In this entry we will look at the Free Agency of Kid Canada aka Steve Nash
July 1, 2012 Steve Nash becomes a Free Agent...At 38 Nash has seen declining #'s the past 2 Seasons, but this is still a guy averaging double-digit Assists per Game, and shoots at a very high percentage (Fantastic shooter...Foul shots are cash money too)...Nash is still so effective that he has been an All-Star 2 of the last 3 Seasons...This year only Rajon Rondo averaged more than Nash's 10.7 Assists per Game...Nash has been a once-in-a-lifetime Canadian athlete, and at 38 we see he still has extreme skill to bring to the table...What we all love about Steve Nash is he also has extreme Leadership to bring to the table
Clearly Steve still has legit NBA game, and I feel (as do most) that he would be a welcome addition to a legit Title Contender...Recent word is that Nash is looking at the Raps, the Blazers, or remain with the Suns to finish off his Hall Of Fame career...Let's take a look at those 3, plus a few other that will likely be in the mix
NY Knicks...Easy to start here as this destination will surely get a ton of Press re Nash being re-united with Amar'e...Knicks fans and Knicks Media are sure to be clamoring for Nash...The idea of Lin getting the majority of the PG mins is not a bad one, but having Kid Canada run their show would likely be the thing to get Amar'e back to being Amar'e...Nash breaking down D's and getting easy looks for Melo/Amar'e, and Chandler at the rim, + breaking down D's to find the open shooters (hey there JR Smith...Anyone see how cash money Steve Novak is from Downtown?!?!) sounds pretty sweet for the Knicks Organization
Issue for the Knickerbockers is $$$...Recent ruling went in their favor and gave NY the Bird Rights to Jeremy Lin and Steve Novak (meaning they can re-sign those gents for $ that takes them over the Salary Cap without taking a penalty for going over the Cap)...That leaves the Knicks with their $5 million Mid-Level Exception which they could use for Nash...Would less than half of his 2012 Salary be enough to get Nash to the Big Apple?!?! I would think not...Especially when other suitors will have at least that amount to spend on Nash, and may be more attractive from a Champ-Contender standpoint, and/or a Family standpoint
Dallas Mavericks...This one writes itself...Re-unite with Cuban...Re-unite with Disco Dirk...Nash/Nowitzki re-kindling their Pick-&-Roll would be devastating for opponents...Championship windows for Dirk and Nash both starting to close so the BFF's would love to re-unite for a Title run...Even long-term the Mavs would have Dirk and Nash's contracts coming off the books at the same time and be able to once again re-load (as apposed to re-build)...Dirk desperately wants another Superstar, and now, but I would think that target would be Deron Williams...Looks like D-Will is looking at Brooklyn or Dallas as his home for the next several years (Williams certainly has a history in Texas)...Nash to Dallas is VERY interesting
LA Lakers...Not long ago David Stern nixed a trade that would have provided Kobe Bryant his PG that he desperately needs to help shoulder the load in Los Angeles...CP3 still landed in LA of course, and the rest is history...For my money, this LA team is the perfect fit for Nash...When I say that I mean from a Champ Contender standpoint...Lakers will have a $3 and $9 mill Exception which could be enough to lure Nash...Despite many peeps calling for the Lakers to trade a big-man it really looks like the 2012-2013 Season will begin with both Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum in Lakers purple...The strategy will be to move Pau closer to the basket to where he is more comfortable to operate in the flow of the O...The way Nash attacks and penetrates D's will mean less wear-and-tear mentally and physically for Kobe as much of the reigns/responsibilities will be in Nash's hands, and KB would surely trust that scenario...Ramon Sessions is likely done in LA and Nash would be a perfect fit...What I love is the Leadership aspect of both Kobe and Nash on the same roster...I would say the level of everyone's play would be elevated by the Good Cop/Bad Cop that Nash and Kobe would have...Both are driven to do whatever it takes to win, both do it differently, and both would be an amazing duo
Remember, I only said Lakers from a B-Ball standpoint...Not sure a former Suns player will think he is welcome in LA (Kobe hates the Suns!)
Portland...The Trail Blazers are reportedly on Nash's short-list of destinations...Geographically it would be close to Vancouver where Nash owns a piece of the MLS Soccer team there...Nash has shown a zillion times he can be magic when paired with a talented big-man, and LaMarcus Aldridge certainly fits the bill...Word is Nash and Aldridge became chummy at this years All-Star Game...Blazers have a great home crowd, and just endured a Raymond Felton season so they would have a new hero in Nash...Portland definitely has the Cap dollars available to put together a very legit contract (Portland likely has the most $ to offer amongst any legit Nash-suitors)
Phoenix...Shortest blurb...I do not see how Phoenix is legit here at all...They have to be mentioned because of the fact that Nash is such a class act that he will have the Suns as a legit option simply because of professionalism/loyalty...Suns have gone 2 straight years without making the Playoffs (73-75 record) and simply put Nash has numerous options that are better Family options, and Champ Contender options
How about YOUR TORONTO RAPTORS? Kid Canada is now a big-wig for Team Canada Basketball, and word is he would legitimately consider the Raptors as his final NBA team...Obviously Raps fans would love that...Adding a reputation like Nash brings instant credibility to a Franchise that has been on the steady decline for years...How quickly would we have our Raptors jersey's with Nash, # 13?!?!
The positive implications to the Raps roster are obvious, now lets take a look at the Financials...
Scenario #1 is a sign-and-trade which would have to be Jose Calderon (minimum) for Steve Nash...That would likely mean the Raps do not have to lose any Cap Holds (that is where you want to re-sign one of your team's own Free Agents...You must give that player a raise...That Salary is a "Cap Hold"...You subtract that Cap Hold from your impending Salary Cap Space...Must eventually sign that player, or Renounce his Rights)...This would mean the Raps could retain Jerryd Bayless, and do the Calderon/Nash sign-&-trade...Do we see this as likely? I don't (Great for the Raps, but I cannot see any immediate benefit to Suns)
What about Salary Cap space to add Nash without sign-and-trade? Currently the Raps have in the $6 mill area to spend (potentially on Nash)...If the Raps were to Waive their Cap Hold on Jerryd Bayless (a move some of us would applaud) then that would leave the Cap Space at around $13 mill to spend...Now we are getting somewhere...Nash clearly would get the majority of minutes, so Jose Calderon and his $10+ mill Salary need to go...Raps can trade Jose, or perhaps use their Amnesty Clause (Amnesty Calderon would give the Raps an additional $10+ mill to spend)
(Amnesty Clause was a big part of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement...Teams can Waive any player - just 1 per Franchise, and that player had to have been signed prior to last season - up to the 2015 Season without having that player's Salary hit their Salary Cap, or be included in any Luxury Tax penalties...At that point all NBA teams that are below the Cap at that time can bid on the player...Highest bid wins, and the former team is on the hook for the rest of that Salary...Example Raps Amnesty Calderon - $0 of Jose's $10+ mill goes against Raps Cap anymore...Lakers win bid at $6 mill...Raps pay the remaining $4+ mill to Jose, so Jose still gets his $10+ mill)
As we can see getting Kid Canada to star for YOUR TORONTO RAPTORS is a do-able scenario...Does that address Nash's desire to play for a legit Contender? Likely not (but we can dream, can't we?!?!)
Surely teams like the Heat and Bulls will want in on Nash too, but they will have extremely little money to offer (all of the above listed teams are the likely destinations IMO)
What team makes sense to you? What uniform do you want Kid Canada to finish his Hall Of Fame career in?