize. ESPN's Marc Stein is reporting that Toronto has offered Nash a three-year, $36 million offer, a figure that would likely exceed what other suitors could–or would–be willing to spend.
The iconic free-agent point guard told ESPN Radio that money mattered to his decision, seemingly putting an end to speculation that he might go to a contender at a discounted rate (via the New York Post's Marc Berman):
“I definitely feel I want to be validated monetarily to an extent,’’ Nash said. “It’s still very important. I think money in many ways represents respect. For example, if you sign with a team and take half or less money, six months later they trade you. It has to be one of the factors. It’s not everything but it is important and will be one of the factors involved.’’
That may be music to the Raptors' ears.
While the Knicks will likely only have a tax-payers mid-level exception of around $3 million, the Raptors have a wealth of cap space to throw at the prized target. Of course, they may also benefit from the fact that Nash is a native of Canada.
Berman, in turn, has disputed Stein's claim that Nash has a $36 million offer on the table:
Source repeats $36M offer to Steve Nash is "untrue.'' Won't say what offer was. Raptors may want the $36M number out there.
— Marc Berman (@NYPost_Berman) July 1, 2012
Whatever the offer is, it's almost certainly far outside New York's price range.
There is one more wrinkle in Nash's thought process that could delay a final decision for a few more days. According to ESPNDallas' Jeff Caplan, Nash will also hear out his former club, the Dallas Mavericks:
Of course, if Dallas' pursuit of Williams becomes a protracted affair, Nash may have to make a decision before seriously entertaining an offer from the Mavericks. And, given the appeal of turning the Raptors around and helping the struggling young team return to the postseason, this may be a done deal sooner rather than later.
Suns Preparing To Lose Steve Nash?
By drafting Kendall Marshall with the No. 13 pick, the Phoenix Suns are readying themselves to lose Steve Nash.
Marshall is a pure distributor point guard who needs to improve his shot and defense. Early "politically correct" commentary suggests that Marshall was drafted to learn from Nash.
However, there is no way he was drafted to be a backup, not when the Suns had so many other needs to address with this pick.
Steve Nash could be heading home to Canada, even if it's not anymore of a winning situation than the one he leaves behind with the Phoenix suns.
HoopsWorld's Steve Kyler mentions that Nash has supposedly left the door open to playing with the Toronto Raptors. In fact, it's strong enough that the Raps are apparently balking at an offer from theHouston Rockets that would send Kyle Lowry north in exchange for Toronto's No. 8 pick.
It would be strange for Nash to forgo playing with a contender on what's surely his last NBA deal. However, playing professionally in front of his national crowd might be a huge personal draw.
In fact, Chris Broussard thinks that the Raptors may be getting very serious for Nash:
Chris Broussard says Raptors may amnesty Jose Calderon to go after Steve Nash.
— chris palmer (@ESPNChrisPalmer) June 29, 2012
“Sure, another exciting opportunity,” he said. “Brand new stadium, a very passionate and resourceful owner, so it’s another exciting opportunity. I have friends in Brooklyn. I’ve been over there a lot. Brooklyn’s great. Brooklyn’s beautiful. I think a lot of guys are going to find out about Brooklyn.”
Whether it was Nash simply being nice or not, he didn't close the door, and that's enough for a franchise more in-flux than anyone in the NBA. The Nets could see Deron Williams, Brook Lopez, Gerald Wallace and Kris Humphies stay or walk.
That might be too risky for Nash, but at least he likes the city of Brooklyn...
*Information provided by Bleacher Report's Brooklyn Nets Offseason Tracker.
Nash has played a total of 10 seasons for the Phoenix Suns—two in the mid-'90s and eight since 2004.
The team is coming off a difficult year, and while they hope Nash will stick around to help rebuild, they will need to make some big-time changes in the not-so-distant future.
In an appearance on The Dan Patrick Show in March, Nash expressed his feelings toward the situation, simply stating, “I’m not coming back to the Suns if there isn’t improvement.”
New York Knicks
According to ESPN’s Jared Zwerling, Nash would “definitely consider” joining the New York Knicks next season.
Nash and Amar’e Stoudemire would create one heck of a two-man game, as we saw for years when they were together in Phoenix.
Nash could also come in and be a teacher to Jeremy Lin, who received comparisons to the 17-year veteran last season.
For salary cap purposes, bringing Nash to New York could be difficult. However, if they can make it happen, it would be well worth the money spent.
Despite the money concerns, Steve Nash also recently mentioned to Yahoo's Marc J. Spears that the Knicks are ahead of the Brooklyn Nets as a potential destination. The Nets have most of their salary cap to spend in free agency this year, but appear to be too big a rebuilding project for Nash to get involved in.
Could Steve Nash be taking his talents to South Beach next season?
LeBron James got the recruiting process started for Nash last offseason:
Maybe @SteveNash in a Heat uni! So we can help each other get our 1st ring— LeBron James (@KingJames) October 27, 2011
There are other teams out there that could offer more money, but the Heat have a star-studded crew that is ready to show their championship trophy to anybody willing to join for less.
Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that Dallas Mavericks' GM Donnie Nelson nearly revealed too much when asked about whether Steve Nash was an option for them.
The Mavs have made no secrets that they're trying to lure point guard Deron Williams away from the Brooklyn Nets. Williams has intimated that Dallas and Brooklyn are the only two front-runners for his services.
However, should the Mavericks strike out on D-Will, bringing Nash back instead would be a nice consolation prize. Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash had palpable chemistry together during their first ride, and Dallas will have plenty of money to add intriguing parts around them for one last stand.
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