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Updated Mar 30, 2012 - 5:12 pm

Steve Nash is paving the way for his exit out of Phoenix

Phoenix Suns' Steve Nash (13) talks with teammates Channing Frye (8) and Marcin Gortat (4), of Poland, during a break in the action in the second quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz Wednesday, March 14, 2012, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

It appears Steve Nash is preparing for an exit.

A free agent at the end of this season, the Suns have, publicly, expressed hope a desire to keep the former league MVP on Planet Orange after this season.

Still playing at a high level, Nash is the quintessential Phoenix Sun, the face of the franchise and the team's best player. Even though they should begin the rebuilding process around young players, it makes sense on some levels for the organization to want Nash back for a few more years.

But what about the player, does he want to come back?

According to Nash himself, only if the Suns make some serious improvements this summer, because he'd rather not spend his final days in the NBA playing for a lottery team, which is what the Suns are right now. "I definitely do want to win," Nash told FoxSports Radio's Dan Patrick. "I'm not going to come back to the Suns if there isn't an improvement. If they're not ambitious and they're not looking to upgrade the roster seriously -- and I think they are.

"They'll have a lot of flexibility in free agency. I think I've been standing pat so they could do some things this summer. I think they'll become a definite possibility for me, but I do want to win and I do want to consider all my options."

A player not wanting to play for a winner would be news, so Nash's words should not really come as a shock to anyone.

Except for the fact that the timing of his statement is a bit curious.

The Suns, after all, can no longer make improvements to this year's team. And, if the New York Post's Peter Vescey is to be believed, this fact infuriates Nash. Regardless, the roster you see is the one that will continue to fight for a playoff spot, though they will be doing so short Grant Hill, who had surgery Friday to repair a torn meniscus.

But again, Nash's comments are not about this year - not really. No doubt the last two seasons have been a drain on him, because there is no doubt being on the losing end of the scoreboard more often than is not a lot of fun. However, there was little Nash could do about it before - short of asking for a trade, which he was not going to do - so he had to tough it out, continuing to battle every night in the hopes that things would somehow improve.

Will Steve Nash be a Phoenix Sun next season?

In a couple months, though, the ball will be in his court, though the point guard has already got it rolling towards a departure from the team he's played for the last eight years.

Never one who wanted to be the bad guy, Nash has now put it squarely on the Suns front office. Do enough to get better and he'll stay, and if not, say goodbye.

While the Suns have a ton of cap space to play with this summer, one has to ask, how exactly will they get significantly better? Nash has an idea.

"If you look at our team, we don't have a 20-point-per- game scorer or go-to guy, so it'd be great if we could get that," Nash said when asked what kind of improvements he's looking for. "I think that's why the club made this summer the summer where they've created cap space and flexibility.

There is a bit of a problem there, though.

Take one look at a list of players who may be available this summer and you'll see there is is not exactly a plethora of impact players, with the few who are out there not likely to come to Phoenix.

Of course, even if they were you end up with the chicken vs. egg argument, as Nash said he won't return unless the team improves, and odds are good that a player who could improve the Suns won't sign unless Nash is already on board.

But that's really beside the point.

Barring a miracle bounce of the ping pong balls in June, the Suns' chances of acquiring enough talent to turn the Suns back into a contender are about as high as anyone reading this article winning a MegaMillions jackpot.

Deep down, Nash knows this to be true, and it has guided every move he's made and everything he's said.

For the first time all season, Steve Nash indicated that he'd be willing to leave the Phoenix Suns. While the statement itself is nothing earth shattering, the fact that he was willing to make it is.


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