Steve Nash made headlines yesterday, telling reporters he’d consider signing with the Knicks this summer.
“The Knicks are a great franchise and I live in New York City (each summer), so I’d definitely consider them if they were interested,” the Phoenix Suns’ mainstay said at a promotional appearance in Manhattan.
Is he serious? Is he a great big tease? The NBA equivalent of that 11th-grade cheerleader that deigns to talk to the guys in the band, but wouldn’t even consider joining one on a date? Or is he going with the Scott Boras Memorial “let’s use a New York team to drive up my price in free agency” plan?
Maybe none of the above.
I don’t think Nash is using the Knicks to drive up his asking price for one simple reason: the Knicks can’t offer near as much as other teams. If the NBPA wins the “Bird Rights for Waived Players” case, giving the Knicks the option to exceed the cap to re-sign Jeremy Lin and Steve Novak, they’ll be able to offer Nash the full mid-level exception – about $5 million in the first year. The Suns reportedly willing to pay about twice that, and about half the league will be able to equal that offer.
If the union loses the Lin case, the Knicks’ options will be even more limited. They could still offer Nash the full MLE, but that would probably mean losing Lin and Novak and taking themselves out of the running for any other free-agent additions.
Getting the Knicks involved in the bidding doesn’t change Nash’s earnings potential one iota.
So is it just a tease? I suspect not. Nash is a smart guy, and one who has reportedly taken care of his money. I think he’ll honestly consider whether or not he wants to play out the last couple seasons of his career in his adopted home city.
Besides… what was he supposed to say? He was at a promotional event… in New York… alongside Clyde freakin’ Frazier. You don’t have to be a public relations genius to know that dismissing the Knicks would be a major gaffe in that setting.
Is Jeremy Lin a long-term solution for the Knicks?
He’d better be. Because he could cost the team a shot at one of the big-name point guards who will hit free agency this summer.
Howard Beck of the New York Times explained Lin’s contract status in a series of posts on Twitter:
In other words, the maximum other teams will be able to offer Lin this summer will be approximately $5 million. The Knicks will be able to offer that much – and possibly a little more – via the mid-level exception. So the Knicks should be able to retain the services of their newfound superstar.
But here’s the problem – spending that $5 million exception to retain Lin means the Knicks won’t be able to use it to sign some other free agent this summer. And there are a lot of big-name point guards set to hit the open market after this season, including Steve Nash.
Of course – there’s no guarantee that the Knicks’ $5 million exception would be enough to land Nash – there are already rumors that he’s mulling a more lucrative deal that would close out his playing career in Phoenix. And the Knicks’ track record in landing their most coveted free agents leaves something to be desired anyway. And maybe having just one offseason without any major additions would benefit the team in the long term.
But the fact remains – if the Knicks do decide that Lin is the point guard of the future… they’d better be right.
Some thoroughly useless 2012 NBA All-Star factoids. Darren Rovell, eat your heart out.
- Steve Nash – who celebrated his 38th birthday on February 7 – is the oldest player on either all-star roster. Paul Pierce and Dirk Nowitzki are the only other 2012 all-stars with birth dates in the 1970s.
- Blake Griffin is the youngest star. He’ll turn 23 in March.
- There are seven first-time all-stars this year, including one starter – Western Conference center Andrew Bynum.
- Kobe Bryant will be making his 14th appearance. Nowitzki (11th) and Pierce (10th) are also in double-figures.
- The Heat are the best-represented team with three all-stars. Miami, the Lakers and the Clippers all had multiple players voted into the starting lineups. Oklahoma City and Chicago are the only other teams with two all-stars.
- UCLA is the only college program with more than one all-star this year; the Bruins are represented by Kevin Love and Russell Westbrook.
More, along with a complete rundown of this year’s selections and snubs, at About.com Basketball – 2012 NBA All-Stars.