NBA AM: Suns Not Trading Nash?
Trading Steve Nash?: Ken Berger of CBSSports.com tossed out the idea that the Phoenix Suns would trade Steve Nash is he asked to be traded, but as we’ve covered a few dozen times this season – Nash has yet to ask to be traded.
Sources close to the situation in Phoenix maintain that Nash and even his agent have not urged the Suns to move him, even though Nash is in the final year of his deal and the Suns are mired at the bottom of the Western Conference standings.
Suns sources say they are more than open to doing a new deal with Nash this summer and that the idea that Nash could land a new two-year deal in Phoenix after this season worth substantially more than anyone in free agency would offer might be what’s keeping Nash a happy camper.
For almost two years the Suns have maintained that what they get from Nash in terms of play on the court, leadership and franchise value on the business side could never be replaced in trade. The Suns feel like they are a better team with Nash than with anyone they could get in trade for him and as long as he wants to be in Phoenix, the Suns say they will keep him.
The March 15th NBA Trade deadline is just 38 days away, so there is still a lot of time before either side has to make a decision, but the word from Phoenix now is they’d like to do a new deal with Nash and it seems for the time being Nash is open to that.
We’ll see if things change in 38 days.
Dwight Howard Watch Day 58: As the Magic seem to have righted their sinking ship on the basketball court with three straight wins, new details have emerged in the ever changing Dwight Howard saga in Orlando.
RealGM’s Jarrod Rudolph is reporting that Lakers’ star Kobe Bryant may have soured Howard on being a Laker even more than he was already.
According to the report:
“Bryant told Howard that he wanted him to come to Los Angeles and help him win two more championships, but not as an understudy. He wanted Howard to be the team’s third option behind himself and Pau Gasol, according to a source. Bryant tried to sell Howard on being his “Tyson Chandler” and made it clear that Los Angeles would be his, but only once Bryant decided he was done playing.
Howard was turned off by the idea.
Howard stated that there was “no way” he would give up everything he has in Orlando to go to the Lakers and be the third option, a source close to the situation said.”
Sources close to this process have labeled the Lakers as an option from the beginning, but always an option behind New Jersey and even Dallas.
The Lakers have always been viewed as a lower-tier option to Howard’s camp, mainly because Dwight Howard has longed despised the Shaquille O’Neal comparison.
While the fruits that Dwight covets are in LA with the Lakers, carrying the daily burden of being in Shaq’s shadow yet again is undesirable to Howard unless it guarantees a championship, and there are no guarantees in the NBA.
Add the fact that Kobe’s view of things puts Howard as second or even third tier, puts the Lakers lower on the list.
Howard wants to be the top dog wherever he lands and that’s why teams like Chicago and the Clippers are not nearly as attractive to Howard who wants his own team.
According to sources close to this process Howard’s top destination remains New Jersey/Brooklyn with Dallas, LA and Orlando being viewed as equals if things don’t come together in New Jersey as planned.
Sources close to the process say that both Howard and Deron Williams have been talking to their friends around the league about the Nets and assuming the Nets can make the moves both Howard and Williams want, both would agree to new deals with the Nets as free agents.
The wrinkle is neither Williams or Howard would commit to deals with the Nets without additional help, as both do not want to be in the same situation as the Knicks, were they are joined together, but with no help around them to compete.
Why haven’t the Magic traded Howard… because they are still in the hunt to keep Dwight long term.
Sources close to the situation say Howard will shop his situation this summer and that while New Jersey is viewed as option #1, there are lots of parts that would have to line up for him to leave Orlando and the $30 million the Magic can offer and guarantee him other teams cannot.
Sources say if the Nets cannot get the secondary assets both Howard and Williams covet, the Nets could lose out on both players.
That opens the door for the Dallas Mavericks to land Williams and for Howard to remain in Orlando long-term.
It still seems like New Jersey is in the front seat for both Howard and Williams, but if they swing and miss they could miss out on both.
Sources close to this process say the Magic will not blink on Howard because they still believe they can keep him, unless Howard makes it clear he’s gone, don’t expect the Magic to trade him because he might not find what he seeking in free agency.
That does not get Orlando off the hook for improving the roster, they will still need to do that, but it does put some clarity on why they haven’t moved on deals involving Howard.
It also puts into focus why the Lakers haven’t offered the moon for Howard, because it’s becoming even more clear that he is not nearly as interested in a being a Laker as he is being in Brooklyn – if the Nets can put things together the right way.
The D’Antoni Conundrum: It’s rare in sports when something so obvious is so hard to execute, but the New York Knicks need a new head coach and firing Mike D’Antoni might be harder than anyone realizes.
First let’s be clear, Mike D’Antoni is a good guy and a good coach. He also is absolutely the wrong guy for the team assembled in New York.
Mike need to be relieved if the Knicks’ season is to be salvaged.
D’Antoni is not owed a ton of money, but relieving him may be harder than anyone in New York wants to admit and here is why.
The Knicks have Mike Woodson, Herb Williams, Phil Weber, Dan D’Antoni and Kenny Atkinson on staff as assistant coaches. Which of those names is going to lead the Knicks to a better situation than they are in now?
Woodson? Maybe. Williams? Unlikely.
The Knicks don’t necessarily have a better coach in the wings than the one calling the shots, so do the Knicks get better with an in-house change? Again, maybe.
The other wrinkle is would any of those guys take the Knicks job for just the balance of the season with no assurance of a full season next year? Would Mike Woodson agree to be the interim whipping boy for Knicks fans and the media on a short-term gig?
The coaches the Knicks have on staff are not nearly as good as a coach the Knicks could hire next summer. Phil Jackson, anyone?
In the NBA it is rare that a coach from the outside would take over a team mid-season. Coaches are measured by wins and losses and good coaches would want to bring in their own assistant coaches and have influence on the roster which is tough to do mid-season.
It’s equally tough to institute real change in philosophy because of the lack of practice time, which is compounded this year because of the lockout shortened 66-game season.
The Knicks need to make a coaching change. The problem is to get a replacement worth their salt the Knicks would likely have to commit to a deal beyond this season, unless they want to concede the season is lost.
The Knicks need to replace Mike D’Antoni, the problem is can they get better in doing so and would anyone take the job mid-stream that wouldn’t be equally problematic?
The Knicks might be to the point where that’s worth a try, but keep in mind that firing Mike D’Antoni might not move the Knicks into a better situation, it might send the Knicks in the other direction, especially if he is replaced by someone warming a chair for the next guy.
The flip side of that is that everyone in the coaching world is auditioning for their next job and maybe Woodson would take the Knicks for the balance of the season, hoping to improve things enough to land a job elsewhere.
Turning this Knicks team into a real competitor would be an amazing coaching feat, but does anyone really believe Mike Woodson or Herb Williams is that guy?
That is the conundrum the Knicks find themselves pondering.
A Return to Seattle?: The Seattle Kings? How about the Seattle Hawks?
According to Steve Miletich and Lynn Thompson of the Seattle Times hedge-fund manager and Seattle native Christopher Hansen has been talking with the city about building a world-class arena in an area south of Safeco Field in Seattle with the expressed goal of obtaining an NBA team to play there.
The Times does not specifically state which franchises Hansen would be targeting for Seattle, but the Sacramento Kings are really the only NBA team not locked into a long-term lease with exit penalties.
The New Orleans Hornets are a longshot for relocation, as the NBA is requiring anyone interested in buying the club to agree to keep it in New Orleans.
The Atlanta Hawks were almost sold this summer, but they have a hefty $75 million lease termination clause and another $124 million in bonds that would have to be paid in order to move the team on top of a purchase price in the high $350 million range.
Hansen’s plan is still in the discussion phase, so there are a million details to be resolved before serious talks with the NBA would take place. It is clear that there is more and more interest on getting the NBA back in Seattle and now there is a face to put with the discussions – the question is how long will it take to get an arena built and what team is willing to become the new Sonics?
NBA commissioner David Stern has made it clear that before any talks of the NBA returning to Seattle could take place, ground would need to be broken on a building.
So until that happens, relocating to Seattle is fun to talk about, but making it a reality will require construction and that’s not even remotely close yet, but they are talking seriously about it.
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