Things have turned around for the Phoenix Suns, as they would be in the playoffs if they started today. However, Steve Nash said while this season has been rewarding, it hasn't exactly been the most fun.
"I wouldn't put it up there with the funnest just because it's fun when you have a team that rolls out there and wins 57, 63 games, but it's still been a blast," Nash told Arizona Sports 620's Burns and Gambo Tuesday.
Nash said when the season began few would have predicted the Suns to be contending for a playoff spot, and that may be true. However, therein lies the issue as Nash heads into free agency:
Can the Suns get back to being a team that the "experts" predict will make a deep run into the playoffs and contend for an NBA title? They'll have to make a few moves to get there.
"I couldn't really sit here and tell you what those moves would be, but I think, for me, I want to try to see this organization try to be a contender again, or try to be in the picture where we have a chance to knock off contenders and build a team that gets back to the, hopefully, late- May in playoffs and June, and if not the Finals one day," he said. "I want that for the fans, I want that for myself, and I think the organization wants it too."
Sounds good, except for the fact that, like Nash said, he doesn't know what moves the Suns can make to get back to being a contender. And, while the team is set to have ample cap space heading into the summer, there's a chance they will not be able to acquire the necessary pieces to transform the Suns from a mediocre squad to one that can challenge the likes of the Thunder and Spurs at the top of the West. But there's still hope, for now.
"Hopefully this summer, whatever those moves may be - there's a lot of different directions you can go to give the franchise and the fans a chance to be competitive in the playoffs again," Nash added.
They may be closer than some think, according to Nash.
"You think of the positives, we have a great fan base, we have a great coach and we have I think a bunch of guys that are good people, winners, that play unselfish basketball," he said. "When you add to the mix a couple players or whatever it may be…you have a chance to really elevate a team."
But again, as of now there is no telling who the Suns will be able to land this summer.
"It's hard to sit here and predict but anything's possible," Nash said. "I think this franchise definitely has a great opportunity this summer with the flexibility in cap space it has to improve a great deal, whether that's just one step up the ladder or three or four is yet to be seen."
Nash said this summer should be an exciting time for Suns fans, and if they are major players in free agency it will be. If not, though, it could lead to Nash's departure after eight great seasons.
Because, as it stands, the Suns' ability to make those moves may be the determining factor for whether or not the 38-year-old decides to re-sign with the team. Sure, his family is in the Valley and that will play a role in his decision-making process, but, he said, it won't be the factor.
"It's one factor, but it's not going to be the deciding factor," he said. "There's a lot of ways around that."
That may not be what Suns fans want to hear, especially if they believe it will be tough for the team to add the necessary pieces to become a contender again.
Which means, of course, Nash could then decide to go to a "ready-made" contender, even if he takes less money to do it.
"It's possible," he said, noting that salary - like the family and contender factors - is just one factor. "I want to put them all in and evaluate all the different factors and all the things to consider.
"Where I fit best and what fits me best and then you kind of do your whole pros and cons list and try to come up with the best possible place."
So, he wouldn't rule out taking less to go to a place he can win more.
"Definitely not out of the question," he said.