The overall perception of Steve Nash and the free agency period is that he’s willing to give up on a lot of money in order to win a title ring. Well, guess again. Nash is probably going to have to take a pay cut from the $11.7 million he made last season, but he’s not planning on making too much of a trim.

Nash and the Suns have missed out on the playoffs three times during the last four seasons. There have always been rumors about Nash getting traded, but the 2-time NBA MVP has always declared loyalty to the team that drafted him back in 1996. He’s been there and back again over the 16 years he’s been in the NBA, playing in Phoenix for the last 8 seasons.

He clearly took a step back as a shooter and a finisher last season, despite making 53.2% of his field goal attempts, a career high. He averaged 12.5 points per game, his lowest average since the 1999-2000 season, adding the regular 10.7 assists per game, as expected.

Pretty much everyone with a little bit of cap space are looking to sign Nash. The Chicago Bulls, in dire need of a point guard now that Derrick Rose won’t be available until mid to late 2012-2013 season, with Nash, who has that veteran but can still produce big time aura about him, on the top of their list, just like he is for the Miami Heat and the New York Knicks.

Nash said that he’s open to everything, but money is going to be a very important factor in his decision. The most important? Nash seems to have money as the top priority, and maybe for good reason. There’s nothing guaranteed about wanting to win an NBA title. Money, win or lose, succeed or fail, goes straight to the bank.

It’s nice to have that idea, I want to win a championship. That’s also difficult. You can turn down a ton of money for a team you think can win a championship and there’s an injury and the chemistry isn’t right and you’re traded in six months. I have to put all the things into the hat.

With that monetary issue in mind, the Bulls-Heat-Knicks trio don’t have much of a chance to sign the 8 time NBA All-Star. Other teams – the Toronto Raptors, Portland Trail Blazers and the Brooklyn Nets have all shown an interest in the Canadian point guard, and all also have the cap space to lure him away from Arizona. The Suns can probably offer him more money than anyone, but maybe it’s time that Phoenix do go in a different, new direction, after 8 years, already reaching the peak of Nash’s era a few years ago.

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