NBA Trade Machine Challenge: Free Steve Nash from Phoenix

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The Sports Guy refers to himself as the Picasso of ESPN’s NBA Trade Machine.  Well if he is Picasso then The Sports Bank‘s Peter Christian and David Kay are the da Vinci and van Gogh of the trade machine (though neither would cut their own ear off while working on a trade… or at least I don’t think.)

In this new feature, Peter and David will play the role of NBA general manager.  One will propose a challenge to the other to make a trade happen with certain requirements and the other will accept the mission like he were Tom Cruise and explain why all parties involved would pull the trigger on the deal.  You can check out our first challenge when Peter blew up the Pistons roster.

David, Your challenge is as follows: You are Steve Nash’s agent. You need to facilitate a trade which nets the Suns a younger player to be the next face of the team. You know the team is ultimately more concerned with keeping season ticket holders than winning so it has to be someone to fill seats. However, your ultimate goal is to land your client on a team where he can contend for a title immediately. Can you handle it? Ready, go.

(DK) First of all, it should be noted that despite the Suns’ struggles this season, Nash has stated that he will not demand a trade from the desert.  But since this is make believe anyway, I plow forward…

Under your stipulations, there are only a handful of teams that fit this description as to where Nash could end up.  Most of the playoff teams are set at point guard with the exception of Miami, Atlanta, and the Lakers.  You include borderline playoff teams like Houston, Portland, Memphis, and Charlotte but there is no way Nash wants to end up with the Grizzlies or Bobcats.  So that leaves the Heat, Hawks, Lakers, Rockets, and Blazers.

We can eliminate the Heat as a possible trade suitor since they do not have any valuable pieces to trade except for the Big 3 and there is no way any of them are getting dealt for Nash.  Phoenix will certainly want Nicolas Batum in return from Portland and since the Blazers do not want to part ways with Batum, we can cross the Blazers off the list.

Atlanta has some interesting trade pieces; Marvin Williams, Jamal Crawford and his expiring contract, a young point guard in Jeff Teague, but nothing that helps that immediate re-building project unless they were willing to part ways with Al Horford or Josh Smith which I doubt they would be willing to do.

Now we are down to two teams; Houston and the Lake Show but neither has the young talent the Suns are looking for to be the next face of the franchise so a third and possible fourth team must be involved.

Here is the trade I was able to facilitate:

Rockets Get: Steve Nash, Grant Hill, Hamed Haddadi

Suns Get: O.J. Mayo, Aaron Brooks, Jordan Hill, Jared Jefferies, DeMarre Carroll, Rockets 2011 1st round pick

Grizzlies Get: Courtney Lee, Josh Childress, Magic 2011 1st round pick (Suns own rights)

Click here to view the trade using ESPN’s trade machine.

Phoenix was obviously reluctant to trade Nash within their division to the Lakers and the only real trade piece the Lake Show has is Andrew Bynum who the Suns were not interested in acquiring due to his past medical issues.

With this deal, the Suns acquire three talented young players with Mayo obviously being the biggest name of that group.  Hill is an Arizona guy so he has ties to the Phoenix area which should help keep the fans coming.  Brooks is the reigning NBA Most Improved Player who has battled injury this year but could be the point guard of the future.  Jefferies and Carroll are expiring contracts that help Phoenix free up some cap space since they also included Josh Childress and the remaining four years of his deal in the trade.  The Suns also trade up from the Magic’s first round pick which figures to be around 25th overall to the Rockets first round pick which could be anywhere from 12th-19th so potentially, the Suns could have two lottery picks in this year’s draft.

The Rockets get a true floor leader in Nash, something the team has been lacking even though Kyle Lowry has played well at the point this season.  They acquire another veteran in Grant Hill who is having a productive season.  Adding these two players should be enough to get the Rockets into one of the top eight spots in the Western Conference this season without putting them in a terrible financial bind for the future.

O.J. Mayo trade

As for Memphis, O.J. Mayo has been in the doghouse most of the season and is in need of a change of scenery (hence why the Knicks have reportedly contacted Memphis about Mayo going to Denver in a potential deal that lands ‘Melo in New York.)  The Griz replace him with Courtney Lee and Josh Childress and also add a first round pick out of the deal.

(PC) The only person I see that might be unhappy with this trade is Nash himself. While I think he would be a great fit with the Rockets’ roster on paper (especially Luis Scola), I’m not sure he makes them in instant contender in the West. However, since this is Steve Nash and he seemingly never complains about anything, he’d likely accept the trade.

The Rockets would love to pull the trigger though as they are only 3 games out of the playoff picture currently and above them are Denver (expected free fall as soon as Melo is traded),  Portland (DECIMATED by injuries) and Memphis (losing their best defender). This trade definitely makes them playoff bound.

Phoenix and Memphis would both likely need some greasing to be coaxed into the deal and the inclusion of picks would definitely help.

All in all, the trade is a little rough around the edges to be considered a masterpiece, but it was a tough scene to paint in the first place, so I’ll give it a solid “thumbs up.”

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