It's (Still) Dumb To
Trade Steve Nash
Despite Ranting Critics And The Dreams Of Other NBA Franchises, Trading Captain Canada Remains A Bad Move For The Phoenix Suns
Steve Nash just might be the best player to have ever put on a Phoenix Suns uniform. Image by Keith Alison and used under the terms of a Creative Commons license.
By Bob Goodwood
Modern Times Magazine
Feb. 8, 2012 — For nearly three years now, the chorus of voices calling for the trade of Steve Nash from the Phoenix Suns has been growing louder.
Ever since he came back to the Suns, those calling for a trade of the diminutive guard from Canada were teams that wanted him playing for their squad. But when the Phoenix Suns missed the playoffs last season and began what many called a march into a bleak future, even loyal fans began to jump on the ‘trade Nash’ bandwagon.
The rationale from fans of the franchise — the most vociferous of which are local critics and commentators — as to why the team should trade its all-time assists leader and current best player is because the team needs to get something for him before he leaves as a free agent or retires. The assumption is this team will never win anything without a complete overhaul so why not get started now.
With all due respect to those who have called for him to be traded, it would be a monumentally stupid move. The reasons are many, yet some just can’t help but throw away an icon that can still play.
Steve Nash is no ordinary player. He has won two Most Valuable Player Awards and might just be the best 38-year-old (er, 39 yesterday) that ever laced them up. He is averaging 15 points and 10 assists in about 31 minutes per game. It is a regular habit amongst his fans to compare him to John Stockton, who played at a high level for the Utah Jazz until he was 42, but Nash’s numbers are better at 39. Stockton averaged about 11 points per game and almost nine assists at the same age.
The guy can still play and at a high level. He put the squad on his back and made made some crazy circus shots en-route to a third straight win at Milwaukee Tuesday night.
But Nash’s longevity might soon get him into the company of some of the all-time legends of sports: George Blanda, Gordie Howe and George Foreman. Each of these men competed at the highest levels of professional sports when most of the people they broke in with had long since retired — Howe into his 50s, Foreman and Blanda into their late 40s.
So who could the Suns’ front office trade such a paragon of longevity for? The only team that might remotely make sense is still the New York Knicks. But the Knicks have absolutely no one that they want to give up that the Suns want. Iman Shumpert for Steve Nash and a draft pick? Robert Sarver, Lon Babby and Lance Blanks would have to escape town dressed as cheerleaders for a deal that bad.
All of this assumes that Nash even wants out of Phoenix. He has good buddies Grant Hill and Jared Dudley on the squad. The medical staff knows what is good for him. Winning would be great, but the Knicks are the only team that wants him that has a chance at winning the championship — and that chance is remote. Miami doesn’t need him, neither does Los Angeles (both the Clippers and Lakers). Boston doesn’t need him either.
A real dark horse contender could be Oklahoma City in a deal for Westbrook, but that just as much of a risk for the Thunder. They would be messing with something that is working and giving themselves a window of a few years instead of a potential dynasty.
Besides, the Suns are finally beginning to find out what they have and the future is not as bleak as some might think. Sure, there is no heir apparent to Nash, but assume for a moment that he can play at the same level for at least three more years.
And let’s also assume that since Michael Redd is starting to show flashes of being the player that made the Olympic Team and averaged more than 20 points a game, he should have at least three years left to provide another level of offense to add to the pick and roll of Nash and Marcin Gortat.
Rookie Markieff Morris reminds of a young Buck Williams and is looking like he will have a serviceable and highly productive career. Robin Lopez, Sebastian Telfair, Grant Hill Josh Childress and Jared Dudley are also giving Alvin Gentry some good combinations.
Even Channing Frye is starting to resemble the player he was at the end of last season, finding his shot at times, and at others, doing the little things like grabbing a rebound or playing some defense.
Assuming all of those things, this is not a bad team and might have some serviceable parts that have the potential to continue to improve (Morris), and with the addition of another piece or two, might be able to make some noise this year and especially next year.
After all, for all of the doom and gloom, the Suns now sit a mere three games from the fifth seed in the playoffs and four games from a first-round home series.
Trading him would be not just stupid, it would be monumentally stupid.
Those who talk of trading Nash should remember the old saying, “If the shoe fits...”
Bob Goodwood lives in Scottsdale, Ariz.
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