With the free agency period drawing nearer and nearer, one of the most highly-coveted guards on the market, Steve Nash, is weighing his multitude of options, one of which are the New York Knicks.
Nash, 38, is a sure-fire, first-ballot Hall-of-Fame point guard. A member of the impossible to join 50-40-90 club, the Canadian waiter has shot over 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from three and 90 percent from the free throw line four times in five years in his career with the Phoenix Suns, flirting around with those same percentages every year of his career.
Just for some perspective, the only other players to reach that milestone in NBA History are Larry Bird (2), Mark Price (1), Reggie Miller (1) and Dirk Nowitzki (1) with Nash reaching it the most times.
But unlike Nowitzki and Bird, Nash has yet to attain an NBA Championship, let alone the NBA Finals. The closest he’s been to grandest stage is the Western Conference Finals, where the Suns have fallen to Kobe Bryant the Lakers twice (2010 and 2005).
Now that he’s closing in on the end of his career, Nash wants that very thing that separates the greats from the immortal, and many believe that he can achieve that very goal playing alongside Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler with the New York Knicks.
Steve Nash and the Knicks are popping up in every magazine.
He told SLAM Online: “I would consider the Knicks. Amar’e actually called me to tell me about his engagement a couple weeks back, and we talked a bit about how nice it’d be to play together again.”
If there’s any reason why Nash wouldn’t sign with the Knicks, it’s monetary. New York can only offer him the mid-level exception of $5 million, and Phoenix could offer him much more, if not match last year’s contract of $10 million. In addition, Nash was close friends with coach Mike D’Antoni who was, justifiably, forced out of New York.
Nash said he worries about the possibility of taking less money to play for a team he believes is a contender, only for one of its top players to be injured — or worse, for him to be traded.
“I have to be really careful and make a sound decision,” Nash said.
Yet in the same interview, Nash told Mazzeo:
“I wouldn’t have any fear of the fans maybe having a love affair with Jeremy [Lin]. … I think it’s great. … That doesn’t really bother me.”
The bottom line?
No one knows whether he will or won’t sign with the Knicks at the mid-level exception, but he’d revitalize Stoudemire for sure.
STAT looked like his old, All-Star self running the pick-and-roll with Jeremy Lin before they both went down with injuries, and Nash is arguably the best pick-and-roll guard in the NBA. They ran it 100 times/game in Phoenix under D’Antoni and it would re-spark a flame that was put out when Stoudemire left for New York.
Throw in an athletic defender in Tyson Chandler, who ran his own pick-and-roll game back in Charlotte with the Hornets, and you’ve got a starting five that can put up 80 points every night. Include Iman Shumpert off the bench, who’s looking at a six to eight month timetable for his return to the court after a torn ACL (smack in the middle of the season), Jeremy Lin and Steve Novak, whose Bird Rights the Knicks recovered after the arbitrator ruled in their favor, with Jared Jeffries and you’ve got a solid eight-man rotation to wreak havoc amongst the league.
Would they be able to compete with the HEAT? I don’t know.
But one thing’s for sure. They wouldn’t meet them in the first round ever again, and Nash surely wouldn’t allow them to get swept.
The other teams that are “in the race” to land Nash, according to SportsNet’s Eric Smith, are the Portland Trail Blazers, Toronto Raptors and Phoenix Suns, but championship odds with the Knicks are much greater.
But at the end of it all, Steve Nash knows what he wants.
“I’m open to every team that has interest in me. … I have to weigh it up with family, salary, environment, opportunity to win—all these different factors that are in a big pot, and figure out what’s best.”
“Maybe it will be Phoenix or another team that’s kind of a project. Or maybe it’s a team that’s on the cusp.”
“I’m completely open to it. … In some ways, it’d be great to play for the Knicks. I don’t want to, you know, set off any alarm bells right now, but it’d be a great opportunity. It’s a franchise I’d love to play for. It’s a city I love, obviously, living here the last 10 summers…I would definitely consider it, if they had interest in me.”
The interest is there, Steve. Now the ball’s in your court.