Loyalty is a noble cause. And nowhere in sports is it more apparent than with the face of the Phoenix Suns, Steve Nash.
Since his return to Phoenix in 2004, the Suns have improved from a lowly 29-53 team to a perennial contender. Under Nash's guidance, the Suns have three times reached the Western Conference Finals while averaging 53.1 wins per season. Nash has twiced been named the league MVP, and has also been recognized as J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award winner for his dedication to the community.
But after the Suns missed the playoffs for the second time in the past three seasons in 2011, Nash's name has once again become the subject of various trade rumors.
In response to an ESPN report that the Suns were considering shipping Nash to Minnesota for the second overall pick, Suns President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby had this
"We are not trading Steve Nash. Period. Exclamation point."
Forget that Nash will forever be remembered as one of the greatest to never win a title, surely he doesn't care. Despite the fact that Nash is a prized commodity around the NBA and would likely fetch a few talented pieces, the Suns are adamantly sticking by their man.
Call it loyalty; call it love. But in my opinion, a smart executive would move the All-Star in an effort to accelerate the rebuilding process, even if it meant crippling the team for the upcoming season.
Though the team is clearly rebuilding and no longer a championship contender, the 37-year old future hall of fame point guard has no intentions of abandoning the team that drafted him in 1996. In fact, he had this to say to ESPN.com in January.
"Maybe I'm old school," said Nash, "but I signed a contract to play here and I want to honor it. I feel like I owe it to my teammates and the city and everybody to keep battling until they tell me it's time to go."
For Nash to imply that he owes the city anything is foolish. He has already given the city and the team more than anyone ever expected. Now it's time for the Suns to be 'loyal' and give back. Trade Nash to a contender, and rebuild your team in the process.