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How much longer can this charade seriously last? The Phoenix Suns and Steve Nash have turned into basketball’s most depressing marriage. They have been together for far too long, they sleep in separate bedrooms, the kids (Amar’e) have left the nest- why are they still together? Well, because neither wants to be the one to end it. It’s a game of relationship chicken and those games never end well.
The Suns don’t want to trade away their biggest — and well, only — ticket-seller and Nash, being the noble Canadian gentleman he is, does not want to be the guy to demand a trade. Still, something has to give. Phoenix is still light-years away from contending and are on pace to let Nash play his last few quality years on a team destined for mid-level lottery purgatory. Doesn’t it make more sense to give Nash a final chance to chase that elusive ring, shed a few contracts and get a few quality young pieces in return, bottom out and start over with a high pick? Of course it does.
One quick note: Because ESPN’s trade machine is temporarily down, we were not able to link the trades like we did last time with the DeMarcus Cousins piece. Just know that we did our best to make sure all of the deals work salary-wise under the new CBA.
#5 Orlando trades Jameer Nelson, J.J. Redick & Daniel Orton for Steve Nash and Marcin Gortat:
Otis Smith wants to keep (his job &) Dwight Howard. While the Magic are undeniably talented, the team has not gelled since they let Hedo walk. Giving up Gortat a year later in the trade to reacquire Hedo only made matters worse, leaving the team uncomfortably thin at the 4 and 5. This trade would allow them to undo some of that damage by bringing back Gortat (even if it might be against his will) to serve as the overly competent backup to Howard. Bringing in Nash to distribute the ball would do wonders for the Magic’s offense, especially when you consider that Nash already has experience playing with two of the current Magic starters (Richardson and Turkoglu). A lineup of Nash-Richardson-Turkoglu-Anderson-Howard could very well be good enough for 3rd in the East, and more importantly could be good enough to knock out Chicago or Miami.
In Phoenix, Jameer Nelson obviously steps into Nash’s role as the starting point guard and in many ways would become (at least for now) the new face of the franchise, Orton has an astronomically high ceiling and could be stashed to develop for a few years, and Redick’s cap figure is so reasonable after signing a front-loaded deal last off season, even if the Suns don’t have a use for him he could easily be moved again for a more desirable asset down the line.
#4 Portland trades Gerald Wallace and Raymond Felton for Steve Nash and Hakim Warrick:
As we’ve covered before, Wallace could well be on the move soon, and anyone with a basketball-news-addiction knows that Portland has been seeking a top tier point guard for the better part of a decade. Yes, Ray Felton is an upgrade over Andre Miller, but Steve Nash is also a monster upgrade over Felton (at least offensively) and could very well push them into the “title contender” category.
Meanwhile Phoenix could easily sell the trade as a win to their fan base, bringing back both an all-star caliber forward (in his prime) in Gerald Wallace and a younger starting point guard to carry them into the future, plus there’s the positive karma of shipping Nash to a great basketball city with at least some chance of competing for a title before his curtain call.
#3 Phoenix sends Steve Nash to the Los Angeles Lakers; Josh Childress to the Houston Rockets
Los Angeles sends Pau Gasol to the Houston Rockets
Houston sends Kyle Lowry, Jordan Hill and Hasheem Thabeet to the Phoenix Suns; Luis Scola to the Los Angeles Lakers:
Hell yes I’m proposing a trade in which Houston sends out four players and only brings one back (editor’s note: unless you count Josh Childress as an NBA player). Daryl Morey is an asset acquiring MACHINE. If any GM has the balls to do it, Morey’s our man.
While the Rockets did sign Samuel Dalembert to fill the gaping (Yao-Ming-sized, in fact) hole at the center position, Morey’s man-crush on Pau seems pretty serious. If they were to again pursue a deal for him, having Dalembert would allow them to finally part ways with Luis (deserves a chance at a title considering how hard he hustles every god damned play) Scola.
The Lakers would do more than silence the Steve Blake/Derek Fisher critics by bringing in Steve Nash (37 years young) while also bringing back a competent starter in Scola (who quietly put up 18 and 9 per game last year) to replace Gasol.
Finally, Phoenix comes out on top as well, receiving a starting point guard to take into the future in addition to a pair of young bigs oozing with potential. (Hasheem Thabeet could one day develop into a homeless man’s Tyson Chandler, I’m 50% certain. As for Jordan Hill, I think he is a few years from being a competent role player. Meanwhile the Rockets are STARTING him…so there’s that too)
#2 Celtics trade Rajon Rondo and Jermaine O’Neal for Steve Nash and Channing Frye:
Who says no? WHO SAYS NO? Well, if they were looking long term, the Celtics probably should. But considering Danny Ainge keeps throwing Rondo’s name into trade discussions like an unhappy husband at a swinger’s club, Ainge is at the very, very least listening to this offer.
Obviously this is a great deal for Phoenix. They get a top-five point guard at an incredibly fair price (4 years/$46 million) to rebuild around and a second chance with the guy they originally drafted all those years ago. The Suns go forward with a young core (Rondo, 25; Robin Lopez, 23; Dudley, 26; and Morris, 22), get a high pick in a strong draft, and move forward with cap space. Put Rondo in an already appealing destination for free agents and who knows who Phoenix could grab this summer in free agency. Eric Gordon anyone?
The Celtics, realizing their window will only be open for another season or two at best, get a floor-spacing point guard, another big man they desperately need and the assurance that when their window slams shut, they’ll bottom out, not stay in mid-lottery purgatory with an unhappy Rondo. How much harder would it be for teams to defend a lineup of Nash-Allen-Pierce-KG-Frye, with Nash running pick and rolls? With that team, they would have the three-point shooting to keep up with more athletic teams like Miami and Chicago. If we learned one thing definitively last postseason it’s that this team cannot compete in the east as currently constructed. So why not go all-in with Nash?
#1 – Finally, the Steve Nash trade that sources want to discuss most…
Memphis sends Rudy Gay to the Cleveland Cavaliers, Mike Conley Jr. to the Phoenix Suns
Phoenix sends Steve Nash to the Memphis Grizzlies; Channing Frye to the Cleveland Cavaliers
Cleveland sends Anderson Varejao and Omri Casspi to the Memphis Grizzlies; Antwawn Jamison to the Phoenix Suns:
Go ahead…shoot it down, I dare you.
Why would Memphis blow it up? Because they know what this team can do without Rudy Gay when the bigs are unleashed, and who could more reliably feed Z-Bo and Marc Gasol on the block than Steve Nash? Going beyond the undeniable fact that Nash is an upgrade over Conley Jr., consider how important Varejao could be to this Grizzlies team. First Darrell Arthur went down with a season ending injury, now Randolph is likely to be out close to two months with an injury of his own. Yes they just completed a trade for Mareese Speights, but as broken down by Noam Schiller here, he’s still going to be Mareese Speights. Varejao could step in and play well in those minutes immediately, and would push them that much closer to contention.
Cleveland’s plan appears to be to play the youngsters at the expense of contending in games this season in the hopes of both developing those already on the roster and receiving another high pick in next year’s stacked draft. There is nothing wrong with this plan, however the chance to obtain a player of Rudy Gay’s magnitude for pennies on the dollar (and, lest we forget, Gay is only one year into a five year deal…) to pair with with Irving and Tristan Thompson for the next four years would be impossible to pass up.
As for the Suns, any deal that nets a starting-caliber, under-25 point guard and unloads at least one bad contract has to be considered. Here they could unload Frye’s awful deal (or Hakim Warrick’s for that matter), bring in a mostly competent point guard in the 24 year old Mike Conley Jr. and turn Nash’s two remaining yea rs into Antwawn Jamison’s expiring contract.
Everyone wins! (Except for Rudy Gay, sorry about that man.)
- By Michael Levkowitz and Thomas Johnson