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Free Agency is Rapidly Approaching for Steve Nash
If you look at the names of the four best free agents in 2012, it's obvious why Nash might be the least mentioned: age.
Nash is 38-years-old and has been in the NBA for 16 seasons. Usually, when a player gets to this point in their career, it is time to hang up the sneakers and move on to domestication with their families.This is where Nash differs from most.
The Phoenix Suns' point guard isn't ready to give it up as he's still playing phenomenal basketball. He might be one of the oldest one guards in the league, but he also remains one of the best. I bet if I asked 100 NBA fans who are the top 10 players at this position, Nash would be on at least 85% of the lists.
If 100 fans filled out a questionnaire asking who the top five point guards in the league are, Nash would find himself on at least 55% of the surveys.
Nash is averaging a double-double for the season with 13.8 points and a league leading 10.9 assists per game. He isn't at the 40 (three-point shooting percentage), 50 (field-goal percentage), 90 (free throw percentage) mark he has done a league record four times, but he is relatively close with 40.9%, 53.8% and 86.8%.
His productive numbers this season led him to be the third oldest NBA player to ever play in an All-Star game. Only Michael Jordan and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar were older than Nash when they played in the festive exhibition game.
I'm not going to bring up what he's done in the past because the man is putting up numbers and playing the game this season in a way that should make most NBA teams want to sign him in the summer.
I know Nash has stated that he wants to stay in Phoenix. At the same time, I think he would like to test the market because he has no chance of winning a championship with the Suns anytime soon. He may be playing at a high level now, but Father Time will eventually kick in. In my opinion, the Suns will not have a contending team by the time Nash turns 40.
In a Hoops World video, Nash said he is concentrating on making the fans and organization happy with his time in Phoenix and making the Suns a winner. He then went on to say he understands why players would want to group together and only sign with teams that have a legitimate chance of winning championships.
I'm not trying to put words into Nash's mouth, but he did seem like he was giving a scripted answer to the question and has thought about moving on to a team such as the Miami Heat or the New York Knicks.
Let's face it, why wouldn't Nash want to go to a team with championship considerations? The man has made the Suns and the Dallas Mavericks (1998-2004) respectable but they didn't win what all players come to the league to win: the Larry O'Brien Trophy.
Would a player rather play with the Suns' Channing Frye, Marcin Gortat and Jared Dudley or the Heat's LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade? Frye, Gortat and Dudley or the Knicks' Amar'e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony and for lack of a third superstar, Jeremy Lin?
Nash has loyalty to the Suns organization, but they didn't show loyalty to him when they traded him for Jason Kidd after his second season in the league (1997-98). It was early on in his career before he became a superstar and a two-time NBA MVP but they still thought their franchise would be in better hands with Kidd at the helm, not Nash.
He has shown Phoenix the level of loyalty it deserves as he signed an extension to give the team his services for a couple more years. Now, it is time to move on.
If the Knicks or the Heat seem like to easy of a fit for Nash, there are other teams that could win a championship in a more challenging way. The Indiana Pacers' Danny Granger, Roy Hibbert and David West are a great nucleus to an up and coming team but would automatically be put at the top of the Eastern Conference alongside the Heat and the Chicago Bulls with Nash as the floor general instead of Darren Collison.
Eric Gordon and Chris Kaman, if either of them stay with the Hornets, would meet Nash at the New Orleans airport with a thank you gift and a hearty hug and handshake. Even the Utah Jazz with Paul Millsap, Al Jefferson and Nash could potentially be a championship contender more so than the Suns.
If I was Nash, which I'd love to be even if he is almost 40, I'd leave the Suns' roster.
I'd rather be called a sellout or a title chaser in one city than having the entire world adding me to the list of great players who couldn't or didn't win a championship.
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