The notion of two-time MVP Nash being returned by the Suns to Dallas in a deadline deal is a seductive one. … and it makes grand sense on one level:
"He's a player and person of such high quality,'' says one source close to Nash, "that (Dallas) wouldn't worry about minutes or role or personalities. You get a guy like that, you play him. He's a player.''
Lovely. But beyond that? This is a fairy-tale angle driven by the thoughtful Marc Stein and the fanciful Bill Simmons, both of them talented, both of them repping ESPN, both of them – I say respectfully – entangled in the romance of the idea.
Steiny-Mo has reported that Dallas is among the teams that have engaged in some level of contact with the Suns in what appears to me to be a "if-you-ever-wanna-dump-him'' conversation. But as important as it is to credit Marc for getting this information, it's just as important to note what the savvy reporter did with this information:
No three-inch headlines. No breaking-into-"SportsCenter'' pronouncement. A 1,720-word story and no mention of Dallas in the first 1,020 words of it.
Just a mention way down in the 21st paragraph.
What does that tell you about what Steiny-Mo himself thinks of the weightiness of this story?
Here's what the Mavs think: Phoenix has no intention of trading Steve Nash. When Suns GM Lon Babby calls Nash "the sun, the moon and the stars'' of the franchise, he may be UNDERSELLING what Nash means to the club.
Just this side of ‘Melo, Steve Nash is also "the sun, the moon and the stars'' of tinkerers with access to the ESPN Trade Machine. And that's where Simmons comes in. "The Sports Guy'' has given this Nash-back-to-Dallas idea traction by writing that he "want(s) Phoenix to trade Nash to Dallas for the following reasons:
They owe it to him. He's loyal, he's Canadian, and he cares too much about the inner workings of a team (and his role as the leader of the team) to ever undermine a situation by pushing publicly for a deal. …
2. You gotta love the wrinkle of Dallas reacquiring Nash when it never should have let him go in the first place. How often does a franchise get to atone for a mistake on that level?
3. A reunion of Dirk, Nash and Cuban allows them to recreate one of the unintentionally funniest pictures in the history of sports. Also, how much fun would it be to have best friends and two of the best 35 players ever (Nowitzki and Nash) chasing their first title with the one owner who can definitively say "I got screwed out of a ring" (Cuban)?
4. Of the contenders, Boston, Chicago, New Orleans, San Antonio, Utah and Oklahoma City don't need a point guard; Miami, Atlanta and Orlando don't have enough to trade; the Nuggets are out because they're being held hostage by Carmelo; and the Lakers don't match up (I can't see either team doing a Bynum/Blake for Nash/Gortat deal). So who's left? Dallas! The Mavs could offer Rodrigue Beaubois (a legitimate trade chip), Caron Butler's expiring deal (with the promise that Phoenix waives him so Dallas can re-sign him), DeShawn Stevenson's expiring, their 2011 No. 1 pick and $3 million for Nash, Grant Hill and Josh Childress (whose unseemly contract would be the Trade Tax for giving up Nash and Hill).
5. What's a better feel-good story than (A) the Nash-Dirk reunion; (B) the Nash-Marion reunion; (C) the Nash-Cuban reunion; and (D) Nash, Hill, Jason Kidd and Nowitzki making a run at the Finals together? Anything? Throw in Tyson Chandler, Shawn Marion, Jason Terry, Peja Stojakovic and Brendan Haywood's corpse and that's a pretty fascinating nine-man rotation. I don't think Dallas can win a title with the team it has. With Nash? It could win. Phoenix owes it to Nash (and really, CUBAN owes it to Nash) to pull the trigger.
In summary, Bill Simmons is reporting on the possibility of a Nash-to-the-Mavs trade because …
Bill Simmons thinks it would be FUN. For HIM.
Now, if you want "fun'' and "fantasy,'' you just visited Basketball Disneyland.
Care to come back to the way those involved are actually thinking?
*Stein's report offers subtle hints that Nash, at 37 running out of championship time, himself probably daydreams about such a reunion. (Of course, he may also daydream about playing for the Knicks, Lakers, Heat, Magic, whomever.) In the unlikely event that "dream'' becomes "demand,'' it will only be the first step of 100 steps that would be required to make such a miracle happen. And those 100 steps would need to be navigated in less than two weeks.
*Ask Babby. Ask coach Alvin Gentry, who tells Stein that a trade of Nash would be "my worst nightmare.'' Ask Nash himself. Nobody in Phoenix is thinking along these lines.
Babby has informed Nash that he doesn't want to lose him. Nash was given an extension in 2009 that runs through next season and hasn't argued his way out of the commitment he made.
"I signed up for this," Nash said to the Arizona media. "I'm committed to trying to build a team here. Obviously, last year was a phenomenal year. Tied 2-2 (in the Western Conference Finals), I thought we could win a championship. I genuinely believed we could and would win it. It's tough to be in this position six months later. I'm still committed to it. …''I'm still happy. I just want to try to win games for these fans and our team ..."
*One high-placed NBA source hinted to me that while Suns owner Robert Sarver is "overly budget-conscious,'' I should "add up all the factors'' before I assume that he'd trade Nash for cap relief or any other financial reason.
I needed another hint.
"Nash is box-office,'' he said, and I was told to add up the losses in ticket sales for the next two years in Phoenix if they trade away their "sun and moon and stars'' for Caron Butler's $10.6-million expiring contract.
I'm not smart enough to actually do that math. But I understand the concept.
*Those who are attempting to calculate where Nash would fit into the Dallas lineup, rotation and locker room are wasting ink. (Though I will tout some DB.com Boards threads in which there is some very smart ink.) Let me repeat my source's aforementioned remark: "He's a player and person of such high quality, that (Dallas) wouldn't worry about minutes or role or personalities. You get a guy like that, you play him. He's a player.''
In other words, it's a non-issue because it's not happening … but even if fantasies came true, it's still a non-issue.
* To some of Bill's very specific reasoning:
They owe it to him.
This is SPORTS. This is BUSINESS. There is no "owe.''
I am stumped.
You gotta love the wrinkle of Dallas reacquiring Nash when it never should have let him go in the first place. How often does a franchise get to atone for a mistake on that level?
Bill, you might want to get Cuban to admit all of that before he goes about correcting a "mistake'' that he won't concede was a "mistake.''
A reunion of Dirk, Nash and Cuban allows them to recreate one of the unintentionally funniest pictures in the history of sports. Also, how much fun would it be to have best friends and two of the best 35 players ever (Nowitzki and Nash) chasing their first title with the one owner who can definitively say "I got screwed out of a ring" (Cuban)?
Fun! Funny pictures! Giggles! That might be how Simmons' adopted LA Clippers run their team, but …
Phoenix owes it to Nash … to pull the trigger.
The Western Conference Suns owe it to somebody to help the Western Conference Mavericks win a championship? Not until Jerry West is simultaneously a team executive with two different teams will a trade like that ever transpire.
Seriously, there is no compelling reason – financial or competitive or otherwise – for the Phoenix Suns to trade Steve Nash.
To summarize: There is nobody who is saying this will happen. There is nobody writing this will happen. There is no involved party who has even expressed a willingness for it to happen. There is Stein's skill as a journalist and there is his friendship with Nash – but even that hasn't produced a factoid that at this time makes Nash-to-Mavs a legitimate story. There is only the idea from a prominent columnist and a host of Dallas Mavericks fans who think it would be FUN.
And I will concede, it would be "fun'' to bring Steve Nash "home'' … if he didn't already have one.
But if we're fantasizing about All-Star point guards with Dallas ties, it would be more "fun'' to bring Deron Williams "home.''
Will somebody please inform the Utah Jazz that they "owe it'' to us to make that happen?