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NBA Sunday: Trading Nash and Bosh?
Posted By Joel Brigham On April 10, 2011 @ 7:39 am In All,NBA | No Comments
Nash and Bosh Possible Offseason Trade Targets?
At 37 years old, Steve Nash is one of the oldest players in the league, yet with only a few games remaining in the season he’s leading the league in assists for a team that won’t make the playoffs. Nash himself has already called the accomplishment "irrelevant and hollow" for that very reason, and coming off a year in which the Suns made the Western Conference Finals, it’s easy to see why.
While Phoenix may have been contenders a year ago, however, they’re far from that now. Without Amar’e Stoudemire and Jason Richardson, this isn’t the same team. With the Suns clearly heading towards rebuilding, will this be the year they finally decide it’s time to cash out Nash while he’s still got at least a year or two left in the tank?
According to Ric Bucher in one of his chats with ESPN, they’re at least going to look into it. "I’m told the Suns realize it’s time and will explore what they can get for him this summer, or before the next season starts," Bucher said.
It’s what they should’ve done last season as soon as it became clear that Stoudemire wasn’t coming back, but the ageless Nash—even as the seventh oldest active player in the league—still should grab the interest of some veteran contenders looking for help at point guard.
No team is going to mortgage too much of the future for 1-3 years of Nash in his late 30s, but for teams like the HEAT and Lakers, Nash would start. In fact, it’s hard to imagine a team more built to Nash’s strengths than Miami.
The problem with that scenario, however, is that the HEAT simply don’t have the assets to match Nash’s $12 million salary next season with the guys they’ve currently got available, unless they trade Chris Bosh, which they’re not going to do, at least not for a player who’s going to be 38 next year.
And that, naturally, leads us to Bosh, who Bucher also indicated has been discussed as a possible player to be traded in the offseason. That particular scenario, while possible by the dictionary definition of the word, seems considerably less likely as the HEAT enter the postseason as possible the #2 seed in the East. If this Miami group even gets to the Conference Finals, it would be hard to justify breaking up the band.
By that same token—and it’s something made obvious by the fact that Miami simply doesn’t have the horses to trade for a guy like Nash—if Miami ever finds themselves in a situation where they need to investigate a trade, Bosh would be the guy to go. Dwyane Wade and LeBron James are perennial All-NBA First Teamers, and if Bosh yielded the right player or mix of players, it’s a trade Miami might consider making someday.
Not yet, though. The team is hotter than anybody in the Conference outside of the Bulls right now, and until they prove a for a few years in a row that they can’t win a championship with this core, trading Chris Bosh simply isn’t going to happen. The organization may discuss it hypothetically from within, but they aren’t seriously considering it. Those are two entirely different things.
Why the Bulls Have Bought In
With such ubiquitous coverage of the Chicago Bulls over the second half of this regular season, just about everybody knows at this point how tough (and good) a coach Tom Thibodeau is, and how humble and hard-working a star Derrick Rose. And while it’s pretty clear that those two guys have set the tone for certain kind of culture in that Chicago locker room, there are a lot of other guys in place there that had to buy into this thing in order for it to work as well as it has.
With that in mind, why has it worked as well as it has?
"I thought the makeup of the team was the right makeup," Thibodeau told HOOPSWORLD. "In talking to John (Paxson) and Gar (Forman), they told me a lot about Derrick and Joakim and Luol, and we felt that it was a good group to build with."
"We’ve just got a lot of good guys," Rose added. "[Thibodeau] is hard. He’s definitely hard on us, but we know the ultimate goal. We know the ultimate goal is just to win—whatever it takes to win. Him yelling at you or whatever, we’re used to it by now, so we just listen to him, go out there and do our job."
The reason Rose is so accustomed to the yelling is that he’s already survived one screamer in John Calipari while at the University of Memphis. However, beyond the yelling, Thibodeau’s system is a very demanding and meticulous one, and in a league where players seem to want more and more freedom, these Bulls have given some of that up for the sake of a system that clear seems to be working.
As for a reason why, one need only ask the team’s former Utah Jazz players who worked under Jerry Sloan, a similarly strict coach.
"If you look at [Thibodeau and Sloan], it works," said Bulls back-up guard Ronnie Brewer, who played his first 3-and-a-half seasons with the Jazz. "Sloan did it in Utah, and so far what Thibs is doing here, there’s been success. They have these principles that they stick to, and you just have to humble yourself and buy into the situation."
Carlos Boozer, who flourished under Sloan in Utah, agreed with Brewer’s assertions.
"Their systems are completely different, but they still have the same mentality—tough guys that only play guys that play hard," he said. "He’s one of those guys who never thinks it’s good enough, which is great for us. When you have your top guy saying, whatever our record is, who cares? We want to win a championship, and until we do, we can never be satisfied. That in itself says everything about Coach Thibs."
In short, the Chicago Bulls are a perfect combination of hard-working, egoless young guys dying to win (Rose, Luol Deng, Taj Gibson), players with experience dealing with similar coaches (Boozer, Brewer, Kyle Korver), and veteran role players from organizations that have gone deep into the postseason (Kurt Thomas, Keith Bogans, Brian Scalabrine). Sprinkle in some Joakim Noah for flavor, and you’ve got a recipe for success that the entire NBA universe seems to want a taste of right now.
"Management did a great job in putting people in place here that are just good guys," Gibson said. "From Derrick all the way to Omer, everybody is team-oriented. Everybody just does their job. We just get it. There are no selfish guys. A lot of guys turn down shots to get the open man, and that’s what’s great about our team. Everyone understands that when you win, everybody gets a piece of the pie."
Whether or not the Bulls do end up winning a championship this summer, the success they’ve had is undeniable, and it’s becoming less and less mysterious as to the reasons why.
Larry Brown Contacted UNLV About Coaching
It has been discussed previously in this space that Larry Brown had been thinking about a return to coaching, this time in the NCAA. Now, according to Sam Amick of SI.com, it appears as though Brown has zeroed in a school he’d be interested in taking over: the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
According to Amick, "Two sources close to Brown said he has been contact with Runnin’ Rebels athletic director Jim Livengood as recently as Wednesday about the (coaching) position and he is expecting to hear back soon."
Brown reportedly confirmed over the phone his contact with Livengood, but wouldn’t go into specifics about what those conversations may have entailed.
It’s unclear what sort of shot Brown has of actually landing the UNLV job. He hasn’t coached in the NCAA in 23 years and, at age 70, isn’t exactly a guy you’d be bringing in for a long-term solution at a school.
Livengood has said previously that the favorites for the job included former Sacramento Kings and New Mexico State head coach Reggie Theus, BYU associate head coach Dave Rice, St. John’s assistant coach Mike Dunlap, and former Oregon coach Ernie Kent. However, as they always do, boosters may inject their opinions into the matter, and that’s where Brown could eventually win out.
Rice and Theus are considered the favorites because both played for the program and Rice was even an assistant there for 11 years. But turning down a coaching legend like Brown may prove a difficult thing to do. And even if they are able to do so, it seems as though Brown will turn his attentions elsewhere. If he’s this serious about coaching college again, there’s a program somewhere that will give him that opportunity, even if it’s not UNLV.
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