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Has Phoenix Seen The Last Of Steve Nash?

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Steve Nash.
Everyone States That Steve Nash Will Not Be Traded, But If Next Season Is Cancelled, He Might Be A Free Agent

By Bob Goodwood
Special for Modern Times Magazine .com

July 6, 2011 — So the owners of the NBA franchises and the players have failed to reach an agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement. The lockout is in place and no one seems to be in a hurry to blink. Prospects for a deal anytime soon appears highly remote.

But for fans of the Phoenix Suns, an extended lockout that culminates in the cancellation of the 2011-2012 season just might mean Steve Nash has played his last game as a member of the Phoenix Suns.

His contract is set to expire at the end of the next year. Under the terms of the previous collective bargaining agreement, when Nash signed a contract extension in 2009, the maximum deal was for two-year and $20 million.

The team, in fact, signed him for $22 million.

No one knows what the rules will be if and when league business restarts after a cancelled season. So with his contract expiring, it leaves a gaping hole in the potential 2013 game plan.

Could it be the end of Steve Nash’s reign in Phoenix? Perhaps. Nash might be near his 38th birthday by the time all of this works itself out. He could find that walking away from the Phoenix Suns might be a lot easier after he is dumped on the free agent market and hasn’t been in U.S. Airways Center for 12 months.

Although the possibility is remote, he could find that making movies, playing soccer and having fun is enough in the future and walk away from basketball altogether. More likely might be that he switches teams, buoyed by seeing best buddy Dirk Nowitzki grab the NBA title last year.

The New York Knicks remain the prime destination for Captain Canada since it is one of the only teams with a chance at the title that need a point guard. But Portland might look to Nash as an upgrade to Andre Miller's game.

The other teams with a chance really can’t use him even though he has only lost a little from the MVP years. Oklahoma City has Russell Westbrook. Boston has Rajon Rondo. Chicago has Derrick Rose. Dallas has Jason Kidd. The Los Angeles Lakers have Kobe Bryant, and the Miami Heat have Chris Bosh, Dwayne Wade and LeBron James. None of them need Steve Nash, nor would he be used up to his potential on any of those top tier teams.

So far this off-season, the Suns have not done much to make nearly anyone believe that they might be able to move into title contention once again. The team as assembled right now might be lucky to make the playoffs.

Anything might be able to change between then and now but young, good players do not fall from trees and unless Markieff Morris or Gani Lawal can provide quality power forward minutes, young, fresh talent is not coming to help.

But if the Suns take a year off due to the lockout then lose Nash, the future might look disastrous. Grant Hill would likely be gone, too, and would leave the roster with Marcin Gortat, Channing Frye, Jared Dudley, Robin Lopez, Markieff Morris, Gani Lawal, Hakim Warrick, Aaron Brooks and Josh Childress.

Please, NBA players and owners, get an agreement done. If the season is wasted, give some protection to teams in a position that the Suns find themselves.

Nash at least should be able to take a victory lap while a member of the Suns. Even if he doesn’t deserve it — his millions exempt him from that — his fans do.

Bob Goodwood is a freelance writer currently living in Scottsdale, Ariz.
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