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Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Plan D: Steve Nash's return to Dallas?

By Tim MacMahon

Wouldn’t Steve Nash ’s return to Dallas to chase a championship with best buddy Dirk Nowitzki be a sweet storyline?

It’s a possibility for the free agent-to-be All-Star point guard.

ESPN.com’s Marc Stein, whose claim to fame is chronicling the Nash/Dirk years in Dallas, mentioned as much in a TrueHoop post about the Suns’ desire to keep Nash and the potential Hall of Famer’s other future possibilities. Per Stein, sources with knowledge of the Mavericks' thinking say that the defending champs will definitely try to reunite Nash and Nowitzki in free agency in July if top targets Dwight Howard and Deron Williams elude them.

A two-year deal to bring Nash to Dallas (matching the remaining years left on Dirk’s deal) would be one heck of a Plan D for the Mavs, assuming Plan A is the Howard/Williams duo, B is Howard and C is Williams.

First of all, Nash is showing no signs of slowing down at the ripe old age of 38, eight seasons after the Mavs let him go in large part due to fears about his durability. He’s leading the league in assists for the sixth time since his Dallas departure, shooting a career-high 54.2 percent from the floor and averaging a remarkably efficient 13.9 points in 32.1 minutes per game.

Second of all, the Mavs wouldn’t have to strip down their roster to add Nash, who is making $10.3 million this season. They could simply plug him in at point guard -- maybe Jason Kidd comes back to back up his former Phoenix backup -- and keep the starting lineup intact. In that case, the Mavs would maintain financial flexibility for the foreseeable future.

Another possibility: Howard and Williams can’t bring themselves to take the less-than-max offers to play together with the Mavs, but Mark Cuban and Co. convince the league’s best big man to take a max contract and come to Dallas with Nash.

Look at how Marcin Gortat, Howard’s former backup in Orlando, has blossomed as a scorer with Nash feeding him at the rim. Just imagine Superman’s production as a pick-and-roll partner with Nash as Dirk spaces the floor and picks his spots to serve as the go-to guy. (The presence of the three-time Defensive Player of the Year in the paint would mask Nash’s weaknesses on that end of the floor.)

There’s a lot of basketball yet to be played this season, and the Mavs have a chance to defend their championship.

But, if you feel like daydreaming about the possibilities in Dallas next season and beyond, go ahead and picture ol’ Nashie in a Mavs uniform again.