04 July 2012

Where will Steve Nash sign? UPDATE

UPDATE: In a stunning turn of events, Nash is headed to the Lakers in a sign-and-trade that is sending four draft picks and cash to Phoenix.

Now that Deron Williams has decided to spurn his hometown Dallas Mavericks and re-sign with the Nets to be a centerpiece of their move to Brooklyn, along with recently acquired Joe Johnson, the most coveted free agent right now on the marketplace might be Steve Nash. But where will the 38-year-old Canadian land? Let us ponder.

One cannot get a clear sense of whether Nash is chasing the money, or chasing a title. Of course you would think he would want to play for a contender but he does seem to want the paper as well, as he appeared to state in a recent interview with ESPN Radio:
"I definitely feel I want to be validated monetarily to an extent. It's still very important. I think money in many ways represents respect...It's not everything but it is important and will be one of the factors involved."
One of the teams that are chasing the future Hall of Famer, I think the Knicks and the Lakers are at a disadvantage. The Knicks are hurt because the Raptors just overpaid one of the Knicks' two possibly trade chips in a sign-and-trade, Landry Fields, which means that if the Knicks match the Raptors' offer sheet for Fields, they cannot move him in a trade. Now if the Knicks are going to make a move for Steve Nash, now they have to give up Iman Shumpert, which they are not keen on doing, but he is their last usable trade chip. I think the Knicks in the meantime will re-sign Jeremy Lin with his Early Bird Rights and also bring in Jason Kidd as a mentor/quality backup.

The Lakers are looking to make a strong push for Nash but that would also require a sign-and-trade in all likelihood, something that their division rivals down in Phoenix may not be thrilled about doing. Plus, Nash has also said that it "would be hard to put on a Lakers jersey" and compared it to Larry Bird wearing a Lakers jersey. But could it be a smokescreen.

That leaves, in my opinion, the two clear frontrunners for Nash's services as the aforementioned Toronto and his former club, the Dallas Mavericks. Toronto probably definitely made the Fields offer to cut the Knicks off at the knees, especially considering after Fields is coming off a terrible season and is not worth $20 million over three years. Toronto has been really aggressive in their pursuit of Nash and their three year, $36 million offer makes them the favorite. While they would not be a title club by any stretch, the Raptors would look like a playoff team as well as become the darlings of Canada with their frontman being a native Canadian.

But one cannot count out the Mavs. Yes, Mark Cuban did let Nash go in what was a clear mistake and he then gave big money right afterwards to Erick Dampier. But Dallas went in the wrong direction last season after Cuban took a risk on being able to bring in Deron Williams by letting Tyson Chandler hit the market. They need a point guard and while Nash would not necessarily put them right back in the elite of  the Western mix, his still great offensive skills, matched with the still great skills of Dirk Nowitzki, could be enough for a couple more runs at the Larry O'Brien Trophy, something the Raptors will not be able to match.

And who really knows, maybe the Knicks would be willing to trade Shumpert, maybe the Lakers can broker a deal, or maybe someone else could come out of nowhere and get in the mix (Houston, perhaps?). If you had to put a gun to my head, I would guess that Nash would take the money and return home north of the border but I also do not feel very confidant about it either.

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