Steve Nash’s iconic legacy was cemented Wednesday night in Phoenix when droves of fans chanted the name of their beloved superstar.
Fans were clamoring for one last glimpse of Nash, in the event he had played his final game in a Suns uniform. The two-time MVP and eight-time All-Star will become a free agent this offseason and is seeking a three-year contract.
Suns head coach Alvin Gentry told Arizona Sports 620’s Burns and Gambo he had planned to put Nash in during the game’s final seconds regardless of his contract status. He wanted to give the fans the opportunity to pay homage to one of the greatest point guards in NBA history and storied athletes the city of Phoenix has ever seen.
“I wanted everybody to have an opportunity to thank him for the season,” Gentry said. “As far as a goodbye, I don’t know that. I don’t think anyone knows that right now. But I would have done it in any situation. I would have done it if he had three years left on his contract. I would have done it because I think it gives the fans an opportunity to appreciate everything that he’s done here and everything he’s done this season for us.”
While Gentry would certainly welcome back his 38-year-old point guard with open arms, Nash’s future with the Suns remains cloudy.
“I don’t know what the criterion is for him coming back,” Gentry stated. “I know that [Nash] loved playing here. I know that he’s had an unbelievable effect on this franchise the last eight years, so hopefully it is something that’ll get worked out because I still think he’s got a lot of basketball that he can play and obviously he’s in great shape.”
While Gentry asserts Nash might not be producing at the level he did during his MVP years, he’s still proven to be a productive and consistent force on the court for the Suns.
“Of course there’s going to be a little bit of a decline,” Gentry explained. “You’re talking about a guy that was a two-time MVP in the league and he’s also four years older. I think Steve is still a very good basketball player. But to say he’s the same… Kobe Bryant’s not the same, and he’s still playing at a real high level.”
Nash averaged 12.5 points and 10.7 assists in the 2011-2012 campaign, impressive numbers for a player his age.
The Suns don’t know if Nash will be back in the fold next season, but they are aware of another glaring need they’ll have to fill if they hope to rectify the scoring woes that often hampered them this season.
“I think the big thing for us is that we just need that one guy that we can throw the ball to, and that’s with [Nash] even being back here,” Gentry said. We’ve got to have that one guy that we can throw it to that can create a situation where he can get us a basket and get us to the foul line. I think that’s going to be crucial for us to have that guy.”
The addition of a legitimate scoring threat to the Suns’ roster could also be critical in Nash’s decision to return to Phoenix.