Bryan Colangelo has talked about 'hitting the ground running' next year numerous times. Personally I can see no better way than to get Steve Nash in a Raptors uniform. Yes he is old, but there is an answer for that. Yes Toronto needs a PG for the future, but there is an answer to that. Yes he wants to compete for a champsionship, but there is an answer for that.

Before we talk about Steve Nash and the future, we have to address Jose Calderon and the past. It is time to part ways with Jose. First and foremost he is a great teammate and person. He is also a great PG but he is not phenomenal and he certainly has not led Toronto to greatness. His continued play for Spain each summer and his previous injury history were well discussed here and I don't wish to turn this thread in to the same discussion. The Trade Forums have plenty of ideas but the jist of it is is getting an expiring contract and a late first round pick - this idea is my favourite but a Felton for Calderon trade would work well too. Specific trade ideas should be put in the Trade Forum. Much like any Calderon debate, any trade debates should be in the Trade Forum.

So lets get started with 'The Case for Steve Nash to the Raptors'.

1) First things first. Lets talk about money and free agency. With Calderon gone and no contracts coming back, the Raptors have a lot of money - roughly $21.5M (that includes 7 current players, JV and 2012 pick). Nash has talked about playing for 2-3 more seasons.

He said he wants to play “two or three years, for sure” and maybe he can make a trip to the NBA Finals by then. Source
In Toronto he could play those 2-3 seasons at his current salary of $11.7M per season. For the money and marketing MLSE would make off him alone, that would be worth the contract - let alone his play. The most other teams who would be interested in acquiring his services could offer would be an exception - except Phoenix, of course.

2) The next argument in the case for Steve Nash is the idea of playing for a contender. As he says himself:

“I’m not oblivious to [the chance of] playing on a contender,” Nash said. “But at the same time, especially in the position I’m in right now, I feel a sense of loyalty to my team. To go and ask for a trade, it’s not like I’m going to say, ‘Trade me to...’

He made a circling motion with his finger, as if he were about to land it on a destination. That seems to be the vogue in the NBA for players with an opt-out looming in their contract. Carmelo Anthony forced his way to New York, Chris Paul wound up in Los Angeles (one way or another), Dwight Howard has made his list for whenever Orlando realizes it’s time for him to go.

“I think they are in slightly different scenarios,” Nash said. “Mine’s a different scenario at this stage in my career. I don’t want to jeopardize or turn my back on my teammates for that limited…let’s say, unknown.”

He can improve his chances to win a ring…but they’re still just chances. No guarantees in the NBA. And besides…what would be in it for the Suns?

Placing Nash on a contender and getting back the most amount of talent in return for him are inherently contrasting goals. If the Suns cleaned up the way the Nuggets did with Carmelo, what would be left for Nash to contend with? Also, the Suns don’t have a single, monstrous contract that will keep them over the salary cap for years to come. In fact, one reason to keep Nash aboard for the duration of the season is that his contract is expiring. That’s $11.7 million that comes off the books this summer.

So to force a trade before deadline leaves the contending acquiring team as possibly a non-contender. Nevermind the fact it is clearly not his style. So if the trade route is out for the Suns and Nash, then free agency it is. We've already talked about money so I'll just say it again, "Money - Toronto has it and contending teams do not."

The typical teams thrown about would be the Lakers (mini-MLE), NY (MLE), and MIA (mini-MLE). DAL could be an interesting possibility if they landed Dwight Howard and were unable to get Deron Williams - I throw this out there because I am trying to be objective. The other option would be to sign a big free agent in Phoenix or make a trade. Phoenix will have about $28M in cap space this summer (does not include draft pick or the cost to re-sign Nash). This is easier said than done, especially with the bad to mediocre contracts (Childress, Warrick, Frye, Dudley) currently eating cap space, which even Nash and teammates admit:

"We're not a very talented group," he said Saturday, in his familiar refrain.

Suns swingman Jared Dudley believes Nash will re-sign as a free agent only if the roster is vastly improved between now and the summer.

"I see him as potentially wanting to be here for a long time, but I also see someone where he wants the right pieces to be able to want to be here, you know?" Dudley said. "He wants to be with an organization -- and I don't want to put words in his mouth -- where he wants to win. I know Steve and I know the competitor that he is, and I guarantee you that if they put a couple pieces here that he liked, I guarantee you he would stay.

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So the question becomes: Would Nash sacrifice upwards of $18M-$24M (difference of a 3 year deal at $11M per season and mini-MLE ($5M per for MLE and $3M per for mini_MLE) to sign with NY, MIA, or LA versus resigning in PHX or going to Toronto?

3) The next argument in the case for Nash to Toronto comes in the form of a question: Could Toronto be a contender in 2-3 seasons with Nash on board? Bargnani has grown as a player. He is no doubt a 20-plus PPG scorer and the team is better defensively with him on the floor this year - who'd of thunk that? JV is looking like a true franchise C based on his hustle and intensity alone - nevermind his skills - and he and Bargnani would be a phenomenal pick and roll recipients for Nash. The Raptors are also going to have a high draft pick this year who could be an impact player almost immediately. The Raptors have $11.5M in cap space (assuming Nash was signed for $10M) plus exceptions ($2.5M room and $2M bi-annual) to round out roster. The Raptors also have effective role players already under contract in DD, Kleiza, Davis, Amir, and JJ. The most important piece of the puzzle is, in my opinion, Dwane Casey. He is a phenomenal coach who is a genius on defense and struggling on offense due to a lack of talent and guys consistently hitting shots.

4) The next argument in the case for Nash to Toronto is a sign and trade is possible with Phoenix. Toronto does have assets that could help Nash and any remorse or guilt he feels about leaving Phoenix with nothing but cap space. Any combination of Amir, ED, DD, homegrown talent in Bayless (in sigh and trade) plus possibly another pick in this year's draft (Calderon, Barbosa trades?) and a future draft pick could be considered a) better than cap space and b) better than any other contending team could offer in terms of assets. This of course would also help Toronto as any contract sent to Phoenix would create more cap space to improve Toronto roster - suddenly a free agent