April 26, 2012
Where Nash lands nobody knows
By Frank Zicarelli, QMI AGENCY
And now that the end has arrived, the beginning of what will certainly be one of the most anticipated off-season decisions has officially been triggered.
For anyone to think they know what’s lurking inside Steve Nash’s head would be both foolish and delusional.
All that’s known about Nash is that he won’t engage in the self-indulgent nature that led to LeBron James’ Decision or the dithering that would characterize Dwight Howard’s Indecision.
By no means is Nash in the same talent pool as LBJ or Superman, but there’s no smarter player in the NBA, no better leader and no one better epitomizing the power of the mind over body.
Naturally, there are many pining to see Nash finish his career in Toronto, where an opportunity awaits to parlay a certain hall of fame playing career into something much bigger.
The Raptors have always been a possibility and the scenario will remain viable because of Nash’s ties to Canada and the amount of money Toronto can offer.
In time, Nash will have to decide whether he wants to complete a career by having a shot at that elusive championship, stay loyal by staying in Phoenix, where the Suns are clearly in a rebuild, or take the money and run to the best suitor.
For now, anything is possible.
“No clue,” Nash succinctly summed up when the inevitable question about his future was posed in the wake of Phoenix’s season-ending loss to San Antonio on Wednesday.
There was a time during the season when Nash spoke about taking his talents to South Beach, where the Heat can use a pick and roll guard to better take advantage of Chris Bosh’s perimeter presence.
It’s no secret that Nash has a fondness for New York, where one-time Suns teammate Amare Stoudemire basically parlayed his time with Nash into a $100-million contract.
A return to Dallas remains a possibility, but so much will depend on whether the Mavs can entice Deron Williams to the Big D.
A team that may intrigue Nash is the Lakers, where L.A.’s size in the frontcourt can easily compensate for Nash’s defensive deficiencies, where riding shotgun with Kobe Bryant will free up more looks on the perimeter.
All that’s known is that Nash will have options, the basketball clearly in his hands.
For those who didn’t stay up late to watch what could be Nash’s swan song in Phoenix, they missed a love-in that was as genuine as Nash himself.
“It was obviously amazing to get that type of reception and support,” Nash said. “It’s very special because it’s not something I asked for or imagined.
“To get that kind of reaction means it’s authentic, the relationship I thought we had. It really feels special. The fans have been phenomenal and it’s meant a lot to me to play in a city like this as long as I have and to feel important to the fans and community.
“I just feel like a very lucky guy.”
At 38, Nash is very much a guy in demand, a guy who takes care of a fragile body so meticulously there’s no reason to suggest he can’t play two, perhaps even three more years.
What’s equally clear is that the Suns need to make a big splash this off-season if they do intend on retaining Nash, which is a long shot.
Players, at least in the past, have viewed Phoenix as a destination city, but the franchise has lost its lustre and the club has now missed the post-season for two straight seasons for the first time since 1988.
“I think the team could use more playmakers,” Nash said in a mild understatement. “It depends on your strategy. You could go for bigs. You could go for a consistent 20-a-game scorer. Or you could go for a few more playmakers at different positions.
“The team and the club need to really analyze what their philosophy is moving forward and put a contingency plan together to build the best team. It’ll be an interesting period.”
And an interesting time as Nash contemplates his future and how he wants to end his basketball career.