Where Steve Nash decides to play his basketball over the next few years of his career is already the single most important topic to Phoenix Suns fans. Nash will be a free agent this offseason and faces a decision on where to finish his Hall of Fame career. He believes he can play for three more seasons and nothing we've seen this year would dispute that. It's just a matter of which uniform he will wear when the NBA regular season begins six months from now.
As he's done on several occasions over the past few weeks, Nash once again said that he will consider his options carefully before making a decision. Coming back to the Suns remains on the table provided the team can meet his three top priorities as spelled out after the final game of the 2011-12 season: Winning. Being competitive. Being in a good environment.
Beyond that, Nash has nothing more to say because he doesn't have any answers to share.
"We could talk all night and I'll maybe never give you a straight answer because I don't really know. I really don't know, but I appreciate the interest, I appreciate that people are excited for whatever comes next and also interested in what my future holds. It's very flattering."
Nash was also very appreciative of the Phoenix fans who's raucous cheers of "WE WANT STEVE" seemed to catch him off guard, "It's authentic, the relationship I thought we had. It's great. It really feels special. The fans have been phenomenal and have meant a lot to me to play in a city like this as long as I have. To feel important to the fans and community, I just feel like a very lucky guy."
This season was a difficult one for the Suns who missed the playoffs for the second-straight year. From the outside, it was a complete failure but when thinking about where Nash might go next, it's instructive to see how he views success:
"This was a rewarding year. This was a positive season. Obviously, I'm used to playing in the playoffs and that's important to me but we took it about as far as we could this year and you know, it's inevitable with the change and some of our flaws that we weren't going to have a good start.
We needed time and we struggled and the most important thing is the coaches stuck with us and never let us give up and found a way to make the pieces work to be greater than the sum of the parts. And here we are with a chance to get into the playoffs and here we are ending .500 which is pretty fitting. We hung in there.
There's reward to be had. It's not a championship, it's not the playoffs and so we're disappointed in that, but at the same time when you look at it we were greater than the sum of our parts with a lot of guys that sacrificed and fought and made this a pretty good year."
This isn't a guy who sees the world as black and white, ring or bust. For Nash, playing basketball has always been more than that. He's a team player and generates pleasure from having the team achieve goals and be more than the "sum of its parts".
Another thing to consider is Nash's affection and relationship with coach Alvin Gentry, "I think Alvin (Gentry) was unbelievable this year...I love playing for Alvin, I think he's a great coach."
We'll see what Steve decides, but it would be a mistake to assume that he'll see greener grass somewhere else just because the current lawn in the desert is wilting.
But if this Wednesday evening was the final act for Nash in Phoenix, it will be a memorable one thanks solely to the fans.
"To be honest, I really didn't get a chance to think about it. If this were to be my last game, it would be a night I'll remember and an important night for me," Nash said.