It seems so simple, doesn’t it? You take a team, you tank it to the ground, you get a star or two in the draft, add a few ok free agent signings and you’re good to go. Just like NBA 2k12, right?
Enter Steve Nash.
We all know that many Nash/Suns fans would fancy watching Steve in another uniform, one of a contending team like the Knicks or the Thunder. And as they already created visions, visions that keep making less and less sense as Chauncey Billups disappeared from the picture, the LA Clippers got an even better point guard, and so on. Is there a single team that would trade for Nash at this point? Perhaps a mid-tier team looking to make the jump? But if you’re going to lose, it’s probably better to lose at home.
Of course, the situation is complicated. Nash can still go off and sign elsewhere. On the other hand, the Phoenix organization has proved to him time and time again that he’s very much welcome in their world, making moves for him, even though it feels as if that ship sailed a few years ago. Sure, you can knock on Sarver for being cheap, and I won’t even blame you for it. But you can’t say he’s not doing what his superstar wants of him, as proved by paying a (deserved) hefty 6.5 million dollars for Grant Hill.
Now, the Free Steve Nash advocates expect that if he is traded, the Suns get something that’s not a huge pile of crap back, and manage to rebuild fairly quickly, because the lack of Nash means that this team is the worst team in the West and thus the prime candidate for a nice little low lottery pick. It sure sounds nice on paper, especially with the loaded draft class coming up and stuff… But is it really that easy? Almost every draft has a bust in it’s top 7. Whether it’s Yi or Kwame doesn’t matter, the point is, you’re not always getting an All-star from a top pick. And let’s not forget the many merely serviceable players that came out of those top draft spots. You don’t just need scouting, you need talent and luck to get it done in the big leagues, all while selling tickets.
And have no doubt, Nash is the great ticket salesman in Phoenix. He’s the sun, the moon, the… You know the drill, he’s everything the Suns have to offer, and the NBA is a business. Nobody wants to pay for watching a team merrily lose games for the sake of the future (except for ten thousand Hornets fans, apparently), not even against great teams like the Miami Heat. You want competition, you want fun, and you want a glimmer of hope. And trading off your superstar will not bring either of that.
Now think about it. With the scouting corps that selected Robin Lopez and Earl Clark in their last two drafts we’ve seen unfold completely, do you really want to see what they can do, even within the seemingly infallible talent pool?
Are you sure you want to risk getting the next Darko? Are you sure Phoenix can develop the talent they would have? Are you sure that dumping off the heart and soul of the team for almost nothing is the way to go, when his impact off the floor is so great?
If you do, I surrender. You can scream “Free Steve Nash” you can ignore his affinity towards his jail. You can do whatever you want, because you’ve earned this right with your unbelievably simple, one-dimensional picture of a very complicated sport.