NBA Free Agency 2012: Why New York Knicks Will Contend with Steve Nash

Sam QuinnContributor IIIJuly 4, 2012

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)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

There is one free agent on the market that changes the landscape of the Eastern Conference. He's the only guy that can put the Knicks on Miami and Boston's level. If the Knicks sign Steve Nash they will be contenders.

The Knicks are working with Phoenix on a sign-and-trade that would send a package headlined by Iman Shumpert to the Suns for Nash. While Knicks fans all love Shumpert for his defense, I think I speak for all of us when I say we'd dump him in a heartbeat for the two-time MVP. 

Nash would change the entire culture of the team. Last year's offense was stagnant; Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire spent far too many possessions attempting isolations while their teammates stood in the corner doing nothing. 

That simply wouldn't happen on a Nash-led team. If the Knicks could land Nash and Jason Kidd (who at this point probably wouldn't be averse to being a backup or off guard) they would go from one of the league's worst passing teams to one of the best.

Carmelo will never stop isolating, and that's part of the reason he's so good, but Nash will help him find more efficient scoring opportunities. He'll make sure Carmelo doesn't go overboard with ball-stopping possessions that result in bad shots. 

Nash would have a much bigger effect on former teammate Amar'e Stoudemire. 

Stoudemire has had trouble adjusting to playing with the ball-dominating Anthony, but thrived in his time with Nash. Nash would help find the balance between Stoudemire's Phoenix-based offense and Anthony's one-on-one scoring. 

Nash would open up the three point shot for guys like JR Smith (assuming he comes back) and Steve Novak. Against Miami neither was open enough to get off a clean shot, but Nash would help them create scoring chances.

He'd even help Tyson Chandler, who has thrived with point guards who can feed him easy lobs for alley-oops. 

A big three of Nash, Anthony and Stoudemire can compete with Miami. With Nash they would be equipped to exploit one of the Heat's biggest weaknesses: point guards. 

Nash would dominate a match up with Mario Chalmers. Considering their advantage at center with Tyson Chandler (who has proven he can slow down LeBron James and Dwyane Wade on drives) and their two-headed scoring monster should give them at least 40 points per game.

Would Nash make the Knicks title favorites? No, that spot belongs to Miami. But could Steve Nash give the Knicks a chance to beat the Heat? Yes, and that's more than they could say before.