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2012 NBA Free Agency: Why Not Steve Nash?

PHOENIX, AZ - APRIL 25:  Steve Nash #13 of the Phoenix Suns during the NBA game against the San Antonio Spurs at US Airways Center on April 25, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Spurs defeated the Suns 110-106.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Rob MahoneyNBA Lead WriterJuly 2, 2012

For so many teams, free agency is an opportunity for rebirth—or, at the very least, rejuvenation. It's an opportunity to inject young blood into an aging core, find a replacement for a last-legs veteran or put together pieces to build around for the next half decade.

But in the name of basketball for basketball's sake, we shouldn't scoff at the notion of a team on the cusp—like, say, the Toronto Raptors—vying for the services of a tremendous playmaker who just so happens to be a national icon.

Nash may be 38, but he impossibly kept the Suns in the top 10 in points per possession over the last two seasons, despite a considerable lack of talent. He won't be around forever—and surely not through the end of any kind of considerable rebuild—but Nash nonetheless has the potential to right a franchise with his play and personality, even as a hefty contract to his name might in some ways obstruct a fuller rebuild.

Still, it's foolish to think that veterans have no place on rebuilding clubs, even if Nash has an opportunity to chase a title with what essentially comes down to the contender of his choice.

Were Nash the kind to weigh a ring as heavier than all other basketball accomplishments, he'd undoubtedly nudge his way toward Miami or some other basketball establishment. But considering that he's shown time and time again that he doesn't see a title as validation for his career, I'm not sure why we'd expect Nash to do anything other than what he damn well pleases—or for teams of all kinds to do anything but assume that they have a shot at wooing him.

A player like Nash has value—both monetary and constructive—to any NBA franchise. He passes and runs the break as well as any player around. But beyond that, he's team culture in a bottle.

Nash is so natural and affable that he brings locker room chemistry wherever he goes. While his decline may not coincide with a young team's rise, he could provide something far more foundational than virtually any younger asset.

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