A Substitute for War

Basketball philosophy

Examining Steve Nash trade possibilities and the oversaturated PG market

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The Phoenix Suns need to trade Steve Nash this summer. At age 37 he has about one more year at this level and is an unrestricted free agent after the 11-12 season. Thus his is the last chance for the Suns to get value in return for their star. Virtually the only reason to keep him is ticket sales, which may be why Robert Sarver keeps him. But the Suns desperately need to take this oppurtunity to add young trade assets and start rebuilding. The longer they wait, the bigger the hole they create to climb out of.

Unfortunately for Phoenix, this is the worst possible trade market for Nash. With his age only teams looking to win a title now will be interested. But contenders like Boston, San Antonio, Oklahoma City, Chicago have PGs in place like Rajon Rondo, Tony Parker, Russell Westbrook, and Derrick Rose and won’t be interested. The win now teams where Nash fills a need like Dallas, Miami, the LA Lakers and Orlando have minimal trade assets. The lack of buyers for a PG Nash’s age and the lack of quality offers available on good teams diminishes Nash’s likely return. We are in the PG era.

Every succesful team relies on one and there is an oversaturation of PGs who play reasonably well. This applies to the Nash situation as well as other teams’. Word is the Toronto Raptors tried to trade both Hedo Turkoglu and Jose Calderon‘s contracts last summer and could only deal Turkoglu’s, despite Hedo being older, more expensive, worse by all statistical measurements and an out of shape motiviational problem. The dearth of starting SFs compared to starting PGs in the league likely led to this. Because of an oversaturation of PGs and undersaturation of SFs, Turkoglu is a mid level starter and Calderon is a backup or bottom of the league starter. Thus Turkoglu has more value and managed to be dealt twice in a year for surprising value. Another example is the LA Clippers using a lottery pick to shave Baron Davis‘ contract. Baron produces the same and has the out of shape issues Turkoglu does, but returned less. This is because of the decreased value of PGs compared to SFs in the league. Both Baron and Turkoglu are average players, but there are more PGs better than Baron than SFs better than Turkoglu.

Back to Nash. The ideal return for a team in Phoenix’s position is a top 10 pick in this draft, like Seattle got for Ray Allen. But I believe circumstance will prevent such a return.

Here are the trade offers I estimate, in rough order of likelihood:

Dallas offers: Rodrigue Beaubois, Jason Kidd’s expiring contract, 2011 1st, 2013 1st for Steve Nash, Josh Childress

Dallas seems like the best fit for Nash. He has history there, plus he and Dirk are in a similar position in their careers looking to get a ring before they fall off. It would feel right. Phoenix receives a talented young PG, two 1sts and dumps their worst contract. That’s about right for Nash’s value. Bringing back Kidd could also relieve some of the ticket sales lost by a Nash trade.

Orlando offers: Jameer Nelson, 2012 1st for Steve Nash

This would leave Orlando with an unbelievably youth-less roster after 2012 which makes keeping Dwight unlikely – But on the other hand, Dwight could tell the Magic to make this trade with his free agency leverage.

Portland offers: Nic Batum, Rudy Fernandez, Greg Oden (via sign and trade), Andre Miller‘s expiring contract for Steve Nash, Josh Childress

Phoenix is an ideal team to take a chance on Oden, both with their lack of talent and their freaky succesful medical staff. My bigger question is whether Portland is interested in this deal and pushing in with a trio of Nash, Aldridge on the pick and roll and Gerald Wallace in a Marion role. Pushing in two 1sts for Wallace would indicate perhaps they are.

New York offers: Landry Fields, 2011 1st, Chauncey Billups’ expiring contract for Steve Nash, Josh Childress

New York offers all they can, which is not much. I believe the Knicks with Nash would still have the same weaknesses the present team does (lack of size and depth), but it looks like their plan since the start has been to find a way to add a 3rd star and this would be it, at least temporarily. They are one team where Childress could be useful, too.

Houston offers: Some combination of Jordan Hill, Patrick Patterson, Hou 2012 1st, Phx future 1st, NY 2012 1st and Hasheem Thabeet‘s expiring contract for Steve Nash

Houston is an interesting destination because they have a lot of expendable trade assets. Yet Morey would have to believe in a Nash, Martin, Scola trio as a contender to give up the assets to make this deal. Perhaps he’d be more interested if he could make another trade for an all-star.

If I had to guess, I’d say the most likely scenario is Nash playing in Phoenix next season. But I have a feeling Dallas will emerge as the Nash frontrunner if he is shopped. We would all like to see Dirk and Nash together again making one more run.

2 Responses

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  1. Very good points made here about the need to trade Steve Nash. It’s going to difficult to trade Nash in the off-season to a contenting team for a draft pick with this 2011 draft class projected to be extremely weak and none of those teams will have lottery picks.

    He also has said that he’d like to stay in Phoenix, who knows why.

    Hopefully for his sake and the long term success of the Suns, Nash is traded to a contending team where he’ll have a legitimate shot at getting his first ring.


    April 9, 2011 at 1:09 am

  2. The Portland trade is unlikely as management is high on Batum. What they’d rather ditch is Brandon Roy’s horrible contract, but no one will touch it. One additional scenario – the Thunder slide Westbrooke to the 2 in favour of a pass-first PG in Nash. Nash runs the pick and roll with Ibaka like he does with Gortat, but now he’s finding Durant slashing and Westbrooke on the wing. This makes the Thunder a top 5 team, imo.


    April 10, 2011 at 11:05 am

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