In the game today, where loyalty is taken for granted and money is more likely to make the decision for a specific player, it's a rare occurrence when you find a player like Steve Nash.
At 37 years old and without a championship to his name, Nash is still claiming that his allegiance is to the Phoenix Suns' organization, and that he is already looking towards the postseason at the end of the 2011-'12 campaign.
There are a number of contending teams that would be willing to make a trade, or sign him to a lucrative deal, to bring Nash in, but he has shown no intentions of leaving the Suns and it's now going to be near impossible to make any trade scenario involving him. Even though his team was relatively average last season without Amar'e Stoudemire, Nash is going to plan on sticking it out.
The Suns made little-to-no significant moves over the offseason with their re-signing of Grant Hill being the largest deal by far. They also managed to acquire Shannon Brown, Sebastian Telfair, Ronnie Price and Marcus Morris via draft, but none of these signings would be enough to make the Suns a contender. Even a postseason appearance would be a surprise, especially when considering the strength of their division.
The Pacific had only one team finish above .500 last season, with the Suns finishing second at 40-42. That's certainly going to change this season with the L.A. Clippers acquiring Chris Paul, the Golden State Warriors set to show improvement and the Sacramento Kings getting Tyreke Evans back from an injury. With each team making moves to improve, the Suns are getting left in the Western-Conference dust with an average roster.
Nash knows a good team when he sees it. He played with some of the best during the Suns' deep playoff runs. The 2011 team doesn't compare to the Suns of 2005 or 2006. There's no Amar'e Stoudemire, Shawn Marion or Raja Bell on Nash's squad, but rather Marcin Gortat, Grant Hill and Channing Frye.
The fact that their defense is still so greatly limited further reinforces the prediction that the Suns are going to finish at or near the bottom of the division. This team isn't getting anything other than a lottery pick next year, and it seems like a tremendous disappointment that Nash is willing to stay with Phoenix rather than jump ship for a contender. At such a late stage in his career, it would only be expected for him to go ring chasing.
On any contender, Nash would still play an integral part and would easily start on teams like the Miami Heat, New York Knicks or L.A. Lakers. However, it seems that he is actually committed to the team that drafted him in 1996, gave him up in 1998 and then took him back in 2004. With so many elite players jumping ship on their average or below average teams to join contenders, it's a surprise that Nash would actually be willing to stay on a team that's nowhere near ready to compete.
Which would make it even more ridiculous if the Suns even think about trading their two-time MVP point guard. Even though Nash would still command a few young pieces, it would be extremely disrespectful to a player that's willing to commit and stay loyal to your franchise. He's doing this team a favor by staying around, as he represents the only reason as to why they'll be anything near relevant next season.
Trading Nash may not even bring in the best pieces, either. Even though he's still regarded as one of the top shooters at his position and is easily the best offensive facilitator, there aren't going to be too many lucrative offers due to the fact that he's 37 years old. Nash has always been looked at as an iron man in this league, but a trade that would send out young talent in return would only be risky and foolish in the long run.
For now, the Suns just need to surround him with as much talent as possible. It's impressive to see Gortat play so well in the half of a season he had with the Suns, averaging 13 points and nine boards, but it's going to take more than a former Orlando Magic backup in order to push this team to the next level. They need a solid third scorer that can perform on both sides of the ball, who isn't Channing Frye.
The Suns teams that were making it deep in the playoffs every season didn't always possess the strongest team defense, but they did at least have strong individual defenders in the likes of Marion and Bell. These current Suns teams, on the other hand, lack solid defenders, with Hill and Mickael Pietrus being the only names to stick out when talking about defense.
Either way, Phoenix isn't going anywhere. The organization should allow Nash to get his wish and play out the rest of his career with the team that drafted him over 15 years ago. They wouldn't get much in return, so it only seems best that they keep Nash and make the Suns still worth watching. He's been the only thing keeping this team afloat since 2005 and has brought them some of their best years since the Charles Barkley days.
A trade at this point in his career would only be an insult to the testament that Nash has provided to his organization. A superstar that doesn't want to be traded from his average team to a contender is a rare thing to see in sports these days, which only makes it more important that the squad doesn't attempt to trade him.
With both sides balking at the thought of a trade, we will only continue to see Steve Nash playing in a Phoenix Suns uniform for the duration of his career.
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