The 2010-11 NBA season is still young, but trade rumors have already begun to circulate around the league, as the New York Post has reported that the struggling Phoenix Suns may consider trading Steve Nash to the New York Knicks.
Heading into the much-hyped summer of 2010, there had been rumors that Nash, who has a home in New York, would defect to the Knicks as a free agent, however, that notion was put to rest when he signed a two-year extension with the Suns, to the tune of $22 million.
Yet, this season Phoenix has staggered out of the gate, starting off the season 1-3.
Consequently, if Suns' management feels that the team will be unable to contend for the championship right away, they may consider getting rid of their expensive 36-year-old point guard, in order to begin a rebuilding process.
And with a roster populated by talented young players such as Goran Dragic, Jared Dudley, Earl Clark and Robin Lopez, a rebuilding process might not take too long.
Sure, Nash—who has been a steady source of scoring, assists and amazing shooting percentages for much of his career—would be an instant upgrade at the point for New York.
However, Nash's numbers are mostly down so far this season, as he's seen his assists per game plummet, his turnovers per game spike, and shooting and free throw percentages significantly drop.
Additionally, what would getting Nash mean for the Knicks' Raymond Felton, who is currently putting up solid per-game averages of 16.2 points, 7.4 assists (2.86 assists per turnover), 1.6 steals and 2.0 threes, on shooting percentages of 49.2 from the field and 81.8 from the line?
Well, it would most likely mean that the 26-year-old would find himself to be the odd man out, as he would likely be included in a Nash trade or maybe be dealt away in another one to make room for Nash.
Therefore, one is forced to question whether or not trading for an aging superstar, whose skills are diminishing, is justifiable at the expense of the future, especially since the Knicks don't appear to have the talent to contend for a title right now.
So what should the Knicks do?
In order to answer this question, one must simply turn to recent history.
First and foremost, we have seen Nash, Amar'e Stoudemire and Mike D'Antoni together before.
They never won a title.
And, although they certainly came close, aging and injuries have caused both Nash and Stoudemire to regress to some extent as players.
Therefore, assuming that the supporting casts were at least similar talent-wise, the Nash-Stoudemire-D'Antoni Knicks would probably be less successful than the past Nash-Stoudemire-D'Antoni Suns.
Next, one must look to what has recently happened when the Knicks have been impatient, trying to win immediately rather than waiting for everything to fall into place.
It has never worked.
All that ever happened was that the team management (i.e. Scott Layden and Isiah Thomas) traded away talented young players and early draft picks, overpaying for aging, injured or marginal talent (i.e. Antonio McDyess, Stephon Marbury, Eddy Curry and countless others), in order to avoid rebuilding or being the very worst team in the league.
Therefore, before New York brass gets all excited about the prospect of acquiring Nash, they ought to stop and realize that this isn't the same Steve Nash who won back-to-back NBA MVP awards in 2005 and 2006.
And, yes, Nash is definitely still a good player, even one of the better point guards in the league. However, that won't last for very much longer.
Consequently, the Knicks should not sell the farm for a potential upgrade at the point for the next couple of years.
Instead, they ought to pass on Nash and pool their resources to be used toward acquiring a piece which could help the franchise contend for years and years to come.
The answer is a player like Chris Paul, Deron Williams or Carmelo Anthony, not Steve Nash.
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