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Former Sun Steve Nash not trashing his former franchise

Thursday night, three prominent former members of the Phoenix Suns — including the only two players to ever win league MVP awards for the franchise — sat on a panel, talking about basketball.

Steve Nash joined fellow former Suns Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley, along with TNT’s Kenny Smith and Ernie Johnson, for a segment from Toronto, home of this weekend’s NBA All-Star festivities.

The topic of discussion turned to the Suns when Barkley inquired if Nash had any interest in taking over the Suns’ head coaching position.

“Why don’t you jump on that grenade,” Barkley asked, drawing a smile from Nash.

But the two-time MVP didn’t follow Barkley’s lead of trashing the franchise, which is arguably at its lowest point in decades. Barkley asked Nash if it’s difficult watching what the Suns have become.

“Of course,” Nash said. “All of us who played for the organization have a lot of love for them — the fans, we had a great connection with the fans in Phoenix. So to see them struggle is tough.

“But, you know, this league is cyclical. Sometimes your biggest lessons come from when you’re down. We’ll keep our fingers crossed and we’ll see if they can turn this thing around.”

It should be noted that Nash and Suns owner Robert Sarver have teamed up to form an ownership group that has taken control of the Spanish football club Real Mallorca.

Nash was also quick to point out that as bad as things are with the Suns, they have plenty of company in the NBA, where there are only a handful of legitimate championship contenders each season.

“The thing about Phoenix is I think there’s about 20 teams in this league that are in the same boat as them,” he said. “Only one or two things happen, you change your fortunes, and then, all of a sudden, the next ten years look bright.”

At 14-40, the Suns own the league’s third-worst record (tied with Brooklyn) at the All-Star break. Since beating the Denver Nuggets on Nov. 14 to push their mark to 7-5, the Suns have gone 7-35.

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