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.