NBA Trade Rumors: 5 Possible Spots for Steve Nash
When you think about it, there aren't many teams that wouldn't benefit from having Steve Nash at point guard.
Yes, he's 37 years old. Yes, he's never won a championship. And, yes, the number of times his face has been seen bleeding, combined with his Canadian heritage, suggests that he may have been originally destined to become a hockey player.
(Fine, that last one was an unnecessary jibe.)
But Nash is, clearly, one of the top two point guards of this generation and probably top 10 all-time. Even as his age creeps into the ancient stage in NBA life terms, he plays the position with incredible energy and precision. His sixth-sense-like passing and accurate shooting percentages suggest he still has a lot to offer.
Nash has implied that he loves Phoenix and doesn't intend on leaving. But there are several reasons why a trade would make sense, highlighted by Nash's ringless fingers and Phoenix's apparent need to rebuild.
If Nash were to be traded, where could he go? These five teams would make sense.
1. Memphis Grizzlies
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The team, as currently constituted, is obviously growing into a formidable Western Conference force, but it is just as clearly too inexperienced to make significant headway. With all due respect to Zach Randolph, Tony Allen and Shane Battier, the core of the team—O.J. Mayo, Rudy Gay and Marc Gasol—consists of young talent just ready to enter their respective primes.
Nash could be the perfect leader for this group. By way of both his on-the-court skills and off-the-court guidance, he could be what this team needs to take the next step it appears so ready for.
Obviously, current point guard Mike Conley would have to go if this trade were to happen. He's a nice player, and one that can definitely improve, but he isn't going to lead this Grizzlies team any further than they got this year.
"What's the rush?" some might ask. Well, there's none, really. But why not reward Memphis's fans, who have stuck it through several less successful (read: pitiful) seasons, with a sign of true faith in the team's ability to win now? And why not inject the Grizzlies themselves with a surge of extra confidence as well?
2. Minnesota Timberwolves
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I know, I know—the Suns reportedly turned down an offer to send Steve Nash to Minnesota in exchange for the No. 2 overall pick in last week's NBA Draft. But the interaction between the two clubs appears to have actually taken place. So why couldn't the possibility still be entertained in the future?
Of course, Minnesota would not be the most enticing destination for Nash, seeing as he'd likely want to go to a contender if he were to leave Phoenix. Still, although the Timberwolves went 17-65 last season, there is some upside to be found.
With Nash's presumed protege, Goran Dragic, now on the Houston Rockets, Nash's role as mentor is currently on hold. Timberwolves import Ricky Rubio, who is finally joining the team after two years in Europe, could fill that void.
It's pure speculation as to whether Nash actually wants to serve as a guiding force for a starting point guard-in-waiting, but I can't imagine his personality would dictate otherwise. Throughout his career, Nash has always been a team player, and his helpful demeanor, as well as his obvious love of the game, suggests he would want to leave a prominent legacy.
As for the rest of the roster, Nash would have some budding young talent to work with. Kevin Love, Michael Beasley and first-round selection Derrick Williams can all be dynamic scorers, and with a point guard like Nash feeding them the ball, their offensive prowess would constantly be on display.
3. New York Knicks
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Now, for the storybook ending option—the New York Knicks.
Wouldn't it be perfect? Nash could reunite with Mike D'Antoni, his first head coach with the Phoenix Suns, and Amare Stoudemire, his famed pick-and-roll partner.
Some may, in fact, say this is the exact reason Nash wouldn't want to go to New York. After all, if he had already teamed up with those two once before without reaping championship success, why would he try to recreate the scenario in Madison Square Garden?
Well, there would be some differences this time around. The most significant would be Carmelo Anthony. Other than perhaps Dirk Nowitzki, Nash has never played alongside anyone as proficient at scoring as Anthony and, combined with Stoudemire, the assist totals would continue to rise for the star point guard.
Nash would probably be an instant star in one of the biggest media markets in all of sports, though that is far from an obvious desire of his.
The snafu with this possible landing spot is the incumbent point guard, Chauncey Billups. Still, with Billups' health often in question towards the end of last season, this doesn't seem like the most stable of depth chart positions.
Plus, it's at least possible that Nash and Billups could co-exist in the same lineup. Billups could slide over to shooting guard on occasion.
4. Los Angeles Lakers
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As a recently renounced Lakers fan, I can't help but feel a twinge of panic as I think about the current state of this team.
Kobe Bryant is getting older, the Phil Jackson era is over and Ron Artest will soon be known as "Metta World Peace." Honestly, that last one doesn't bother me, except that I find myself spending far too much time wondering what will be printed on the back of his jersey.
("Peace"? "World Peace"? "Ochocinco"?)
But above all else is my concern over the point guard position. Derek Fisher has to be approaching 97 years of age soon, but to be fair, he's playing like a sprite 77-year old. His back-up, Steve Blake, didn't perform much better during his first year in purple-and-gold.
For Nash, playing in L.A. would give him about as good a shot at winning a title as playing anywhere else. Bryant would love him; he always wants the ball and Nash always looks to pass first.
Fisher really should be a back-up at this point in his career. And the Lakers could use a third All-Star to match up against the Miami Heat. That's probably what they were missing last year.
5. Atlanta Hawks
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Now, I don't want to say that Kirk Hinrich isn't the answer at point guard, but...Kirk Hinrich isn't the answer at point guard.
Nor is Jeff Teague, in my opinion, ready to take on the full-time starter's role. Steve Nash would be a great fit for this Hawks team, which was 12th in the Eastern Conference last year with 95.0 points per game.
Nash could jump-start this offense, which has competent scorers in Josh Smith, Al Horford and Joe Johnson.
Johnson, with whom Nash played during his earlier Phoenix years, would likely welcome the reunification. The Hawks as a whole would welcome Nash, who could feasibly lift this team past the perennial early playoff exits they have come to enjoy.