J.A. Adande isn’t necessarily the go-to guy for rumor mill info. But his game stories are always fun reads. Even if they’ve been told a million times by others. Covering the Suns-Lakers game for ESPN, Adande posted on TrueHoop his version of a story that has been told millions of times: the story of Steve Nash not asking the Suns for a trade.
He concludes, like pretty much everyone else on the matter, that Nash will not be traded and will leave after the season as a free agent. But, like everyone else, Adande likes to speculate about what the best destinations for Nash are:
… And you don’t need to have a vested interest in Nash to be curious to see what it would be like for him to chase a ring.
As strongly as the Miami Heat are coming on, they could still use a veteran point guard. Nash could help the Philadelphia 76ers with their halfcourt offense. And we all know the Lakers could use more from their point guards although he wouldn’t help with their defensive issues at the position.
Yes, he includes the Sixers among the contending teams that could trade for Nash. Which says a few things:
1. The Sixers’ perception on a national level as a contender has risen fairly high in a short period of time, which may be premature.
2. There are a lot of teams that really don’t need point guards, and he valued these three among contenders that could use a new one.
Regardless of whether this actually has a chance of happening, it’s an interesting idea, no? As evidenced last night, against good defenses the Sixers struggle in their half court sets.
What would the Sixers be forced to give up? Another good question. Jrue Holiday, for me, could not be involved in the trade package. You can only assume that Nash would be a rent-a-player, and Jrue would still be the guy for when he leaves. His struggles this year notwithstanding, he still has a bright (if not blindingly sunny) future. Lou Williams makes a lot more sense for us- he would essentially replace Nash in Phoenix but keep the 21 year old point guard in the fold. The Sixers would still have to give up young players and/or draft picks. Evan Turner fits as the prize of the trade, along with a first rounder. And in order to convince Phoenix, we swap a couple of contracts. Here’s the result:
So if you can’t see that, here’s the trade:
|Philadelphia Receives:||Phoenix Receives:|
|Steve Nash||Lou Williams|
|Josh Childress||Evan Turner|
|2012 1st round pick|
The salaries work, as depicted above. The Suns get a young player to build around, a first round pick, and another younger player in Lou Williams to finish out the season and possibly move forward with (Lou may have an opt-out clause after this season – of this I’m not sure). They also get salary relief despite trading for younger players under contract, with Andres Nocioni’s expiring deal exchanged for Josh Childress’ longer contract. I think this would be enough, but a swap of Robin Lopez for Nikola Vucevic could also be added into the trade.
So, given the above trade as pictured, let’s look at the new roster:
|G Steve Nash||G Jrue Holiday|
|G Jodie Meeks||F Thaddeus Young|
|F Andre Iguodala||C Nikola Vucevic|
|F Elton Brand||F Josh Childress|
|C Spencer Hawes||F Lavoy Allen|
I put Jrue Holiday on the bench over Jodie Meeks, because somehow Meeks still fits with the lineup than his potential replacements. Holiday would still be a 30+ minute per game guy in this scenario, as he becomes the primary backup at both guard positions. Childress would serve as Iguodala’s backup. The bigs’ roles don’t change, provided everyone is healthy. I especially like the passing options. In the starting 5, the Sixers have three well above average passers, provided Hawes gets healthy before the end of the season. It has good mid-range (Brand) and three point (Meeks) shooting in the other two spots. While not the prototypical Steve Nash team, I believe this could really work if given time to gel. It’s a combination to dream about.
Unfortunately, time is of the essence. A shortened season with little practice time does not lend itself to a team making a mid-season trade. And the Sixers, the poster children for continuity, likely wouldn’t make a trade to damage their chemistry. But it’s fun to speculate and imagine “what if?” Especially when it involves a player as fun (and good) as Steve Nash.