Okay, Bryan? You here?
Anyway, after serious consideration and a few conversations around Orlando this weekend and looking at what the other options are, here is the one thing you need to do this summer more than anything else:
Throw an awful lot of money at Steve Nash to get him to sign in Toronto.
Iím talking two years at least, perhaps $18-22 million with a third year at his option, and youíve got to try to do whatever it takes to get him to come aboard.
Itís a bold move but what the hell, isnít that what you do?
Now, I have no idea whether Nash would even entertain the idea but knowing what I know of him, knowing his circumstances and whatís out there in the league, and after chatting with some folks around all-star weeend, I am 100 per cent confident that he will go into the free agency period with an open mind.
We know he loves Toronto as a city, we know heís not about chasing a championship because he would have done that two years ago or forced a trade already so donít go into it thinking youíve got no chance.
It may be a huge long shot but youíve got to take it.
It would be a signal to the other players on the team, the other players in the league and a fan base thatís stuck with you through some recent lean times that youíre willing to make a bold move for an immediate return.
Whatís to lose?
Would you rather try to spend your money on Nicolas Batum or Wilson Chandler or Andrei Kirilenko or someone of that ilk? Theyíre all good players who might help your team and everthing but none of them are even close to Nash.
Nash immediately makes DeMar DeRozan better. He immediately makes Andrea Bargnani better. He immediately gets James Johnson better shots and if anyone can make it easy for Jonas Valanciunas to acclimate himself with the NBA on the offensive end, itís a savvy, skilled point guard who has made a career out of making players better.
I bet the coach would love it, too. Your team is already young enough and youíre going to have Valanciunas and another high draft pick coming in anyway, why not get a guy who makes the transition from Europe or college easier for all. And donít for a second think that Dwane couldnít devise an offence Ė and more important, a defence Ė that would maximize what Nash can do.
To me, itís a no-brainer to at least give it a shot; it hastens the rebuilding or retooling process and, as I mentioned, is a clear sign that youíre serious about getting things changed and changed relatively fast.
Iíll get back to you in July when it comes time to spend some of that money youíve got; until then, think about it, please.