Steve Nash was a two-time All-Star in Dallas, but he was a two-time MVP in Phoenix. The difference? Mike D'Antoni, of course. Now that D'Antoni is coaching in the Big Apple, though, Nash's numbers have fallen back to earth -- he's averaging just 13.5 points and 7.6 assists, his fewest in nine and six seasons, respectively.
Is this really how he wants to finish his career? Walking the ball up the court, throwing it into the post and watching Shaquille O'Neal back down opposing centers? Or would he prefer going back to D'Antoni's fast-paced style that made him look like a magician on the court and nearly transformed the league?
At present it's a moot point -- the Suns are winning (9-5) and Nash is under contract for this season and next. But come 2010, who knows what might happen? Nash lives in New York in the offseason, and from the moment D'Antoni arrived people were connecting the dots that Nash might want to finish his career there.
After the Knicks dumped salary in a pair of trades last week (one of which still pending), the possibility of a Nash-D'Antoni reunion once again became a topic of discussion -- though as Nash told Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic, it's not a conversation he wants to have right now.
"It's fun for fans and media," said Nash, who said he wants to play two more seasons after his Suns contract expires in 2010. "As players, it's the most idiotic thing in the world to think about two years from now."
Yesterday a report from a Canadian outlet cited league sources who suggested Nash might arrive in New York prior to 2010, but considering that article included passages ripped nearly verbatim from Coro's column, there's a good chance that version of the rumor is merely the media echo chamber at work.
But still, even if Nash doesn't want to think about it, the idea isn't too far-fetched. He'll be 36 years old by the end of next season. That's old for a starting point guard, but it should make him more affordable, meaning the Knicks could theoretically sign him and have plenty of room for a max contract (LeBron James?) or two. I don't buy the notion that the Suns will give up Nash in a trade before then, but all things considered I'd venture to guess that it's more likely than not that he'll will be wearing blue and orange two years from now.