The Phoenix Suns have yet to show any sign that they would like to move their two-time MVP point guard Steve Nash, but still rumors and speculation remain constant.
The franchise is in a tricky situation, having watched its championship window close while still having a decent enough roster to compete for the No. 8 seed out West.
Nash has made it clear that he would love to finish out his career in Phoenix, even though the team seems to be at a crossroads.
The 37-year-old floor general led the league in assists last season (11.4 APG), proving he is still playing on an elite level.
Do It For the Fans?
However, many people in the desert feel the franchise owes it to Nash to trade him to a contender for what look to be his last few seasons in the NBA.
Fans don't care that watching a Suns game without Steve Nash is practically torture, as long as Nash gets a shot to win.
But where does Nash have the best chance to win, and win it all?
The Mavericks might need an experienced facilitator in their attempt to repeat next season.
The Lakers will be in need of a point guard to replace the aging and slipping Derek Fisher.
The Celtics could use Nash's shooting off the bench.
The Miami Heat will need someone to make the plays Mario Chalmers couldn't in the 2011 Finals.
The Big Apple
There are plenty of teams in need of Nash's services next season, but arguably none stand out as much or would be as fitting as the New York Knicks.
Nash loves the Big Apple—he lives there during the offseason and even hosts his annual charity celebrity soccer game there every summer.
Think about the following:
No. 1: Mike D'Antoni is the head coach of the Knicks, the same coach which Nash went to the Western Conference Finals with twice (2005 and 2006) in Phoenix.
No. 2: Amar'e Stoudemire plays for the Knicks, the same power forward which Nash went to the Western Conference Finals with twice (2005 and 2010) in Phoenix.
Not to mention Carmelo Anthony would combine with the Nash and Stoudemire duo to form yet another NBA Big Three.
The Knicks would instantly become the most entertaining team in basketball, and one of the favorites to win the Eastern Conference.
What would have to happen for Steve Nash to become a Knick, you ask?
It's simple really, New York trades veteran point guard Chauncey Billups to Phoenix in exchange for the two-time MVP.
Steve Nash vs. Chauncey Billups
If you think this deal seems like a lose-lose situation for the Suns, take a look at the statistical comparison between Nash and Billups.
Nash vs. Billups (2010-2011 Regular Season):
14.7 PPG - 16.8 PPG
11.4 APG - 5.4 APG
3.5 RPG - 2.6 RPG
49.2 FG% - 42.7 FG%
39.5 3PT% - 40.2 3PT%
91.2 FT% - 91.6 FT%
20.81 PER - 19.78 PER (Player Efficiency Rating)
Why Everyone Wins
A Steve Nash-Chauncey Billups deal would benefit both New York and Phoenix.
The Knicks finally get the facilitating point guard they need to get Amar'e Stoudemire and the rest of the players easy shots.
Steve Nash finally has the necessary pieces around him to win a championship, no excuses.
The Suns get slightly younger at point guard, Billups, 34, is three years younger than Nash and would without a doubt keep the team in contention for at least the next few seasons.
Both Phoenix and New York were ranked in the top five last season in scoring offense and three-pointers made per game.
Switch their point guards and odds are neither team misses a beat offensively.
One could make the argument that the Knicks get even better, given Nash's pick and roll potency.
Those who think the Suns would instantly drop off on the offensive end, remember that management is said to be shifting to a defense-first mentality anyways.
Also, head coach Alvin Gentry's offensive style promotes high percentage shots and plenty of three-pointers, so the Suns would score points.
"The Ren-Assist Man"
The Suns ranked third in the NBA last season in assists per game, averaging nearly 24 per game.
The Knicks ranked fifteenth, racking up just over 21 dimes per contest.
The acquisition of Nash would bring New York assists total up, while the differing point guard style of Billups would knock Phoenix's assist numbers down a few notches.
Steve Nash playing in a Mike D'Antoni system alongside two of the top 10 scorers in the league today (Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire), the Knicks would set offensive records in 2011-2012.
Look out, John Stockton's all-time assist record.
Show Me the Money
Of course throughout this lengthy and often over-analyzed offseason trade scenario, one thing has not been discussed, the contract situation.
Fear not hopeful Knicks and supportive Suns fans, the money is the least likely aspect to stop this trade from happening.
Nash is on tap to reel in a little over $11.6 million next season (the final year of his current extension), while Billups will make $14.2 million in 2011-2012.
The Suns would still have plenty of money to play with in free agency, while the Knicks will free up nearly $3 million to throw at another contract.
Now that the numbers, contracts and franchise futures of the Suns and Knicks have been determined, we can only hope to witness the NBA's newest Big Three next season, the "Big Apples."
Patrick Clarke is a Featured Columnist for the Phoenix Suns and a student at Towson University.
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