NBA PM: Dwight Howard Wants Steve Nash
The NBA’s trade deadline is two weeks away and one name that will continue to surface in trade rumors is Steve Nash. The 38-year-old point guard is in the final year of his contract and plenty of teams will be placing calls to the Phoenix Suns in the days leading up to March 15.
The Orlando Magic has made offers for Nash in the past and sources close to the situation say that they’ll attempt to acquire the 16-year veteran in the next two weeks. Dwight Howard has asked the front office to pursue Nash and sources close to Howard believe he won’t exercise his early termination option if the team is able to acquire Nash and re-sign him this summer.
By opting in to the final year of his contract, Howard would make $19,261,200 next season and have more time to decide what his future holds. It could also lead to new potential suitors for Howard since teams would have another year to clear cap space. He would then become part of the 2013 free agent class, which includes many players that Howard has expressed interest in teaming up with such as Chris Paul, Monta Ellis, Andre Iguodala and Josh Smith. Not to mention, it would give Howard the opportunity to compete for a championship, playing alongside one of the greatest point guards of all-time.
While Orlando would love to acquire Nash, it won’t be easy. Phoenix loves Nash and was hoping to re-sign him to a two-year deal this summer. Their policy has always been that they wouldn’t deal Nash, unless he asked for a trade. That’s not Nash’s style and he’s not ready to turn on his teammates, fans or close friends within the organization.
“There’s no uncertainty about my future for me,” Nash told HOOPSWORLD. “I’m a Phoenix Sun, I want to finish the season with the Phoenix Suns. I want to see how good we can be and fight for my teammates and fight for my fans. That’s all I consider. I just try to get up every day and work hard so I can play at a high level and help my team. After that, I’m not really concerned with anything.”
Nash would understand if the Suns decide to move him and start the rebuilding process, but he’s not going to push for a trade. He wants to honor the contract that he signed with the Suns.
“I’m totally open if the team says they want to trade me, but my position is that I want to fight for these fans,” Nash said. “I’ve been here a long time. I’ve had a great experience. They’ve been great to me. My teammates are great. I don’t want to jump ship on them. I’m ready to fight it out. But if the team decided to trade me, I’d understand that.”
Even if the Suns decide to shop Nash, the Magic may not have the trade chips to complete a deal. Many teams will put together packages if Nash becomes available and Orlando’s most attractive assets are Ryan Anderson, Jameer Nelson and J.J. Redick.
Whether or not the Magic land Nash at some point in the next two weeks remains to be seen. If they don’t acquire the veteran point guard prior to the trade deadline, it won’t be for lack of trying.
Paul Has High Expectations for Clippers: Chris Paul can’t stand to lose.
“I’ll play basketball with my son or my little cousin and, if we’re playing to ten, I’ll let them get to nine but at the end of the day I’m going to win,” Paul told HOOPSWORLD. “I don’t want you to be able to say you beat me in anything. I’m good at whatever I do. We can play cards, we can play Connect Four, we can play whatever you want. I’m going to be good at it.”
Paul’s attitude has helped change the culture in Los Angeles and now the Clippers believe they can be contenders in the Western Conference. The veteran point guard has high expectations for this team and he won’t settle for an early exit in the playoffs.
“No question, from top to bottom, this is most talented team that I’ve been on,” Paul said. “Still, it takes hard work. Talent doesn’t win games. We just have to continue to get better defensively and offensively. We’ve got to execute, cut down on our turnovers and be ready for the second half of the season.”
Paul believes the Clippers are ready to contend now, even though they rely heavily on young players like Blake Griffin, 22, and DeAndre Jordan, 23.
“The sky’s the limit,” Paul said. “The sky’s the limit and we’ve got to approach it like that. There are rookies, second-year and third-year players on championship teams every year. I think it’s all about camaraderie, sticking together and understanding what the team’s purpose is.”
Right now, the Clippers are 20-12 and hold the third seed in the West. Not bad for a team that was assembled two weeks before the start of the season. With the shortened schedule, teams are practicing less than ever and having to learn on the fly.
“Is it tough to jell during this condensed season? What do you think? Man, it’s really tough, especially with our team since we were thrown together in a week. Nobody is going to feel sorry for us nor do we feel sorry for ourselves. We have to be professional and learn how to do it on the fly,” Paul said.
“We just added Kenyon Martin too so we’re trying to finalize our roster and get ready for this run.”
Paul believes the Clippers are capable of making a deep postseason run and anything less will be a disappointment.
Predators Give Howard Incentive to Stay: The Orlando Magic aren’t the only professional sports team in Central Florida that wants Dwight Howard to re-sign.
The Orlando Predators of the Arena Football League announced that they’ll pledge $25,000 to Howard’s “D12 Foundation” if he signs a long-term deal with the Magic. The team also set up accounts on Twitter and Facebook, urging fans to make similar pledges to keep Howard in Orlando.
“Dwight means a lot to the Central Florida community, and the Predators want to do their part to help convince him to stay with the Magic,” Predators managing partner Brett Bouchy said in a statement. “We’re hoping that other Central Florida companies and organizations will also get behind this effort to keep Dwight where he belongs.”