What Steve Nash's Free-Agent Wish List Should Look Like
Steve Nash is one of the greatest point guards of all-time, and even at 38, he's still capable of leading a team into the playoffs.
It’s no wonder there are several teams that would love his services for next year, but obviously only one is going to get him. This countdown is what I think Steve Nash’s list should look like heading into his first free-agent period in nearly a decade.
5) Dallas Mavericks
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Most people have this team a lot on higher on the list, but I just don’t see it.
Even at Nash’s advanced age, he excelled in a fast-tempo, borderline chaotic offense, and the current Mavericks roster simply isn’t built that way.
Okay, so that’s not entirely fair, because Dallas currently only has five total players on its roster, but after seeing its team win a title last season largely because of defense and a controlled offensive game, it would seem strange if the Mavs organization shelled out money for a point guard that struggles on defense and needs to push the ball.
Plus, let’s not forget that Mark Cuban low-balled Nash back in 2004 because he thought there was no other interest, and Nash took offense to that.
I just can’t see Nash, one of the most loyal players in the NBA, forgetting that and re-signing with a team that is owned by Cuban—even if it does have one of his best friends on it.
4) Los Angeles Lakers
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Before we get into the advantages of a Lakers-Nash marriage, allow me to acknowledge the financial issues that would arise from this deal, and I don’t totally have a way to fix it.
However, L.A. needs a point guard and shooting, and Nash plays his position and shoots the ball better than anyone else in the league.
With the Twin Towers in the paint, Nash’s defensive woes would be masked to some degree, and after watching Derek Fisher, Ramon Sessions and Steve Blake play matador all season, he may even be a defensive upgrade.
The biggest problem with L.A.’s point guards over the years is that Kobe refuses to respect any of them, but Nash would fix that problem.
Because Nash is one of the few players in the league that Bryant actually views as an equal and worthy opponent, he’d be more willing to turn some of the alpha male responsibility over to him.
That would put a smile on Pau Gasol’s and Andrew Bynum’s faces and allow Kobe to age with a bit more grace and take some of the offensive burden off him. Ultimately, this won’t happen because of money, but it makes more sense for Nash than Dallas.
3) Indiana Pacers
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Strictly from a basketball sense, the Pacers should be in the top two, but Steve Nash is a very smart guy who thinks about more than just the game (which we’ll get to).
Indiana was one of the best teams in the NBA in spite of the fact they were the second-worst assisting team in the league and only the 24th-best offensive team in terms of field-goal percentage.
With all due respect to Magic Johnson, nobody has made passing more contagious than Steve Nash in NBA history, and Nash’s unselfish play and incredible efficiency would take Indiana to the next level in the Eastern Conference.
Finally, one of the biggest issues for the Pacers last season was their lack of a go-to play when the game got tight.
Steve Nash and David West running the pick-and-roll until teams threw up would become that play that every basketball purist would love to awe over.
2) Toronto Raptors
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If anyone from the Raptors organization is reading this, here’s what your pitch needs to be:
“Look, Steve, nowhere are you beloved more than your home country of Canada. We have some great athletes on the wing that would blossom under your tutelage, a plan in place to get you a dominant big man like Pau Gasol, more money to spend to get another shooter, an ownership group willing to let you write your own check and an opportunity to let you own part of the team when you retire.
"You’ve already taken on an executive role with the Canadian Olympic team, so we know you’re looking into your post-playing days already, and we can guarantee you a front office position that nobody else can.”
If the Raptors make their pitch strictly about basketball, it’s not going to work. But if Bryan Colangelo is smart enough to show him the bigger picture, Nash will sign with Toronto.
Before you scoff at the notion that “it’s the Raptors! They suck and nobody wants to play there,” just remember that Colangelo already wooed Nash once back in 2004 to Phoenix and that Toronto actually has a larger population than any team on this list other than Los Angeles.
The Raptors have a chance to land their first marquee free agent ever and be relevant again in the NBA for the first time sense Vince “Air Canada” Carter was failing to live up to expectations.
As a basketball fan, I don’t want this to happen, but as a businessman, this move makes a ton of sense.
1) Portland Trail Blazers
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Steve Nash was at his best when he had A) a skilled and athletic power forward, and B) athletic wings that could fill in the lanes on the break at his disposal.
Between LaMarcus Aldridge, JJ Hickson, Nicolas Batum (most likely) and Wes Matthews, the Blazers can offer a perfect fit for Steve Nash’s skills.
If you’re Portland and you just invested the No. 6 pick in Damian Lillard, wouldn’t it behoove you to bring in the smartest point guard of the last decade to mentor him and make sure he develops properly? Yes, yes it would.
Also, because Lillard is 22 years old and more NBA-ready than other draft picks, he would be able to cut down on Nash’s minutes, extending his career and protecting his back.
Portland needs to sell Nash on a few non-basketball things if this is going to become a reality, because basketball-wise it makes more sense than any other team.
First, they need to sell the fact that Blazers fans are obsessed with this team and that it would be refreshing to have a city support him after years of semi-apathetic fans in Phoenix.
Also, Portland is closer to his hometown of Victoria, British Columbia, than any of the other cities, is one of the healthier cities in the country (something very important to Nash) and has a huge bike culture (ditto).
The biggest deterrent of this happening is that the new executive leadership doesn’t love Nash nearly as much as the old one, but if they sit back and realize they need Steve Nash, I think a three-year, $33-36 million offer would be perfect for both parties.