The Phoenix Suns and Steve Nash have built a strong relationship over the years and the fan base absolutely loves their Hall Of Fame point guard. While Nash may not be the MVP candidate he used to be, the craft 38-year old is still getting the job done. For as much as those in Phoenix would like to keep him around, it's time to face facts: Nash only has a few seasons left and he will be a free agent within a few months. And it isn't exactly like the Suns are in contention for an NBA title anytime soon.
The 2012 Trade Deadline is right around the corner and the whispers are starting to get louder and louder. The latest update from Marc Stein of ESPN takes a look at why the Steve Nash situation is a very tricky one for all parties involved:
It remains to be seen how willing Nash is to stay after two seasons of steady decline on Sarver's watch since the Suns' Cinderella trip to the 2010 Western Conference finals. The New York Knicks' interest in pursuing Nash as a free agent in the summer is well-documented ... and sources with knowledge of the Dallas Mavericks' thinking say that the defending champs will definitely try to reunite Nash and Dirk Nowitzki in free agency in July if top targets Dwight Howard and Deron Williams elude them. The Toronto Raptors' interest in bringing Captain Canada back home is also well-established.
Sarver, though, is apparently determined to try to persuade Nash to retire in the desert. The thinking there, sources say, is that the Suns believe they'd have a better core going forward with a re-upped Nash, center Marcin Gortat, cap space and a top pick in the well-regarded 2012 draft than with the sort of assets they could bring back now in a deadline deal for a 38-year-old point guard who, even as he continues to play at an All-Star level, is just a few months from free agency.
The risk there, of course, is that keeping Nash beyond the trade deadline exposes the Suns to the same risks Orlando faces if it hangs on to Howard, creating the very real possibility that Nash could leave Phoenix without compensation. In that scenario, though, it's believed that Sarver would prefer to announce to the world afterward that the Suns tried everything they could to keep Nash but ultimately couldn't stop him from signing elsewhere -- and then start to try to rebuild with the resultant cap space -- as opposed to settling for a so-so trade in the next two weeks.
It would be a near-impossible sell for the front office to convince fans to continue to show up should they deal Nash in the coming weeks, but do they really risk not getting anything in return should he leave town via free agency? Some tough decisions are going to have to be made in the very near future.
For more on the Suns and to discuss their trade deadline plans, head on over to Bright Side Of The Sun.