Should Toronto Raptors Actually Pursue a Steve Nash Trade?

Christopher Walder@@WalderSportsContributor IINovember 11, 2013

The idea of making a trade for Steve Nash has been tossed around for the past couple of years, but is now the time for the Toronto Raptors to make one final push for the Canadian basketball icon?


It's as simple as that.

A tweet from HoopsWorld reporter Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) is what sent the Steve Nash to Toronto rumors back into overdrive. 

Speculation was running rampant over the validity of the story and whether team general manager Masai Ujiri was secretly working his magic behind closed doors to land the 39-year-old veteran.

Thankfully, multiple sources within the Raptors organization quickly told local reporters that there was no truth to the story.

That was a close call. 

In no way, shape or form should the Toronto Raptors think about, consider or even fantasize about Steve Nash. That pipe dream is over.

In the summer of 2012, former Toronto general manager Bryan Colangelo made a significant push towards acquiring Nash. He even signed former Knicks forward and current Raptor Landry Fields to a three-year offer sheet worth roughly $20 million just so he could take New York out of the running.

If the Knicks had matched the Raptors offer, they wouldn't have been able to use Fields as bait in a possible sign-and-trade. The league-wide rule is that all NBA players who sign an offer sheet can't be immediately dealt. 

It was a sound strategy that ultimately amounted to nothing. A deal was eventually worked out with the Los Angeles Lakers that paid the two-time MVP an estimated $27 million over three years.

Being able to team with Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum (who was later dealt in a blockbuster trade for Dwight Howard) was too good of an opportunity to pass up. Another selling point to joining the Lakers was remaining on the West Coast, allowing Nash to remain closer to his children. 

We all know how that little experiment panned out.

Los Angeles finished 2012-13 with a record of 45-38 and the seventh seed in the Western Conference. A sweep at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs ended one of the more hyped seasons in recent memory.

Howard is now with the Houston Rockets, Bryant is on the sidelines recovering from an injured Achilles and Nash is struggling to remain healthy with a bad ankle and neck. 

Lakers management would move Nash in a heartbeat if they could. There's really no need for him anymore on the roster. Whether they'd like to admit it or not, the franchise is about to embark on a transition period where many things are in shambles. 

With that being said, why on earth should the Raptors lift the burden of an aging star with a terrible contract off of the Lakers shoulders and place it on to their own?

Is it because Nash is Canadian? Is it because having the greatest Canadian basketball player of all time playing for the only Canadian team in the NBA would make for great publicity?

It's not as if the Raptors are having trouble putting fans in seats. According to, the team currently ranks 10th in the league in home-game attendance at an average of 18,612 fans. Now that number is only based off of three games at the Air Canada Centre, but even in 2012-13, that number hovered around the same mark (18,144), which was still in the top half of the league. 

I seriously doubt having Steve Nash wear the red and white for Toronto is going to make THAT big of a difference.

Remember, this isn't the same player who won back-to-back Most Valuable Player awards in 2004-05 and 2005-06. This isn't the same guy who made eight NBA All-Star teams and three All-NBA first teams. He's not going to be leading the league in assists like he's done five times before (2005-07, 2010-11).

He's the oldest player in the NBA. This is the twilight of his career. Steve Nash isn't someone the Raptors organization can build around for the foreseeable future. 

Just to play devil's advocate, let's pretend Toronto was all in favor of making that move. Who would they give up in return?

DeMar DeRozan?

Fat chance. 

According to a report by ESPN's Marc Stein, the Raptors are willing to part ways with anyone on the roster who isn't named Jonas Valanciunas. That would mean DeRozan could very well be on the trading block if the right deal were to present itself.

Is this the right deal?

Absolutely not. Through seven games, the 24-year-old DeRozan is averaging 17.1 points, which is second highest on the team behind Rudy Gay. I'm more than positive that Toronto could gather more assets than simply a one- or two-year rental in Nash for a young scoring guard with DeRozan's tremendous potential.

Perhaps some sort of package involving Gay could get the job done, but that would leave a huge void on offense that someone like Nash would have a great deal of trouble filling. 

The bottom line is that no matter which way you look at it, Steve Nash joining the Toronto Raptors in a trade just doesn't make sense. 

If you could have Dr. Emmett Lathrop "Doc" Brown from Back to the Future hop in his DeLorean, travel back to 2005 and bring back THAT Steve Nash, you wouldn't hear a peep out of me or any Raptor fan in the Greater Toronto Area or around the country for that matter. 

That's just not going to happen. 

The amount of quality Canadian talent emerging in the NBA is astounding. Tristan Thompson and 2013 No. 1 overall pick Anthony Bennett of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Kelly Olynyk of the Boston Celtics, Cory Joseph of the San Antonio Spurs and Andrew Nicholson of the Orlando Magic were all raised north of the border.

Andrew Wiggins of the Kansas Jayhawks is expected to be selected first overall in the 2014 NBA draft, meaning Canadian talent could be going first overall in back-to-back drafts.

If Masai Ujiri truly wants the Toronto Raptors to be "Canada's team," having some homegrown talent on the roster would be a solid step in that direction.

Steve Nash isn't the man for the job. 

That ship has sailed. 


Follow Christopher Walder on Twitter at @WalderSports


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