Best-case trade: Steve Nash's return
They’ll never be able to get back the last six and a half seasons, but there are at least murmurs about the Mavericks bringing Nash back to Big D in a trade.
ESPN.com’s Marc Stein mentions the possibility in the Weekend Dime, making it clear that the only way it could happen was if Nash demanded to be dealt. Nash insists he has no intention of taking such a hard stance with the Suns’ front office.
But, as Stein writes …
It should be noted, though, that there are a handful of Nash associates who greet such statements with undeniable skepticism. Multiple sources close to the Suns' QB told ESPN.com in recent days that they believe Nash is too competitive not to eventually tire of this season's struggle just to get Phoenix into the playoffs. There's a distinct belief in that circle that Nash could still push for a trade before the deadline -- preferably with his good buddy Grant Hill attached to the deal -- and that he can't help but be intrigued by the concept of a Big D reunion with two of his all-time favorite teammates besides Hill: Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd.
This would be the best-case trade scenario for the Mavs this season. Yes, better than pulling off a deal that ends the Melo Drama.
Carmelo Anthony would be worth the risk as a rental, because he’d be the best player ever to be paired with Dirk. But it could be a poor fit from a chemistry standpoint. And the odds are he’d head to New York this summer.
With Nash, the Mavs would know they’re getting a great player for at least the next season and a half. They also know they’re getting a team-first guy who already has great relationships with two of the Mavs’ most important players … and you can bet Tyson Chandler would welcome another of the NBA’s best passers with outstretched arms, high above the rim.
The Mavs could offer Rodrigue Beaubois (a legitimate trade chip), Caron Butler's expiring deal, 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).
The math on that deal works, thanks to the trade exception the Mavs got for dumping Matt Carroll while taking Chandler off of Charlotte’s hands. The Childress’ contract ($27 million over next four seasons) would be tough to swallow, but the only real reason for hesitation is to part with promising Roddy B. for a guard who turned 37 this week.
Mark Cuban – who, by the way, blames Don Nelson’s misevaluation for letting Nash leave in the first place -- is on the record as saying he won’t trade Beaubois unless he gets an All-Star in his prime in return. Well, Nash fits the bill, even though he’s technically not an All-Star this season.
Yes, he’s in his prime at 37, crazy as that sounds. Just look at the stats he’s putting up without a lot of talent around him for the Suns this season. He’s averaging 16.7 points per game with ridiculous efficiency (.523 FG, .403 3-point) while dishing out 11.1 assists per night. His game hasn’t dropped off since his two MVP seasons.
From a basketball perspective, Nash would be a phenomenal fit. He could be paired with good buddy Kidd in the best passing backcourt in NBA history, with Kidd guarding 2s and Nash playing off the ball on offense, giving the Mavs a premier penetrator. The Mavs would also have the luxury of limiting the minutes of both Kidd and Nash, making sure they’re fresh for the playoffs.
The Mavs’ mission over the next four years – the length of Dirk’s deal – is maximizing their chances to win a championship while the window is open for the best player in franchise history. The best possible way they could improve those odds over the next couple of weeks is to pull off a deal to bring back a man who never should have left.
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