Steve Nash, scoping out Whoville (Getty Images)
Steve Nash and the New York Knicks might be after each other this summer, when Nash becomes a free agent. And they'll probably agree to a deal with each other. I might as well write the post about it right now.
You know how you have that one friend that just seems destined for things? Not great things, but … "things?" That they'll follow up a long weekend full of too much fun with a breathless account of what an acai berry-based detox is doing for them, or that of course they're going to try a stand-up spot at an open mic night, and can't you just see some sort of born-again religious conversion in their future as they move from extreme to extreme? So obvious, so over the top? That's Nash and the Knicks. They need a point guard, he lives in New York. It has to happen.
The fact that this offense-first Knick outfit employs both Mike D'Antoni and Amar'e Stoudemire, two principle factors in Nash's two MVP seasons in 2005 and 2006, just greases the wheels. Marc Berman of the New York Post has the speculation for you:
Nash, who ran D'Antoni's system to perfection, was averaging an NBA-high 10.1 assists before last night's 118-97 loss to the Bulls, even though he will turn 38 next month. That's why The Post has reported the Knicks plan to target Nash (along with Jameer Nelson and Raymond Felton) with this summer's $5 million mid-level exception.
Obstacles? There are some. None of them should stop anything, though.
For one, Nash has refused to demand a trade away from a 4-9 Suns team that clearly needs to rebuild and doesn't need a point guard who will be turning 38 in February running their show. There is the possibility that he re-signs with the Suns just to be that swell guy, again, but that seems a bit much even for him. Nash, recently divorced, lives in Manhattan during the offseason and long ago earned enough goodwill from both Suns and NBA fans to chase that ring.
The money? Even by NBA standards, each of Nash's last three contracts were met with a "that much?" response even from those that respect his game to no end. Even when he was regarded as an up-and-comer, the Dallas Mavericks surprised some by offering Nash a six-year, $33-million back in 1999. The six-year deal he signed with Phoenix in 2004 was too rich even for Mark Cuban's sense of flexibility, and his $22-million extension signed in 2009 was pretty hefty for a guy in his late 30s. Working for the MLE? Should be no problem.
Then there's the status of Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni. The sideline stalker and Nash worked well in Phoenix, but teaming the two up again doesn't exactly have to be a packaged deal. D'Antoni has had an uneasy run in New York since taking the team over in 2008, New York started the season 6-7, his contract runs out following this season, and he'll be sitting on the hottest seat in the NBA until then. New York could hang on to him as a way to entice Nash, or they could dump D'Antoni as a way to encourage Nash. It's cold, but New York will do its homework and go from there.
Can Nash flourish in an offense that isn't sparked by D'Antoni's "seven seconds or less" ideals? Well, the point guard has the ball, and he makes the decisions even if the coach wants to slow things down. And Nash is having a fantastic year (with a 22.7 Player Efficiency Rating, All-Star level) while working with Phoenix's offense this season, a team that is a mere 18th in possessions per game. Steve Nash will never die.
Then there's Amar'e. Nash won the MVP in 2005 with a healthy (he had been injured the season before) Stoudemire scoring at will off of Steve's feeds, and he strangely won the MVP the next season mainly because the Suns treaded water with Stoudemire injured for most of the season. "Rescuing" Stoudemire (who is shooting just under 42 percent and averaging only 17.9 points per game) again seems to fit inside that too-easy NBA storyline.
It's too easy. Sixty or even 50 wins are certain to follow (the top-heavy Knicks are already over the cap for 2012-13 with just nine players set to stick to the roster), but it would make for some fantastic fodder. That's what the Knicks are for, you know.
Just put your nose to the narrative, Steve.
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