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Jeremy Lin, Steve Nash And

The Phoenix Suns

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Jeremy Lin is no longer a forgotten man in the NBA. Image by nikk_la and used under the terms of a Creative Commons License.
Thanks To The Emergence Of 'Lin-derella' in New York, The Future Of The Valley's NBA Franchise Might Have Become Clearer


By Bob Goodwood
Modern Times Magazine

Feb. 20, 2012 — Lin-derella has hit New York and the NBA fairy tale has seemingly changed the complexion of professional basketball overnight.

These things just DON'T HAPPEN according to  all of the experts. Well, apparently there is a little magic left in the world — or most of the basketball world doubted him for all the wrong reasons for nearly 6 years.

Regardless of the reason — whether it be thanks to a 'fairy godmother' or cultural/racial bias — Lin has shown over his first nine starts that he was a hidden gem that has the skills to be as good as anyone else in the league at point-guard.

In the wake of Linsanity, fans and the media that cover the storied New York Knicks have fallen head-over-heels in love with Jeremy Lin, and for good reason. In his first five starts, he broke an NBA for points and has turned around the attitude in the Big Apple.

Everyone knows his team went on an 8-1 run over his first nine starts, but that run only got the Knicks back in the hunt. They are currently the eight seed, trailing four seed Orlando by four games. The climb might be uphill, but Lin's emergence has set the franchise on the upswing and barring a major injury, a playoff run is virtually inevitable. Lin's story has become so pervasive he has won the psychological battle before even stepping into the arena. Everyone is in awe of the guy and while some might make it a point of pride to try to stop "Lin-derella," the future looks really bright for the franchise, Lin and Mike D'Antoni, who was on the hot seat before Lin's emergence.

In the meantime, across the country, in the desert Southwest, there has been a dramatic dip in activity within the rumor mill regarding the Phoenix Suns' "inevitable" trade of Steve Nash. This is definitely not a coincidence. Before Lin's emergence, the only thing missing from Mike D'Antoni's 'point-guard offense' was a point-guard. Baron Davis was believed to be the piece the Carmelo Anthony/Amare Stoudemire Knicks needed to get over the top. But as Davis struggled with injuries, the New York media began to accelerate the calls for a Nash trade, even if it was unlikely.

Now, though, New York just wants to know how they can keep Lin and as a byproduct might have just cemented a new contract for Steve Nash in Phoenix.

Late last week, fans and experts alike stopped long enough to pull their jaws up from the floor and wonder, "this guy was about to get released before this run. Will we have him back next year? How can we lock him up?" Larry Coon of ESPN, a famous NBA collective bargaining agreement expert, has gone on the record as saying the New York Knicks maintain complete control and will be able to offer him a maximum of $5 million — which is also the maximum any other team could offer him as well thanks to the "Gilbert Arenas Rule."

It's a simple a matter of cause and effect.

The Knicks are no longer in need of a point-guard, thereby taking them out of contention for Steve Nash when his contract expires at the end of the season. And, with the Knicks out of the running, the only other option that might make sense in the 2012-2013 season is Nash reuniting with Dirk Nowitzki in Dallas. If Jason Kidd retires — which is also unlikely.

There is now no other team in the league that needs and wants Nash like the Suns. And, with the Knicks now off the radar, there is no other team with which he would rather play. The Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls don't need him. Neither do the Oklahoma City Thunder or either of the Los Angeles teams. Why would Nash bolt to the Portland Trailblazers, for example, when he is wanted by the team that drafted him, in the city where he is beloved for winning two MVP awards?

He wouldn't.

Sure, anything can happen. Lin might still decide to leave New York, putting more pressure on the franchise to make a big offer to Nash. That is highly unlikely because it would be public relations idiocy for the Knickerbockers. Neither is probable.

Nash could retire or go somewhere else.

But the only place that seemed to make any sense for Nash — New York — has disappeared.

Thanks to Lin-derella and some fairy tale magic, the clouds are clearing from the crystal ball, revealing Steve Nash in a Phoenix Suns uniform in his 40s.

It seems like the Suns and Knicks are both lucky that the glass slipper fit Lin-derella.

Bob Goodwood lives in Scottsdale, Ariz.
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