July 1, 2012 7:22PM
HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – If you thought three years and $34 million was too much for the Boston Celtics to offer Kevin Garnett at 36, you’re going to cringe at what the Toronto Raptors are reportedly offering Steve Nash, 38, to return home to his native Canada to continue his career.
But if you feel the way we do about both of these NBA elder statesmen, the three years and $36 million the Raptors put on the table to Nash, per ESPN.com‘s Marc Stein, is right on the money for a player that could make the Raptors a factor in the Eastern Conference playoff chase as well as revive a franchise.
The Raptors are just one of several teams believed to be in the running for Nash, who is also being courted in free agency by the Suns, Mavericks and Nets. But they are the only one of the four capable of offering the two-time MVP the chance to come home and put more than just his face on Canadian basketball for generations of fans both old and young.
Nash playing for the home team would cause havoc, the good kind, for the Raptors. He would also be reunited with Raptors boss Bryan Colangelo, who as an executive in Phoenix years ago acquired Nash in free agency and set him on the path to those two MVPs.
But there is work to be done if the Raptors want to make this hoop dream a reality:
It has been widely anticipated that Phoenix would offer him a new two-year deal worth at least $20 million, but it remains to be seen how far Suns owner Robert Sarver will go when the bids start coming in.
The Arizona Republic reported Friday night that the Suns “do not appear willing to meet (Nash’s) wish for a three-year deal” and Suns officials are already fighting the perception that they selected North Carolina point guard Kendall Marshall with the 13th pick in Thursday night’s draft as the first step in dealing with Nash’s eventual departure.
Nash earned nearly $12 million last season and averaged 12.5 points and 10.7 assists for a team that, with no 20-point scorer, nearly snagged the last playoff spot in the West.
Nash was born in South Africa but is a Canadian citizen and was even hired in May as general manager of the Canadian men’s basketball team.
This process will take better shape Monday, after Deron Williams meets with the Mavericks and Nets. If he makes an immediate decision about his future it should clear things up considerably for Nash, who has not set a timetable for finalizing his future plans.