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Tuesday , Aug , 16 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Is Kobe’s (alleged) Cell Phone Rage Understandable?

A man is claiming he was injured at a local church in an incident involving NBA superstar Kobe Bryant. Sources told 10News Bryant was attending a church service at St. Therese of Carmel in Carmel Valley Sunday and thought someone was taking pictures of him with a cellphone.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: You’re with the family at Church. Or anywhere for that matter. Starbucks. The beach. The mall. Chuck-E-Cheese. Whatever.

All you hear is one sound: click. Again and again. There’s no escaping it.

Part of being wealthy and/or famous is dealing with annoyances. But constant cell phone pictures would get old awfully fast, so it’s hardly surprising a star - in this case, Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers - (allegedly) snapped.

(Bryant reportedly took a man’s phone because he thought he was taking his picture at Church. The Laker great returned the phone after realizing there were no pictures, but the man is claiming Bryant injured his wrist.)

Generally, I have little sympathy for those who earn millions to play a sport. They get paid well, and must put up with certain inconveniences.

That’s the game. Them the breaks.

Cell phone pictures are different. Every cell phone has a camera, which means the general public can, and do, act like the paparazzi. They see a star. They take his or her picture.

This is a natural reaction. However, it would be unnerving and frightening for the person being photographed. There would be no escape and no privacy. Ever.

Steve Nash, a man who is as comfortable and natural in the spotlight as any athlete or movie star, has called cell phone pictures a violation.

And Bryant had issues with two fans baiting him with loaded questions, filming/recording his answers on a cell phone, and then attempting to blackmail him and the organization.

It’s not a surprise an incident occurred. In fact, it’s a surprise something hadn`t happened sooner.

--Oly Sandor.

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Thursday , Jul , 28 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Steve Nash: ‘I prefer to stay in Phoenix’

As a veteran, Nash said an NBA championship ring was still a strong lure for him, but he said he would not change teams to achieve that goal.

"Every player wants the ring. We were very close to it many times. Changing teams may be a way. But I don't think I will join another team; I prefer to stay in Phoenix. Hopefully, we can go further next season," said Nash.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Steve, hope is not a strategy for you or your Phoenix Suns.

While visiting China on behalf of his sponsors, Nash told the assembled media his preference was to close his eyes, cross his fingers, and ’hope’ his Phoenix Suns achieve better results.

Lets be clear: what else can Nash do?

He’s too classy to publicly call out Robert Sarver, the Suns’ thrifty owner who refuses to spend on the necessary talent to contend, let alone win a championship.

He’s too classy to publicly call out GM Lon Babby, who first acquired Hedo Turkoglu and then sent the Turkish swing to Orlando for another underachiever in Vince Carter.

And he’s too classy to publicly call out his teammates, who seem a little too interested in taking shots at each other via the media.

Right now, Nash can only grin and bear the Suns. Of course, he can hope. Sadly, this is what the future Hall of Fame point guard has been reduced to.

--Oly Sandor.

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Friday , Jul , 22 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Can Vince Carter help a contender?

Vince Carter may realize that his time in Phoenix is pretty much up – how short it was – but he still wants to play ball. Not overseas.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: It’s no slam dunk that the former Slam Dunk Champion can average 12-15 points per night for a contender.

Right now, Vince Carter is an unrestricted free agent. Some feel ‘Half-Man, Half-Amazing’ can re-invent himself as a second-unit, game-changer for a contender.

I’m not so sure, though.

On a contender, everybody defends. No exceptions. Any contender would have reservations about adding a one-way scorer, like Carter, who resembles a statue in his own end.

Those who don’t defend on contenders –again, like Carter – find themselves on the bench. They stay on that bench for the season. They only play in a blowout or a pinch.

If Carter can’t get on the floor for meaningful minutes, how can he average 12-15 points per night for a contender?

Let’s suppose, for a minute, Carter gets a chance to prove his worth at training camp. He struggled to score with the up-and-down Phoenix Suns, even though defense was optional and Steve Nash, the league’s great playmaker, was setting-the-table.

With a contender, he won’t be a first, second, or third option. And Carter, in recent years, has stopped attacking the hoop, settling for fall-away shots, weak drives, and long-range jumpers.

The coaching staffs of contending teams know this. Or they’ll quickly discover this. So do the league’s best players. They’ll all tire of him quickly.

For Carter, it may be a one year deal for the minimum with a small market or nothing. Yes, nothing. The NBA’s great enigma will continue fading to black.

--Oly Sandor.

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Tuesday , Jul , 19 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Video: Steve Nash steals parking spot, celebrates with MJ dance

HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Good to see the lockout hasn't impacted Steve Nash's comedic chops.

The Canadian table-setter is up to his old tricks with a humorous clip involving a Prius, an old lady, a parking spot, and some M.J. inspired dance moves.

Click the video, watch Nash infuriate a senior, and get at us with thoughts in the comment box below.


--Oly Sandor.

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1996 NBA Draft; Best First Round Ever?
Thursday , Jul , 07 , 2011 Paul Eide

1996 NBA Draft; Best First Round Ever?

 

The thing I remember most about this draft, particularly when draft order was determined during the Draft Lottery, was how excited 76ers President Pat Croce got when it was announced the Sixers would get the number one pick. His personality, coupled with the success of the franchise over the next five years, basically spawned an entire reality TV career for him for the next several years.
 
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Wednesday , Jul , 06 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Jason Richardson to Chicago?

As a free agent, J-Rich has reached a critical point in his career: Does he sign with a team that can pay him the most money or take less to play with a contender?

Obviously, he would love to have the best of both worlds. He might be able to find that with the Chicago Bulls, who are in need of a quality starting shooting guard.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Is Jason Richardson the difference between the Chicago Bulls winning and losing the Eastern Conference?

The answer: at best, a maybe. Sure, Richardson is talented. Sure, he has range. Sure, he’s arguably the top free agent shooting-guard. And sure, the Bulls need a scorer.

Richardson is 31-years old, though. While still solid, he was deemed expendable by the Golden State Warriors, Charlotte Bobcats, and Phoenix Suns. His latest club, the Orlando Magic, have little interest in extending him.

A large part of this had to do with money. Charlotte and Phoenix, two smaller markets, had trouble swallowing Richardson’s big-ticket. For financial reasons, they cut ties.

A large part of this had to with skill. More and more, Richardson stopped using his athleticism to attack and defend, and seemed content on shooting three-pointers.

Who knows what role the off-court stuff played? Richardson was charged with Driving Under the Influence and reckless driving. Of course, there was also this.

Richardson is a risk. His value on the open market will be hard to gauge because of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. 

Chicago should ask Richardson for a contender discount. If he refuses, they should look elsewhere for their difference-maker.

--Oly Sandor.

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Monday , Jul , 04 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Grant Hill to follow in Jason Kidd’s footsteps?

He watched Jason Kidd, a fellow rookie of the year, win his first title last month, and is willing to keep striving for an opportunity to play in the Finals. Hill's career has gone from one of promise, to misfortune, to longevity, and he is willing to wait out a potentially long lockout.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: To pull a ‘J-Kidd’, he can't re-sign with the Phoenix Suns.

The end is near for the 38-year old Grant Hill. The former Duke legend and NBA All-Star doesn't believe the end is now, though.

Instead, he’ll wait for the lockout to end and, inspired by Dallas Mavericks legend Jason Kidd, try for a championship.

Here’s the thing: Hill won’t win with the Phoenix Suns. Heck, Hill might not see the playoffs if he stays in Arizona.

This falls on Suns owner Robert Sarver. He doesn’t have the resources to sign and/or keep talent. A new Collective Bargaining Agreement won't do enough for Sarver, even if there's a hard cap with flexibility.

So Hill will have to leave as a free agent. He will have to part with pal Steve Nash. He will have to risk injury by forging a relationship with new trainers.

This seems scary, but Hill has survived numerous ankle surgeries, a life saving procedure in Orlando, failures at the pro‘ level, and unfortunate comments in a documentary by former rival Jalen Rose.

Free agency won’t phase him. Hill will weigh his options and do what's best. In a year, like Kidd, he could also be hoisting the Larry O'Brien trophy. 

--Oly Sandor.


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Wednesday , Jun , 22 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Nash for Billups?

"There have been renewed whispers the Knicks have inquired about Suns point guard Steve Nash, who lives in SoHo in the offseason. The Knicks have talked internally about trading Chauncey Billups for Nash as both have expiring contracts. But there does not appear any reason for Suns owner Robert Sarver to make a move and give Mike D'Antoni a chance to reunite with his favorite son."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The whispers won’t die. Steve Nash continues to be connected to the New York Knicks.

Here’s the latest Nash-to-New York tidbit: the Knicks want to send veteran Chauncey Billups to the Phoenix Suns for the charismatic Canadian.

This rumor works for two reasons. First, Billups and Nash both have expiring deals. They make similar money. So the contracts match.

Second, it’s 2012 or bust for Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni. ‘Mr. Seven Seconds or Less’ must exceed expectations to earn another contract from owner James Dolan.

Enter Nash.

The two-time MVP is the best point guard to run D’Antoni’s system. Nash’s passing and creativity would help former Phoenix teammate Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony post career numbers.

The Knicks would entertain. Madison Square Gardens would be fun. And they’d probably win, which means D’Antoni gets his extension.

There's a complication: Phoenix owner Robert Sarver won’t trade Nash. This may be posturing, though.

Sarver would part ways with any asset if given enough of a financial incentive. The outspoken owner was particularly hard hit by the financial downturn.

Perhaps Nash finally joins the Knicks. Perhaps it’s as simple as meeting Sarver’s price.

--Oly Sandor.

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Sunday , May , 29 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: D’Antoni losing Knick players?

One player said Chauncey Billups, especially after he got injured, did far more coaching on the bench and in the huddle during the playoffs than (Mike) D'Antoni, and "made a helluva lot more sense." In private, the Suns veterans -- excluding Steve Nash, perhaps -- similarly degrade D'Antoni.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat, the two teams in the NBA Finals, have shown that defense still wins championships.
 
Now run-and-gun offensive schemes entertain. Fans love it. And players post highs in points and assists. Then the regular season ends. And the playoffs begin.
 
In the playoffs, Coach Mike D’Antoni’s ‘Seven Seconds Or Less’ scheme gets exposed. The tempo slows; each possession matters.  
 
D’Antoni’s players soon realize they can’t win, or even be serious contenders, with his offensive approach. When on the sideline in Phoenix, his Suns could never get a key stop.
 
Steve Nash aside, he lost his players.
 
The same appears to be happening with the New York Knicks. The players are tired of the gimmicks and song-and-dance. They want to win. And now.
 
Winning comes through getting-stops. Not out-scoring opponents. So D’Antoni may get another short-term contract, but he won’t be on the sideline if the Knicks go deep in the playoffs.
 
For that, they’ll need a coach who values what players do in their own end.
 
--Oly Sandor.

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Farewell 1990s Basketball.
Saturday , May , 21 , 2011 J.N.

Farewell 1990s Basketball.

Tough to hear, but it is time. The stars, for anyone 26 years or older, drafted from the 1990s are fading away. Let’s use the present to say our goodbyes.   Father time usually corresponds with age and decline in play. This is it. We have been following these guys since middle school. Some of you guys must have been following them since elementary days. Do not feel old. Age is merely a number. Longevity in anything is actually a state of mind, but not in sports. For anyone living under a rock, Macho Man just died. With that said, let's appreciate these players while they are still alive.

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Derrick Rose. The 2010-2011 MVP. Haters welcomed!
Tuesday , May , 03 , 2011 J.N.

Derrick Rose. The 2010-2011 MVP. Haters welcomed!

Derrick Rose is officially the youngest NBA MVP for anyone living in a cave kicking it with John Rambo. He earned it at 22 years old. Leading the team to the number one record is a tall order for anyone. The 2010-2011 season is historic mainly because of this. Basketball fans witnessed something amazing that we will not see again from any 22 year old NBA player. It was fun to see all of the games on DirecTV. Chicago’s offense and the opposing team’s defensive game plans truly revolved around the Poohdini of the Hardwood.

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Examining Rose’s Bulls climb to 62 wins
Wednesday , Apr , 20 , 2011 J.N.

Examining Rose’s Bulls climb to 62 wins

The Chicago Bulls becoming the number one team, record wise, reveals a quantum leap this season and ramifications for the future. Not many people are examining the Bulls massive improvements – they practically flew over the Atlantic Ocean without breaking a sweat. Imagine predicting that the Bulls would be the number one team with the best defense before the season started. Imagine that. People laugh, mock, wants some weed that you smoked, and then label you a Bulls homer. That is why some of us should say, “We’ll see.”

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Should the NBA MVP award be trashed?
Monday , Apr , 04 , 2011 J.N.

Should the NBA MVP award be trashed?

This is the most ridiculous thing I heard coming out from these arguments. Discrediting Derrick Rose is one thing, but to completely dismiss the award just because people do not agree with your assessments is another. This is flat out stupid. Why did people pick out this year to bring this up again? This was echoed with Steve Nash’s awards and probably with Allen Iverson’s. Is this what it has come down to?

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Biggest Surprises and Fails for 2010-2011
Monday , Apr , 04 , 2011 J.N.

Biggest Surprises and Fails for 2010-2011

The season is almost over. It is time to look back and reflect on the positives and negatives. The hype before tip-off was through the roof. There was a lot of anticipation on new rivalries and storylines to be played out. Will the South Beach trio work out? How will Blake Griffin play? Is Steve Nash’s window closed? Are the Lakers still the team to beat? Kevin Durant got the MVP? The Chicago Bulls are 4th seeders, right?

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Monday , Mar , 28 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Nash and Hill to follow Carter out of Phoenix?

Suns coach Alvin Gentry inserted center Marcin Gortat and swingman Jared Dudley into the starting lineup, putting Gortat into the spot of Robin Lopez, who had been groomed as a future franchise center, and Dudley in place of guard Vince Carter, who likely won't be with the Suns next season.

Gortat, 27, has received minutes and produced the numbers as if he were a starter and embraces the idea of a bigger role in the future. Sunday was his first start as a Suns center after receiving one previous start at power forward alongside Lopez.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: How the mighty have fallen.

A decade ago, Vince Carter was supposedly the next Michael Jordan. ‘It was over’ when he won the Slam Dunk Contest with the Toronto Raptors. 

Five years ago, Carter was still a perennial All-Star with the New Jersey Nets, running the break and filling the lane alongside Richard Jefferson and Jason Kidd.

Today, he lost his starting spot to Jared Dudley, a very solid but hardly spectacular player for the Phoenix Suns. Carter probably won’t return to the first-five this year.

His timing couldn’t be worse.

Carter’s $15 million per annum contract isn’t guaranteed for 2012, so expect the Suns to exercise the $4 million buyout, making him a not-so desirable free agent.

Heading into training camp, center Robin Lopez was an up-and-comer for the Suns. Coach Alvin Gentry even declared him the team’s second most important player behind Steve Nash.
 
Well, it hasn’t worked out.

Lopez has struggled with his game and emotions. He was recently replaced in the starting line-up by the active Marcin Gortat, who was acquired in the same mid-season trade that brought Carter to Phoenix from the Orlando Magic.

Like Carter, Lopez`s demotion isn’t a short-term thing. Gortat is the man in the middle. For now, and for the foreseeable future.

Change has hit Phoenix. Unfortunately, Carter may not be the only aging starter jettisoned out of Arizona.

Grant Hill and Nash are in their mid-to-late thirties. Unlike Carter, both can still play; however, Phoenix has to rebuild at some point.

And trading Nash and his considerable salary would provide much-needed relief for owner Robert Sarver’s limited resources.

The once mighty Carter and Lopez have fallen. Sadly, the still mighty Hill and Nash could also go this summer.

--Oly Sandor.

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Saturday , Mar , 05 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Baron Davis: I`m still a top-five point guard

He also agreed with coach Byron Scott, who called Davis one of the NBA's top five point guards when healthy. "I believe so," Davis said from Thursday's practice. "I love the game, I study the game, I see the game with a different set of eyes than a lot of other guys."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: There’s little doubt Baron Davis -when motivated, fit, and healthy- can play.

Unfortunately, Davis is rarely motivated, which means he’s hardly ever fit. Of course, an unmotivated and out of shape player is an often injured player.

After all, Davis has spent most of the last few years sulking about playing for the lowly Los Angeles Clippers, a team he picked as an unrestricted free agent.

He seemed more interested in making movies with his Hollywood buddies. He often had a ‘generous’ physique. And his play suffered.

Sadly, after teasing fans in Golden State, Davis has been a bust. He’s withered away his talent, content to take advantage of the perks that come with a plush, guaranteed contract.

None of this has impacted Davis’ confidence. After all, Davis –even when at full strength- isn’t a top five point guard.

Not anymore and not now. The one-spot currently belongs to up-and-comers like Chris Paul, Rajon Rondo, Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, and Deron Williams.

There’s also established heads like Chauncey Billups, Steve Nash, and Tony Parker. And what about talented youngsters and veterans like Darren Collison, Stephen Curry, Ray Felton, Jason Kidd, and Andre Miller?

All have performed at a higher level than Davis. In fact, Davis, who was recently traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers, might have trouble beating out Ramon Sessions for the starting table-setter job –if all things are equal.

Hopefully, Davis gets motivated, fit, and, as a result, stays healthy. Hopefully, he salvages whatever he can of his career. At 31, the clock is ticking.

--Oly Sandor.


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Saturday , Feb , 26 , 2011 Oly Sandor

Steve Nash on the Suns trading him: ‘I’m open to that’

And though it seemed logical that a team ripe for a rebuild might trade the most valuable player on the roster, the Suns didn’t budge through this week’s trade deadline, and Nash didn’t ask. But yesterday, Nash opened the door, just a crack, to leaving. “I’m open to whatever they want to do,” he said. “I mean, if they want to move me, I’m open to that. If they want to keep me, I’m open to that too.”

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: It’s the elephant in the room neither side wants to discuss.

Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns have to consider parting ways. After all, Nash, who is still playing remarkably well, could help a contender, while the Suns, who lack the resources to field a winner, need to rebuild.

Trading Nash would give the tiny table setter his chance at a championship, and also give the Suns some combination of draft picks, expiring contracts, and blue chip prospects for the future.

If only it were so easy. Both player and team are reluctant to push for a trade.

Nash is loyal to Phoenix, its fans, and the Suns organization. Suns owner Robert Sarver, who is already on shaky ground for past moves, knows he’d become persona non grata if he wrapped Nash in a bow and gave him away.

So each side is putting out the feelers; dropping little hints to prepare the public.

Something could happen this summer. And the elephant in the room could become a reality.

--Oly Sandor.


Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

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Tuesday , Feb , 15 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Wolves want Nash?

The Timberwolves are one of the teams that have called the Suns to check on the availability of Steve Nash, reports Marc Stein.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call:
Should Minnesota Timberwolves fans laugh or cry after hearing Executive David Kahn tried to trade for the Phoenix Suns’ Steve Nash?

After all, Nash isn’t a fit for the Wolves. And the Wolves aren’t a fit for Nash. These two would be the worst match since Anna Nicole Smith married that old billionaire.

Nash is 37 years old. The two-time MVP has a limited time horizon, and will only leave the warmth of Phoenix for a contender. Not a good playoff team, but a class organization with legitimate championship aspirations.

Class and championships are words one doesn’t associate with Glen Taylor’s Wolves. And Nash may retire rather than suit up for the rebuilding Wolves.

This would actually be a positive for the Wolves, who must develop Jonny Flynn and Ricky Rubio -whenever the Euro sensation crosses the Atlantic for America.

Kahn doesn’t see it that way, though. Perhaps he’s inquiring about Nash and Anthony to prove to pending free agent Kevin Love he’s serious about upgrading the team’s talent.

However, Kahn has no chance at either superstar. And his failures only reinforce the Wolves’ inadequacies.

--Oly Sandor.

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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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