Ever since the great Terry Porter left the Rose City at the end of the 1995 season, the Trail Blazers, and their fans, have been searching for the "Point Guard of the Future." Yet, 17 years later, the search still continues. Since the 2006 season, Portland has tried five different Opening Night starters: Sebastian Telfair (2006), Jarrett Jack (2007), Steve Blake (2008,2009), Andre Miller (2010), Raymond Felton (2011). That has to change. A point guard acts as a floor general, relaying the coach's orders as well as executing the game plan to a tee. It's their job to get everyone else involved and into a nice rhythm as well as figuring out the right time and place to score. For the Trail Blazers, the search to finding the ever-allusive PGOTF could come full circle the moment the free agency moratorium period ends on July 11th, 2012. And according to ESPN.com's Marc Stein, Steve Nash is atop that list
Sources briefed on the matter told ESPN.com that the three teams with salary-cap space best positioned to make a credible run at the 38-year-old, at this early juncture, are Portland, Toronto and Brooklyn (should the Nets lose D-Will).
New York and Miami are also frequently mentioned as potential Nash destinations, but neither the Knicks nor the Heat have the requisite cap room to make a serious bid. The Blazers, by contrast, have coveted Nash for years in trades and will finally have the financial flexibility to chase him, offering the closest proximity to Nash’s Vancouver roots than anywhere else on the NBA map among other perks. Sources say that the Raptors, meanwhile, will be determined suitors in the Nash Sweepstakes, with a serious offer forthcoming to try to bring the newly installed general manager of Canada’s national team back to home soil after 16 seasons south of the border with the Suns and Mavericks.
Two things immediately jump off the page after reading what Stein had to write. First, that's heavy competition for the two-time NBA MVP. The Heat made it all the way to the NBA Finals in 2011 and are in the midst of another deep playoff run as I type this. We all know Steve is 38 years old and is wanting to finally playing under the spotlight of the Finals. And being the table-setter for Wade, James, and Bosh could end up ultimately getting him that championship he's sought after.
Then there's the Knicks. Sure, the Mike D'Antoni connection is no longer in play after he and the Knicks split ways earlier this spring, but his former pick and roll partner, Amar'e Stoudemire is in the Big Apple. Along with Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony provides Nash with a wing outlet and Defensive Player of the Year Tyson Chandler patrols the paint, giving Nash a sense of security on defense.
And secondly, is Steve Nash the answer for the Trail Blazers? The key word in "Point Guard of the Future" is FUTURE. And despite how well Nash is playing this late into his career, their is only so much tread left on those tires.
He said many times late in the regular season that he’ll listen to any pitch that comes this summer, hoping that the next contract he signs -- preferably for three seasons -- will be his last.
One of the options I've been contemplating lately is drafting a point guard at No. 6 or No. 11 and letting the Hall of Fame Nash, should he sign in Portland, mentor him. It would be the best of both worlds. Nash runs the offense, gets everyone involved but always doesn't need to play 35 minutes (Nash hasn't logged more than 34 minutes per game since 2008) a night which would allow the rookie some meaningful training on the job before ultimately taking over a couple of years down the road. But that's my take. What do think Rip City? Would it work out? Is three years of Steve Nash better than zero years? Or should Portland look in a younger direction?