Saturday , Feb , 12 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Bill Duffy: Suns will consider trading Steve Nash this summer

"Steve is a Phoenix Sun and I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say he’s the face of that franchise," Bill Duffy, Nash’s longtime agent, told ESPN.com this week. "But logic dictates that it would be prudent for the Suns to start looking at their long-term future in the summer, so we would expect that they may entertain moving him during the summer. We are ready for that and we anticipate a very respectful process if they decide to look at starting over with a younger core."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The game has begun.

Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns won’t admit it, but both player and team are looking to part ways. They’d be negligent not to.

After all, Nash –despite being one of the game’s fittest players- is getting older and wants a chance at a championship, while the Suns need to rebuild with younger assets.

Nash moving on makes sense for all parties. How Nash moves on is far more complicated.

For instance, Nash won’t request a trade. He’s too loyal and fearful of a backlash. In fact, last week he told ESPN’s Marc Stein he’s too ‘old school’ to ask the Suns to deal him.

Meanwhile, the Suns will never admit to shopping Nash. The tiny table-setter is a two-time MVP and beloved figure around Phoenix.

Conversely, Suns’ owner Robert Sarver has taken his fair share of hits and can’t afford to look like the bad guy with Nash. He and Coach Alvin Gentry will deny, deny, deny when reporters ask about the rumors of a Nash swap.

It’s also no coincidence that Stein reported these comments from Nash’s agent. Clearly, Nash and Stein have a relationship.

I am not suggesting Nash or Stein, one of the best in the business, have engaged in questionable or unethical behaviour. I am only suggesting that Nash trusts Stein to break news in a fair, equitable manner. This is the mark of a good reporter.

For instance, two years ago, Nash held his charity basketball game in my home of Vancouver, Canada. I covered the event, as did Stein –even though, it was during the dog days of summer and there were no real scoops or major news to be had.

Perhaps Nash asked Stein to attend what was essentially a glorified pick-up game for a good cause. Perhaps Stein agreed to go because he knew he would further his relationship with the Nash machine.

I don’t know much else about their relationship. What I do know is that these comments from Nash’s agent are a cautious attempt to test the trade waters. They felt comfortable that Stein would report their feelings in a responsible manner.

So the game has begun. The next move belongs to the Suns.

–Oly Sandor.

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