NBA Trade Rumors: How Steve Nash to New York Knicks Changes the Title Picture

Mike ShiekmanFeatured ColumnistJuly 4, 2012

PHOENIX, AZ - APRIL 25:  Steve Nash #13 of the Phoenix Suns stands attended for the National Anthem before 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

This year’s celebration of American independence may end up being remembered in honor of Canadian Steve Nash.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, the two-time NBA MVP could be on the move to the New York Knicks in a sign-and-trade for, most notably, Iman Shumpert, among others (via Sports Illustrated's Sam Amick):

Knicks, Suns are in the critical stages of discussions on a sign-and-trade deal that would pay Nash $27M-$30M over 3 years, sources tell Y!

— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 4, 2012


Nash would make this Knicks team flashy. Relevant, if they weren’t already. But does the addition of this 38-year-old point guard push them to the forefront of the NBA title picture?

The Knicks will be able to score quickly and in bunches, which should mask their defensive deficiencies. Not for an entire postseason, though. Not against the athletic lineups Miami and Oklahoma City sported in this year’s NBA Finals.

With the Heat’s stars in their prime, Boston reloading and Chicago being a healthy Derrick Rose away from resembling last season’s top seed, New York remains in the second tier in the East.

With Nash as their floor general, though, the Knicks will have risen to the top of that group, with potential for more. Very similar to the Brooklyn Nets, who will start with a new nucleus of stars in 2012 (New York-Brooklyn trash talk can start in the comments section below).

Last season, the Knicks had one of the most exciting mediocre seasons in team history. This year brings a new coach, stars regaining their health and, potentially, a new floor leader.

So, Nash, this 38-year-old Rico Suave-haired point guard, is supposed to be the all-encompassing elixir to this New York riddle. His mere presence will connect the square pegs and round pegs into the highest caliber.

Forget the Fountain of Youth, the two-time MVP can still set up meetings between ball and basket with the best of them. But has he found the Fountain of Defense for this team, too?

In this proposed deal, the Knicks will be jettisoning Shumpert and Toney Douglas far out West, leaving Tyson Chandler with paltry defensive help. With a Landry Fields offer sheet hanging in the balance, the Knicks are devoid of a perimeter stopper. Please tell me the last time you heard the word "defense" and the names "Steve Nash," "Jeremy Lin" and "Mike Bibby" together.

I’m still waiting…

At his age, Nash lacks the physical gifts to stay in front of the East’s best point guards. Forget Deron Williams and Rajon Rondo; he’ll still be exposed against the likes of Jrue Holiday. In addition, Chandler can only do so much to protect the basket when Amar'e Stoudemire can no longer play 40 minutes, let alone 10 on the defensive side.

Mike Woodson should spend his sleepless nights figuring out defensive schemes that will hide Nash and Lin from opposing scorers.

With Nash, though, Woodson need not worry about how to score. Stoudemire will be reinvigorated to play alongside his long-time distributor—bet your NYSE tickets on it. Not to mention Chandler, who thrived offensively with Chris Paul feeding him two-footers.

Even more in the Knicks’ favor, Carmelo Anthony has never had the privilege to play with a passing maestro as prolific as Nash. Any critic's claim that they won’t be able to coexist offensively is poppycock. Nash has been making his teammates better his entire career.

The main issue with Nash is this: Will the Knicks be able to thrive in the half court while defending at the same level?

That’s a tall order. Playoff time will provide the answer.

Regardless, Miami and Boston are still kings of the East. Their cores have done it together before and will have even more talented rosters on paper. The Knicks will have to first find the proper mixture, and then produce at a consistent rate.

Nash wouldn’t be in Phoenix anymore. All eyes would be on him. Can he keep the Big Apple’s team from going sour?