Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Bill Simmons And ESPN's Trade Machine: The Steve Nash Trade Speculation

My favorite website right now is Grantland.  I cannot get enough of it, and if there is an article posted on it that I remotely think I'll be interested in, I will read it.  It may be just a phase, but I really like what they have going on down there in LA.

I'm not sure, but I think that Bill Simmons may have been one of the first people I heard talk about Portland trading for Steve Nash.  And that was a couple of years ago now.  He's definitely been driving the bandwagon of the idea.  But now that Steve Nash is in the last year of his contract (a contract that is not extension-eligible), I don't think the trade rumors involving Portland and Nash are not going to quiet down any time soon.  Not with ESPN's Hollinger, Marc Stein and Simmons already bantering about it.

This morning, as Bill Simmons loves to do, he played around with the ESPN trade machine and nearly blew my mind with one of the fake trades he came up with.

"But what if the Blazers offered Raymond Felton, Nic Batum (whom they just passed on extending) and $3 million for Nash, with the wink-wink caveat that Phoenix then had to buy out his buddy Grant Hill's contract so Hill could sign with Portland? Could you go to war in the 2012 playoffs with LaMarcus Aldridge, Gerald Wallace, Marcus Camby, Wesley Matthews, Jamal Crawford, Hill, Kurt Thomas, Craig Smith and a rejuvenated-by-the-Pacific Northwest-and-a-title-shot-and-Rip City Steve Nash? Hell yeah! I haven't been this excited for a fake trade in years. Naturally, that means it won't happen.

So yeah, during a normal season, "Felton and Batum to rent Nash for three months and hopefully re-sign him" would seem excessive. But this season? You should bang it out without blinking."

I personally have made no secret that I think it's a good time to finally part ways with Nicolas Batum.  Even at the end of last season, I thought it was a good time then to pull the trigger.  So though this fake trade of Simmons' exists only in dreamland at the moment, and will probably never happen, it's sure fun to think about it.

Here are some random thoughts about the Blazers potentially making the move for Nash, in no particular order.
  • The folks over at Bright Side of the Sun seem to be scoffing at all this recent trade talk regarding Nash.  They don't believe it nor do they like it one bit.  The main reason they state as to why the deal makes no sense, is that Nash's "style" doesn't fit with how the Blazers play.  And yes, that's a very valid point.  But...
  • With the level at which the guards are currently playing at, I don't care what style Steve Nash plays.  He would be an instant upgrade over what Portland has out there right now. 
  • Giving up Felton and Batum and renting Steve Nash for half of a season seems risky.  But there is a chance Nash would re-sign with the Blazers.  It's not like Steve Nash has tons of other options at this stage of his career.  And I know for a fact that Steve Nash would LOVE playing in the city of Portland (insert your own hippie-themed joke here).
  • If Nash didn't re-sign here and the Blazers were left hurting for a point guard, how is that any different from the plight of the Blazers over the past few years.  How many years now has Portland had what you could call a "point guard issue" or some degree of weakness at the position?  I'm not sure what free agent point guards would be available, but surely the Blazers could find at least one guy that was comparable or better than a Raymond Felton, right?
  • What I'm trying to say is that losing Raymond Felton isn't going to break this team.  He's replaceable, folks.
  • The Blazers passing on extending Batum seemed to hurt his feelings a little bit.  At least his agent was pretty pissed off about it.  Right now, I think the chances are 50-50 that Batum will end up playing somewhere else next year.  So rather than letting him walk and getting nothing back, get something back that will drastically help the team, as an upgrade at PG with Steve Nash will surely accomplish.
  • As a Blazer fan, I'm way past the point of getting emotionally attached to anyone that is currently playing for Portland.  I've learned my lesson.  Whether it's losing guys to trades or injuries (lately, it's been more of the latter), it doesn't pay off if you get attached to any one player.  Fans will always get burned in the end.  Not sure about y'all, but all I want Portland to do is win.  Whatever player combination can get that done does not matter to me anymore.
  • Last thing.  I know it looks good just on paper, but I sure as hell can get on board with going on a title run with a lineup that looks something like this.  Starters -- LaMarcus Aldridge, Gerald Wallace, Marcus Camby, Wesley Matthews and Steve Nash.  Bench -- Kurt Thomas, Craig Smith, Grant Hill and a Nolan Smith/Elliot Williams combo backing up Nash at PG.  I mean, holy sh!t people.  I like Portland's chances in the playoffs with that lineup as much as any other team out there.  Especially this year, where you can't say with any certainty who will be crowned champion at the end of the year.
Sometimes I think it would be great if Bill Simmons was commissioner of the league for a season or two.  Some of the stuff he comes up with would be great for the NBA.