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.
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.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
2) The next argument in the case for Steve Nash is the idea of playing for a contender. As he says himself:
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."“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.
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:
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?"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.
Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/201...#ixzz1mko5Mq2a
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 might find the idea of playing with Nash, Bargnani, 2012 pick, JV, and a supporting case already in place with a solid coach enticing.
5) The next case for signing Nash comes from the Toronto connections. Jay Triano works in the front office. Colangelo is the GM and President. Alex McKechnie is the trainer who Nash has a relationship with. Colangelo has talked about bringing back Barbosa who is good friends with Nash and with Nash on board Barbosa might feel the same. Nash has talked about playing for the Raptors in the past and the thrill to play in Canada - I'm not sure if this can be emphasized enough as it would be the equivalent of Gretzky ending his career in Toronto. The final connection would be considered a future connection. Remember the idea of a late draft pick in trading Calderon? Acquire Myck Kabongo by acquiring a draft pick at the trade deadline or draft night or shelling out $3M and a 2nd round pick because Kabongo and Nash have a budding relationship:
In the case of Steve Nash and Myck Kabongo, that's precisely what happened. Nash, who had been following the career of Kabongo, then a young point guard playing for Findley Prep, sent Kabongo a follow request on Twitter. Kabongo, wowed by the two-time NBA Most Valuable Player, followed Nash right back, and thanked him for the original action. And just like that, a friendship was born.
"What a world it is," said Kabongo, now a freshman point guard at Texas. "It's crazy what media can do now."
According to Nash, that media can bring worlds together. In fact, Kabongo and Nash have never actually "met," at least not by the standard definition of the word. Yet the two make almost daily contact through a combination of Twitter and text messages.
"(Nash) It's just another guy who is a mentor to me," Kabongo said. "He watches every game I play and gives me insight and pointers on what I can do better and how I can lead better. To have someone like him as my mentor is good."
That's an understatement. Nash is the consummate NBA floor general, leading the league in assists five times, including five of the last seven years. He has made the NBA All-Star team seven times, and has had more 50-40-90 (field goal percentage, three-point percentage, free-throw percentage) seasons than any player in NBA history.
"Every time I finish a game he texts me letting me know what I can work on," Kabongo said. "I ask him what he sees... He's been very helpful."
Kabongo said that advice varied from staying low coming off ball screens to creating floaters, and keeping his dribble in the paint instead of immediately looking to pass the ball to a teammate.
"It's a lot easier to relate to what he's going through because he's a point guard," Nash said. "I can relate to what he's going through in his freshman year at a Division I program. I can relate to the lessons he's learning first-hand, more than could... to a power forward.
"Point guard is the hardest position in a lot of ways," Nash said. "There's no shortcut for the lessons that you come across, especially at this stage in his career."
Nash's freshman year at Santa Clara, he scored 8.1 points and had 2.5 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 24.0 minutes per game. The Longhorns depend on Kabongo more, with the freshman playing 27.7 minutes per game, scoring 9.7 points, grabbing 3.3 rebounds and dishing out 5.5 assists per contest.
What better way for the man who ushered in a new era for Canadian basketball to end his career than in Canada and passing the torch to another young Canadian PG?That wasn't the case with Kabongo, whom Nash sees as the next great Canadian point guard.
"The sky's the limit for him," Nash said. "I don't know about whether it's an 'if' so much as a 'when.' He has a great desire for the game, and that's the most important thing, even more than the talent he has. He has a great desire and passion for it.
"I think he's capable right now of playing on the men's national team," Nash said. "But it's about him taking his time, learning his lessons and improving his game. He'll be ready when the time comes."
Nash said he sees some similarities between his game and Kabongo's.
"I think Myck's a better athlete than I am; he's more explosive," Nash said. "But we're both true point guards. He's constantly penetrating, and he's a playmaker, like I'm a playmaker. So I think there are a lot of similarities.
"He's a natural leader," Nash said. "He's very quick, has long arms, a very good feel for the game. He's a good passer, good in transition and has a lot of different skills and attributes. The last thing to come will be his shooting, but he's going to get a lot better at that."
Nash said Kabongo's work ethic sets him up for success.
"It seems like that is a true characteristic of his personality and his approach to the game," Nash said. "That's the most important trait, it goes without saying. It's important to be working every day. If you're trying to get better, you will get better. It's just a matter of time.
"I'm just rooting for him," Nash said. "He's a great kid with a great passion for the game. He's a leader. I think it's going to be fun to watch him develop."
Kabongo said his game would continue to develop thanks to the pointers from Nash.
"Little things that I didn't know about, he's helping me with," Kabongo said. "He tells me how he does things, and I try to apply that. He tells me how he sees the floor and reads what the defense is giving him. He's been really helpful in all that.
"Our relationship has grown," Kabongo said. "That's someone who's just a phenomenal player and person. He's a great guy."
6) The final argument for this use of time while my daughter naps is his continued productivity.
“I’m not surprised by the way that he’s playing,” Suns Head Coach Alvin Gentry said. “I’ve seen him now for eight years and there hasn’t been much of a drop off, if there has been any at all.”
The popular Malcolm Gladwell book, Outliers, which was published just a few years ago, talks about anomalies like Nash. In fact, the statistical definition for an outlier is “is one that appears to deviate markedly from other members of the sample in which it occurs.”
That definition pretty much epitomizes Nash and his late-budding career. But the question is: how is that possible?Now, according to teammates, Nash eats 95 percent perfect during the season. And much like his eating habits, his training habits are all done with a singular focus in mind.
“I’m training every day for a purpose,” Nash said. “I’m not just going to the gym and doing a circuit for the heck of it.”
Nash’s incredible fitness level is well-documented, but the magnitude of it, really isn’t. During the offseason, Nash will work out 2-3 times a day, giving some experts concern that he’s overtraining.
But Nash is in such pristine shape that during conditioning drills at training camp, the Suns training staff had a difficult time elevating his pulse to where he was enduring a strenuous enough workout.
“I think the condition he gets himself into is second to none,” Gentry said.
Nash is a fanatic about his fitness because it had to be. Diagnosed with a degenerative back issue during his third year in the league, Nash discovered that he had zero margin for error when it came to his body’s mechanics.
“I think my back issues taught me a lot about the body and movement,” Nash remembered. “That’s when I first met (Nash’s personal physical therapist) Rick Celebrini, who I’ve worked so closely with. So in some ways, it’s been a great thing that’s happened.”
Although he only takes about three days off a year from working out, once Nash reached his 30s, he began taking the summers off from playing pick-up ball. Although he compulsively practices his shooting, he stays sharp competitively by playing a ton of soccer.
“After playing basketball for 20-some years now, not playing as much basketball in the summer allows my mind, and my body a little bit, to have the desire and the will to get through a season and feel good and strong,” Nash said. “I think that has been a big factor
in allowing me to play this late into my career. Because if you don’t get away for a little bit, I think you lose the passion for it and you’re not going to want to make that sacrifice in the season.”
Although Nash’s core strength and hand-eye-coordination are off the charts, it’s readily apparent that much of Nash’s success can be attributed to his psychological makeup.
“He has an awareness of the task at hand,” Hill said. “And his ability to succeed is a talent that can take him places, but it is his intelligence, understanding and an adaptability that allows him to consistently excel throughout the years.”
Hill has noted the way Nash has continued to tinker with his training methods in the five seasons they’ve played together, always looking to adapt to whatever makes him better. In short, that is always Nash’s singular focus.
“If you have the same goal and the same vision, you’re going to do whatever you need to do,” Hill said.
For Gentry, the character attribute that stands out most about his point guard is his cool demeanor.
“He’s an unbelievable competitor,” the Suns Head Coach said. “But there’s also a calmness about him that makes him seem very much in control for the majority of everything that he does.
“I think it allows him to be more stress-free than it would be for another guy to be in the same situation. I don’t think there’s a whole lot of stress involved in his game or the way he approaches the game, and because of that, I think he’s able to play at a high level and it doesn’t take its toll on him.”
So in order to make a leap to an All-Star level like Nash did and then sustain that excellence over a decade, a bevy of variables must be aligned. Sure, it was important for him to be in excellent cardio-vascular condition, improve his shooting and approach nutrition in a scientific manner. But unlike those abilities, the main quality that has made Nash a perennial All-Star player is immeasurable.
Long post and hopefully you made it. In summary, I would be ecstatic with a point guard pairing for the next 2-3 years of Steve Nash and Myck Kabongo.