A Closer Look at the Implications of Nash Signing with the Raptors

Wouldn’t be an off-season for the Raptors without informed speculation about Steve Nash

Sam Smith, from Bulls.com, made an interesting statement that has a raised a few eyebrows, and blew up my phone with a million text messages:

Many believe Nash instead of chasing a title with a contender for a lesser salary will go back to Canada and the Raptors for a three-year deal and help bring their young players along

Smith calls this ‘informed speculation’ (listen to Joseph Casciaro’s solid interview with Sam Smith), and at first glance, there are couple things at play that could make this a reality:

  • Nash recently took the reigns of Canada Basketball, so being based out of Toronto seems to be a no-brainer for someone running a program that is based out of Toronto (I assume it’s based here).
  • He would be treated like a god while leading and mentoring a young Raptor’s team. This would also bleed into his Canada Basketball duties as the kids on the squad would benefit from an up-close-and-personal look at him in action.
  • He has demonstrated time-and-again that loyalty is more important than winning a championship; he could have easily asked to be shipped out of Phoenix the last couple years to a championship calibre team, but he didn’t, and has towed the company line for the Suns. I’m sure he would kill for a championship, but it seems he values other ‘things’ above getting one – gotta love principals.
This move does raise a few questions, though, namely:
  1. What happens to Calderon? To get a Steve Nash to come to Toronto, you’re looking at a 3yr/$30m type deal, which would commit more than a third of the Raptors payroll to two aging point guards on a rebuilding team. I’m not arguing either of their value to a rebuilding team, just the actual investment being made especially considering Bayless is more than serviceable as a backup.
  2. Does Calderon or Kleiza get amnestied? Before you rip my head off, amnestying Calderon would be retarded (Colagelo’s phone would be ringing off the hook if Nash came to town). Kleiza on the other hand, could be a candidate. Yes, it would be nice to have him here to help Jonas acclimate, but at just under $5m/year, that money could be better spent on an Ersan Ilayasova or something (sign me up for that btw).
  3. Would the Raptors draft a point guard this year? That would be the second domino (the 3rd being Calderon gets traded). Nash would obviously be the starter, but I don’t see him playing more than 30-32 minutes a game. Bayless has shown growth this season, but I’m not sold on him being a starter; even if he is, the Raptors need a third pg who can be groomed to start or come off the bench once succession falls into place.

My $0.02? I make this move in a second. Nash is an upgrade to Calderon in all facets of the game; even considering his age (31.6min 12.5pts 10.7ast 3.0rebs 20.29per vs 33.9min 10.5pts 8.8ast 3.0rebs 16.73per). You could get good value for Calderon, while maintaining a high calibre of play at the point by bringing him in.

I’m excited for this summer; player movement is going to be insane.

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