Jun 22

Report: Steve Nash's Shortlist Includes Trail Blazers

By DHawes22 Posted in: 2012draft, Blazers, damianlillard, Raptors, stevenash, Suns

NBA Draft coverage has taken center stage in Rip City, and for good reason, June 28th is less than a week away. The talk of the town has been how Portland can replicate that legendary draft of 2006 which brought LaMarcus Aldridge and Brandon Roy into the fold. For now, free agency has been put on the back burner. But it's about to heat up.

Back on June 4th, ESPN's Marc Stein reported that the Trail Blazers were among three teams chasing Steve Nash.

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. 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.

For fans, the thought of the two-time MVP finishing out his career in Portland would be a dream come true. However, the following evening when the Trail Blazers hired former Clippers General Manager Neil Olshey to captain the ship, Olshey appeared to make it evident in his introductory press conference that he was all about sustainable success for the long-term; no temporary solutions in the Rose City.

I think rebuild is the wrong word. I think retool. I think that the organization is in a great position. It takes a lot of time and effort, we did it a couple of years ago to have basically all three elements converging at once. Two lottery picks, cap room and then flexibility with your own and other free agents. So I think as those things converge as long as we make the right decisions in the draft and free agency and with the guys we retain on our roster we can accelerate our curve back to where we want to go. But I want to make it clear we’re not looking for quick fixes. We’re not looking for aging veterans that can slide us into the eighth spot and then we’re right back here a year from now trying to figure out what to do.

Two phrases: quick fixes, aging veterans. All signs seemed to have pointed in another direction. But did Steve Nash get the memo? Toronto Raptors radio analyst and 590 The Fan host, Eric Smith reported the following:

"I heard from national-media types from around the U.S., and at least one prominent agent as well, that believe that Steve Nash has a shortlist," Smith said.

"From what I have heard from these people, and they could be wrong, but these are coming from some pretty legitimate sources, it is a three-team race for Steve Nash in free agency: Portland, Phoenix and Toronto," Smith explained.

Swap Brooklyn for Phoenix and these declarations line up with Stein's report from 18 days ago. Maybe Olshey's remarks were a smokescreen? Maybe he doesn't classify Nash as an "aging veteran" as the 38-year-old point guard has averaged a double-double over the past three years and shows no signs of slowing down. Or maybe we all dissected his words too much? I'm leaning towards the latter.

According to ESPN's Chad Ford, the team is very high on Weber State point guard Damian Lillard. But would they be comfortable handing over the keys to the Trail Blazers' offense to a 22-year-old rookie?
Of the teams he's worked out for, it sounds like the Blazers are the highest on him. He had a very strong workout in Portland that ended with a dinner invite from Paul Allen. The question is whether the Blazers take him at No. 6 or No. 11.

Would Nash, likely seeking a three-year deal at most, be just the man for the job? Personally, this is the perfect scenario for me. Lillard, one of the most lethal scorers in all of college basketball and one of my favorite prospects in this draft class, is knocked for not being a "true" or "pure" point guard; whatever that means. There's no denying his strength lies in putting the ball in the basket, more so than making plays for others. So, what better point guard to learn under then the NBA's 5th most proficient passer of all-time?

And it's not as if Lillard, or any young point guard, wouldn't get any run behind Nash, either. Nash hasn't logged more than 34 minutes per game over each of the past four years, which would allow any apprentice plenty of practice running the team before it was time for him to replace the master.

What do you think, Rip City? Is Nash/rookie point guard, the solution at point for Portland? Or would you go another route to find the answer? Tell me your ideal way to find the elusive Point Guard of the Future!


  1. DHawes22:
    I think Steve Nash would be great at teaching Kendall Marshall tee hee.
    Everybody is saying Drummand is dropping, but actually It is Lillard and Waiters raising that is dropping the top picks down. Drummand is still slated to go 6th, 7th and 8th. Drummand is a whole lot like Amarê Stoudemire was. And think what Nash did for him.
    Actually he could do the same for either Lillard or Marshall. IMO, Marshall would be easier to teach.
    I wouldn't mind getting Drummand and Lillard, but I would not want to get Lillard at the expense of Drummand, that is why I keep going with Drummand and Marshall.
    Of course none of us knows what the FO is thinking, but my guess would be if we did get Nash, we would get a PG with the 11th or 2nd round.
    Last: I watched Drummand in the Sac work out and let me tell you I liked everything I saw.

    by Hg on 6/22/2012 9:51 PM
  2. how much do you think Nash is going to cost us, 3 years 40 million? if we sign nash, do you think we can still keep batum? here is my thought, I would love to see nash and Lillard together. Nash is a great mentor to the team, he makes everyone around him better on and off the court. In 3 years I can see Lillard being the man. I can see pgof in him if we sign nash.

    2012 Blazers roster:

    Joel/ Leonard (draft w/11th pick)

    For additional members, we need sign vets with high clouts. Any recommendation?

    by Brock on 6/23/2012 3:30 AM
  3. 2012 Roster
    PG: Collison, Calderon, Nolan. we will trade either Jamal or the rights to Freeland and 11 for Collison and Indy's 26th pick. buy Calderon from amnesty and use Nolan as a combo guard,
    2GD: EWill, Wesley, Batum, and Nolan. It is my opinion that we will use Nic at the two quite often until EWill gets more Clout as you say.
    SF: Nic, Luke and guessing that a SF will be drafted with Indy's 26 pick or one of our 40th or 41 pick, remember this is a deep draft.
    PF: LMA, Hickson, Batum or Babbitt????
    Center: DRUMMAND, LMA, Joel, and maybe Thomas, or if we keep Freeland, he would be used as a 4 or a 5, IMO, he would not make a good SF. not trained to be a wingman. In fact, I would train JJ to shoot better from the outside and use him when we really want to go big at the SF with Batum at 2GD,

    I think with Collison or Nash??? Wesley, Batum, LMA, (I use LMA because I don't want any reference to LA California LOL) Joel, maybe Thomas that would give us enough vets as we are on a rebuild and building primarily for the future.
    I believe Nash and NYK's will figure a way to get together, through trading of Players and a reduction of pay on Nash's part. Nash wants to be there, and Stoudemire wants him there for their big three. and maybe make NY a great contender.
    My starting five would be
    Joel. He will be stronger and in good shape next year.
    2nd Five:
    Drummand, not necessarily at the same time
    I believe LMA will play center much of the time with JJ at the four or if you wish LMA at the four and JJ at the five.

    by Hg on 6/23/2012 5:28 AM
  4. NASH Come to PORTLAND!!

    Drafting Lillard and signing Nash sounds like a perfect plan

    LMA and Nash could be deadlier than Stoudamire

    by D Licious on 6/23/2012 7:52 AM
  5. Nash would be a welcome addition to any team, but it's all about years and dollars. Those three teams are on his list because they can pay him more than the Heat and the Knicks for the last contract of his career. I don't think it's a jump to say he wants a 3rd year, which would make him 41 years old during its last year. 41! There's only been a handful of players to play in the league past 40 and they've been big men.

    Here's the only scenario where I think this is plausible, but it's highly unlikely: Olshey makes a trade, say Nic and the #6 pick, that brings us an All-Star caliber, veteran player who has been in the playoffs to put alongside LA that gives us a window for contending right now, not in two or five years (examples - and just examples! - Al Horford, Pau Gasol, Amare Stoudamire, Danny Granger). If we then have a window right now, then I think giving Nash a 3rd year makes sense even he's worthless in year three.

    by petro4three on 6/23/2012 8:31 AM
  6. Brock-
    I've always been under the impression that Nash isn't all about them money; he's made plenty over his career. I think at this point, it's more about fit, role, and comfortability or Nash. Playing in Portland would allow Nash to be as close as possible to his hometown of Vancouver, BC. So I would hope we could nab him for 3 years/30-33 million.

    by DHawes22 on 6/23/2012 9:31 AM
  7. petro-

    We can't trade Nic on draft night as he's a restricted free agent. I still don't think we have to go "All in" if we get Nash. If Steve's willing to come here, it acelerates the re-build. Aldridge and Nash is good enough to get us into the playoffs but we would also still have two young lottery picks, along with Elliot, and Batum to be apart of the team's future. Win-win situation.

    by DHawes22 on 6/23/2012 9:36 AM
  8. I like it. A lot.

    by occassia on 6/23/2012 10:15 AM
  9. My personal top 5 free agent priority list, I don't think we can afford Daron Williams:
    1.Roy Hibbert: 7'3'' all star that disrupted the Heat, how could we not throw as much money as possible to get him? LA and Hibbert would be one of the most dominating front courts in the league. Pacers might not be able to match a big offer. Screw Drummond, Hibbert is the franchise center we should go after.

    2. James Harden: Could be the ultimate B. Roy replacement, interesting to see what he could with his own team. Definitely don't want to overspend for him though, don't see him as a franchise player.

    3. Lou Williams: Led a damn good Philly team in scoring OFF THE BENCH. Underrated. Lou has potential to be an awesome point guard.

    4. Steve Nash: For obvious reason, it's Steve Nash. I just think we should throw our money at a long term asset with the cap space we have.

    5. OJ Mayo: Given the right scenario (like Portland, don't tell me EW and Nolan Smith are the future), Mayo could be an over 20 ppg combo guard. I don't think the Grizzlies want to pay him as much as some other teams do.

    Honorable mention: Aaron Brooks, Jeremy Lin (big market for him in Portland), KG, Jason Terry, Ray Allen

    by AusHall on 6/23/2012 10:37 AM
  10. I have always been a fan of Nash, and think he would be a great addition to our team. Him coupled with a rookie PG from draft night and our younger guards in EWill, Matthews, and Nolan spells a great future for the Blazers. I don't care if Nash is old, that will only effect his scoring, court vision doesn't diminish with age so he will always be a great assist guy. Nash is a class act and a great mentor and this team will be better with him on the team and once he retires. Draft night I think we should take Drummand (assuming he's available still at 6) then Marshall at 11 (I know everyone is high on Lillard, but if we get a young pass first PG I think it will be easier for Nash to mentor a rookie with a similar playing style). So my lineup for 2012 would be:

    Pryz/Drummand/Freeland (these 3, assuming Freeland comes to the NBA, are pretty interchangeable but I think Pryz gets the nod on opening night because he's a vet. I don't have the numbers, but Pryz wasn't a big minute guy so it gives lots of open minutes for either rookie center)

    If we make any trades I think it needs to be Matthews or EWill for a quality small forward. I love Nic playing the 2 guard position, but with both Matthews and EWill it's log jammed.

    by Scott Vokoun on 6/23/2012 10:47 AM
  11. Aus-

    I agree with you that Hibbert should be priority No. 1 IF he was unrestricted. I don't see any way the Pacers don't match. It would be a waste of time to tie up our money for three days, because Indy's sure to match.

    Harden won't be a free agent until 2013.

    LOVE Sweet Lou, but I'm not sure Philly lets him go. If we did sign him, we'd need to move Matthews so Elliot can start and Lou can be what we all envisioned Crawford being.

    by ClydeFrog on 6/23/2012 10:51 AM
  12. The only guys with half a chance of wearing a Portland jersey on Aus' list would be Harden (who as CF pointed out is a FA next season), Nash, and Brooks (former Oregon Duck returning from China). Hibbert isn't going anywhere. Sweet Lou is a piece of the Sixers. Mayo wouldn't be much of a character fit here, and would demand the rock a little too much. Lin having a bigger market here??? Than NY??? You can't be serious. The most we have for him are a starting spot and Nike's backyard. Jason Terry (Jet) isn't likely going anywhere, and has even less interest in Portland when my main man JCrossover gets moved. Ray Allen, love the guy, legendary, might bring Denzel Washington to a game at the RG, but he'd be a mentor, a Juwan Howard 2.0, not a big piece of a championship contender as he wants and deserves (again). I don't even need to start on KG.

    As for Dumb- er- Drummond, I can't see him as I saw Dwight Howard several years ago- someone who knew his flaws but knew his potential and worked hard to get himself to the elite status he is now. Drummond thinks he can do a lot, but he simply can't. He can make a highlight reel with a dunk or block, but he's lacking the work ethic. There's a reason his draft stock is falling; teams are seeing his okay workouts and realizing why he's high-risk in the first place. He's Kwame Brown with a better body. I feel like someone put a basketball in his hand because he was tall.

    Back to Steve Nash, the whole reason we're having these discussions: I don't think the Blazers sign him, unless their current plan falls through and he's still available at the time. He'd be an incredible mentor to the chosen PG (who I hope is Damian). The two dilemmas are the price point and Olshey's word. Would Nash take say a 2 yr/6 mil or even what we offered JJ/Nic to come here and be close to his Vancouver, B.C. heritage? Would that even fit the puzzle of moves this team will make this offseason? :: DHawes already covered Olshey's statement on aged players, and I echo DHawes' take on it.

    by RipCityVice on 6/23/2012 11:25 AM
  13. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=KPiGu8pWwLA

    DHawes22 this is a video of Drummand at Sactown. worth a look.

    by Hg on 6/23/2012 12:20 PM
  14. Here's my thoughts Portlands Starting Five:
    PG=Damien Lillard
    SG=Wesley Matthews
    SF=Nicolas Batum
    PF=Lamarcus Aldridge
    C=Meyers Leonard or Joel Pryzbilla

    by BlazerKing88 on 6/23/2012 1:52 PM
  15. Lillard at 6. Zeller or Leonard at 11, whichever is available. Resign Batum and sign Nash to help mold Lillard into our PG of the future. Nash is absolutely perfect for this type of situation and anyone who says otherwise doesn't truly understand the greatness of Nash and doesn't know basketball.

    We can then keep Przybilla and resign Hickson if we have enough money to do so. Przybilla will be in a lot better shape and be the rebounding and shot blocking machine he used to be.

    Wesley/Elliot Williams
    Aldridge/Hickson/Przybilla (3 man rotation for positions 4 and 5)

    by feelamp03 on 6/23/2012 1:58 PM
  16. Lillard at 6 wohooooooooooooo excited

    by FT on 6/23/2012 2:15 PM
  17. -Scott Vokoun
    Nice line up dude.. I would not mind drafting Andre at 6. and Marshall at 11. Nash can show Andre how to pick and role & Marshall how to play point. it's a win win combo. Andre Drummond is valued trade bait because he is a center. Point guard comes and go.. We could also go for superstar trade in the future because we have valuable perceives assets to do it. CAN'T WAIT TILL DRAFT NIGHT!!!

    by Brock on 6/23/2012 3:02 PM
  18. I'm not sold on Meyers Leonard (or any center in this draft) but adding Nash via free agency would make me feel a lot better if we did indeed draft a center. Nash just knows how to make others better. It'll be real interesting to see how Gortat does this year without Nash spoon-feeding him dimes right and left.

    by DHawes22 on 6/23/2012 3:18 PM
  19. Gortat is overvalued if you ask me. Much like Boris Diaw when he was in a Suns uniform. Anybody on the floor with Nash becomes better. Let's just hope that if we sign Nash the players stay better once his 2 or 3 seasons in Portland are done.

    by Scott Vokoun on 6/23/2012 3:27 PM
  20. That was just who I'd like to see, not guys who are likely to sign with us. Lin is one of those guys who aren't likely, but would definitely gain attraction from the heavy population of Asian-Americans in the area. I hope someone like Barnes falls to us and we're smart enough to nab him and possibly trade up for Lillard. If Meyers Leonard or especially Joel is out starting center, its going to be another long season. In his 4 years in the league, I don't see how Batum is a a part of a core for a championship team, but I guess he's only 23 so there is a lot of untapped potential left.

    by AusHall on 6/23/2012 4:32 PM
  21. Collison isn't & won't ever b Nash BUT IF we get Collison, we don't need Nash (@ Hg, ur proposal for Collison above is VERY fair & I think w/o hesitation Indy would do that; I believe however, we can get away w/ giving up slightly less AND get their 26th also ;). Don't get me wrong, I'm a fan of Nash & it WOULD b awesome to have him here but to get Nash it WILL cost (realistically/fairly I would say $33million for 3yrs; however, IF teams had the position, they WOULD overpay for him ~$40million); EVEN IF u could get him @ ~$33million for 3yrs... I think ur eating up too much $ flexibility. The goal is to win a championship for as many yrs & x's possible; Nash is STILL a good player/guy AND makes every1 around him better (included is the incredible mentoring of pgs ;) BUT I DON'T believe the adding of Nash, Lillard, & Drummond is enough to win 1 championship in any yr.(s). Now, IF u add Collison (why I keep coming back to him v. really pushing for a HOF like Nash is bc we DON'T need a HOF pg to win 1 OR multiple championships! WE NEED A COMPLETE TEAM w/ more talent spread around the positions v. ALL the talent shoved into just a few players. I'm well aware of the Jordan's Bulls & etc. but the way our team is constructed & w/ the players today, the Jordan-esque team isn't a reality + didn't mention the new CBA that changes a lot of things), Lillard, T-Rob, Serge Ibaka (he's my 1st choice BUT Bismack or Ersan can b subbed here VERY realistically & then u have enough $ for a guy like Eric Gordon @ the 2! :), & a good 2 guard (i.e. Eric Gordon but I'd prefer to spend more $ elsewhere & then pick up a different good cheaper 2 guard here ;)... you've got @ LEAST 1 championship (it all begins in the 2nd year ;). THE SMART play (AND we'll b fun to watch!) IF we want to achieve the goal stated above, would b NOT to get Nash; however, IF we were to sign Nash (aka the FUN play that makes us a good regular season team but won't bring any championships) for approx. the fair price I stated (> & it's REALLY not worth the "gain"), I won't complain; I'll b good & cheer him/Blazers on (we WILL b fun to watch! ;)

    by Simpson on 6/23/2012 5:44 PM
  22. @ RipCityVice, DEFINITELY w/ u on the Andre Dumb-mound thing ;) "He's Kwame Brown with a better body. I feel like someone put a basketball in his hand because he was tall." Hahaha! Funny AND RIGHT on! IF we somehow drafted him... I hope like CRAZY that I'm sssssssssssssssssssooooooooooooo wrong!

    by Simpson on 6/23/2012 5:32 PM
  23. @ DHawes22, regardless of who we add/don't... aren't we "Reloading" & NOT doing a "re-build?" Didn't u get the memo? ;)

    by Simpson on 6/23/2012 5:35 PM
  24. Completely love the idea of Nash being starting point guard and Lillard learning under him... It's like Brett Favre teaching Aaron Rodgers Lillard is a hard worker and says if he didn't start he wouldn't be upset Lillard at 6th and Lamb, Waiters, Drummond if he drops far enough, or Lenord at 11
    Think of it

    1 Nash
    2 Lamb
    3 Batum
    4 Aldridge
    5 Oden (if he comes back) JJ Hickson
    6 Wesley
    7 Lillard
    The list goes on

    by iamalainpaul on 6/23/2012 8:52 PM
  25. I'm confident that Greg Oden will never again suit up for the Blazers. He will be signed for incredibly cheap by some other team eventually, but after all his finger pointing with him being "rushed back by Blazers staff" he's done in this city.

    by Scott Vokoun on 6/23/2012 10:01 PM
  26. simpson-

    According for Ford, he believes we are actually in for a pretty big rebuild under Olshey. I don't have the link now, but I'll search for it in the morning.

    by DHawes22 on 6/24/2012 12:17 AM
  27. @Scott Vokoun: It was not Greg that was doing the finger pointing; the author was asking leading questions trying to get Greg to say it was the Blazers fault, but he couldn't trip Greg up. Nevertheless, I agree with you about Greg not playing for the Blazers again, just for different reasons.

    by Hg on 6/24/2012 3:11 AM
  28. The article and interview were conducted by a close friend of his and he ultimately had control over what was published in the article and what didn't. If he didn't want to point the finger at Blazers staff that wouldn't have even made it in the article.

    by Scott Vokoun on 6/24/2012 9:14 AM
  29. Guys, Oden is done. He's not even playing next season. And I'm really doubting he'll ever play again.

    But back on topic, it may make sense to overpay for Batum if we do sign Nash, because I feel like he could finally get Batum's game to that next level that we've all been hoping for. Of course, this all depends on Batum and his agent taking a chill pill and not signing the first lucrative deal out there.

    by ClydeFrog on 6/24/2012 9:43 AM
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