Tons of Steve Nash trade chatter, none of it from Phoenix

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Suddenly everybody wants to talk about where Steve Nash is going to end up, he is second on the “most discussed trade” hit parade, right behind Carmelo Anthony, and everyone is speculating about an end destination.

How about Phoenix?

For all the talk, there are a number of reasons that the Suns are just not likely to move Nash at all. At least not this year, maybe not ever. That list starts with they don’t really want to — look at Alvin Gentry’s quote today (via the twitter account of Paul Coro from the Arizona Republic).

“Steve’s not going to be traded, that I can tell you. If he’s traded, I’m going along with him, OK?”

There’s a lot of Nash chatter out there, but none of it is emanating from Phoenix. It’s front office, media and fans outside Arizona salivating at the thought of how Nash can help them. And you can see the logic because if the Suns are out of contention in the West they should get something for Nash while they can.

But the Suns just signed Nash to an extension, he is the face of the franchise. They are not just going to jettison him because they are having a slow start to the season — or even if that start continues. To trade Nash is to commit fully and totally to rebuilding, and while you may think the Suns should do that they will say they made it to the Western Conference finals last season, that this team is still coming together and it is too soon.

Even if the Suns do change their mind and decide to trade him, it’s not that easy. Zach Lowe over at the Point Forward lays out a litany of reasons.

For one, Nash is 37 with a history of back trouble — he’s still an elite point guard but there are risks. Because of those he is only going to a team that thinks they can win it all right now. The pool of teams that should really flip assets for him and a run at it all is not that large.

Then the question is what are you going to give the Suns — if they trade Nash then they would let Jefferson go at the end of the season and so they would already have plenty of salary cap space. The Suns will want players and picks, not just expiring deals.

What potentially contending teams is out there that has young assets to trade and doesn’t already have a quality point guard? Nash is a bad fit with the Lakers, the Celtics don’t need him, Miami doesn’t have the assets nor do they want to take the ball out of Wade and LeBron’s hands. The best fit for Nash might be Atlanta — finally they would finally run more — but you’re going to have to do better than just Marvin Williams to make it happen. Josh Smith? That’s a steep price.

If you’re not a contending team with Nash, what’s the point? He’s going to walk away from the game in a couple more years and when he leaves you will have lost him and some young talent sent away to get him. If you’re flipping young prospects you need to be all in for the now.

Knicks fans, what do you really have to offer? Raymond Felton, the bloated Eddie Curry contract the Suns don’t really need and Gallinari? That’s going to inspire them?

As Lowe points out, if you’re the Suns and you are going to go all in on rebuilding, then they are going to make you take the Hedo Turkoglu contract on as the price for getting Nash. That is the bad contract they want to shed. So, if you have to give up more pieces to get Hedo and watch him float through games, is it still worth trading the assets for Nash?

More likely? Nash retires a Sun. A trade would not be a shock, but first the Suns need to decide they want o do it then someone has to blow them away with an offer. And that combo just seems very unlikely.

Hawks GM: We might have traded up with Bucks if their draft pick didn’t leak first

AP Photo/Kevin Hagen
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Let’s pick up with the No. 16 pick in last night’s NBA draft.

The Suns were on the clock and planning to pick Donte DiVincenzo. John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7:

But then 76ers called Phoenix about trading No. 10 pick Mikel Bridges for the No. 16 pick and a future first-rounder. The teams agreed to the deal (causing this heartbreaking moment), and the Suns picked Zhaire Smith for Philadelphia.

The next three picks:

17. Donte DiVincenzo, Bucks

18. Lonnie Walker, Spurs

19. Kevin Huerter, Hawks

Atlanta general manager Travis Schlenk on 95.7 The Game, via ESPN:

“Last night, for instance, we had the 19th pick, and we’re coming down and we’re actually talking to Milwaukee on the 17th pick, talking about trading up to get a guy we like,” Schlenk said. “There’s were a couple of guys we felt really good about on the 19th pick, obviously Kevin [Huerter] was one of them, and it leaked who Milwaukee was going to take.

“So, all of a sudden, we were able to pull back out of that deal and keep the draft pick instead of packaging picks to move up because we knew that, two guys on the board we felt really good about and only one team in between us, so that was beneficial to us last night.”

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports and Jeff Goodman of ESPN reported the Bucks picking DiVincenzo at 9:18 p.m.:

The pick became official at 9:22 p.m.:

Clearly, Atlanta wanted Huerter or “Mystery Player Not Named Donte DiVincenzo.”* Once they learned Milwaukee would take DiVincenzo at No. 17, the Hawks knew at least one of Huerter or “Mystery Player Not Named Donte DiVincenzo” would be available at No. 19.

*I think there’s a good chance it was Walker, whom San Antonio picked No. 18.

That saved the Hawks an asset(s) and cost the Bucks an asset(s), though perhaps Milwaukee couldn’t have gotten DiVincenzo at No. 19. Maybe the Spurs would’ve selected him at No. 18.

Still, the Bucks didn’t protect their internal plans well enough. Maybe that’s an organizational flaw. But this also could have been a fluky sequence of events. Perhaps, after hearing Phoenix would take DiVincenzo, someone in Milwaukee felt comfortable sharing that the Bucks wanted him. Then, when he surprisingly fell, it was too late. The information was already out there – allowing Atlanta to stand pat.

Danny Ainge unwittingly leaks Celtics’ draft pick on call with Terry Rozier during live show (video)

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Terry Rozier takes solace in how much Danny Ainge believes in him.

But I didn’t appreciate how deep their bond went.

Appearing on Bleacher Report’s live draft show, Rozier was asked to predict the Celtics’ No. 27 pick. So, Rozier called Ainge to ask. Shockingly, Ainge answered – with Boston on the clock. Almost certainly not knowing the call was public and live, Ainge revealed the likely selection:

Good thing the Celtics stuck with Robert Williams. That would have been extremely awkward otherwise.

As is, it was only a little awkward. Williams said today he doesn’t like to be called Bob.

Report: Rival teams expect Paul George to consider 1+1 contract with Thunder

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Paul George has openly stated the appeal of playing for his hometown Lakers. He has also openly stated the appeal of staying with the Thunder.

That has created significant confusion about his upcoming free agency.

Could George find a compromise outcome?

Marc Stein of The New York Times in his newsletter:

More than one rival team has suggested to me that they expect George to strongly consider a two-year deal with the Thunder at $30.3 million next season and $32.7 million in 2019-20 that includes a player option to return to free agency next summer.

This makes sense on paper.

A 1+1 contract would give George more time to determine whether he and Russell Westbrook can win together in Oklahoma City without getting stuck there long-term if they can’t. The Thunder were starting to put it together when Andre Roberson got hurt. Perhaps, Roberson getting healthy would swing Oklahoma City’s fortunes.

George would also be eligible for a higher max salary in two years – 35% of the salary cap, up from 30% if he signs now. So, a short-term contract would allow him to maximize his potential earnings.

But George said he wanted to sign somewhere long-term this summer. He also suffered an extremely gruesome leg injury just a few years ago. He might not want to bypass guaranteed money to gamble for a little more later.

Are these rival teams just looking at the general outlook for a player in George’s position without considering his specific circumstances? Or do they know something? George could have informed teams he might become available in 2019 or 2020 so they should prepare.

I’m skeptical this is more than speculation by opposing teams. But the possibility that they’re basing their expectations on inside information makes this worth monitoring.

Heartbreaking: Watch Mikal Bridges explain joy of joining hometown 76ers while they trade him to Suns (video)

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Mikal Bridges‘ mom jumped up, pumped her fists and screamed “Yes!” through her giant grin.

The 76ers – the organization she works for in human resources – had just drafted her son No. 10 overall. Bridges, a Philadelphia native who played at Villanova, seemed as if he’d stay home for his pro career.

Bridges:

She’s very, very excited. She’s been wanting this. She’s probably more excited than I am. She was about to cry and all that. She said she didn’t want to ruin her makeup, so she’d try to hold it in. But no, she’s very excited. I’m her only son. I’m a little mama’s boy. Her son is right there around the corner again, and it’s just really cool.

Except, as Bridges was talking, the 76ers were trading him to the Suns for No. 16 pick Zhaire Smith and the Heat’s unprotected 2021 first-rounder.

That extra pick carries major value. Even if you like Bridges much more than Smith – which I did, especially considering their fits in Philadelphia – that’s hard to pass up. The NBA is a business after all.

But it’s lamentable how this played out.