Last year the Memphis Grizzlies took a look of heat from folks around the league for the trade they made sending Pau Gasol to the Lakers. Since that time the economy has taken a nose dive in United States and around the world. Prior to this season the Denver Nuggets traded away Marcus Camby for next to nothing as well. If you have been watching games around the league you will notice that some buildings are not even close to full. There had long been jokes about places like Atlanta for having small crowds. But it is spreading across the NBA. Detroit that had a long history of consecutive sell outs had that streak snapped this season. The car Industry as many if not all of you are aware is in serious trouble. Michigan is the state that is most impacted by that. The point in mentioning all of this is the upcoming trade deadline. Before we get into that just to illustrate the point have a look at the attendance figures from around the league. You will find the home town Raptors checking in at # 9 but the focus of this is the bottom teams on that list.
Attendance Figures From ESPN
Not just attendance but all forms of revenue suffer. Fans get less gear, less food, basically less everything. Not just that but owners of teams often have other businesses that they have beyond the sports franchises they operate. The tough economy has an impact on those obviously as well. So what does all this mean basketball wise? Some teams are looking to dump payroll not unlike what the Grizzlies and Nuggets had done that was mentioned at the start of this blog. At the heart of all this talk has been the Phoenix Suns. The hosts of this year's NBA All Star Weekend ironically. In the NHL the Coyotes are in serious trouble and have been advanced profit sharing money. That speaks to the lack of interest in hockey in the area but also to the tough economic times. So if you think the idea of trading for Steve Nash is crazy or off base. It really isn't. In having a conversation about it with some one I made what I think is a valid point. All the talk has been about Amare Stoudamire. However if the Suns were considering trading Nash that is not something they would want to get out obviously. David Aldridge has a great write up on this whole topic of the trade deadline and the economy and it's impact on it.
Aldridge On Deadline Economics
When we think about things from a Raptor perspective, MLSE is in pretty good shape despite all the economic concerns. That stability could help the Raptors find some bargains at the deadline perhaps. MLSE as an organization takes a lot of shots from fans and even myself on occasion. However it should be said that they have a solid economic base and they provide stability for the franchise. In times like this if they choose to do so they can take advantage of situations that are available at this time. Also they are smart business people. So is Bryan Colangelo as far as that goes. If the Raptors could acquire a Steve Nash that could do amazing things for the national profile of the Raptor brand across this country. It would be a solid basketball move as well.
In a season that based on the mess over TSN 2 and the broadcasting of this team across this country and even in the Toronto area has taken a hit. What would the addition of a Steve Nash do for that? Short of this team making a run deep in the playoffs it might be the best marketing move in franchise history. Nash still could have the talent to help this team turn around next season as well. It also helps you make a statement to Chris Bosh that you are very serious about building a team around him for the future. It is just really a question of if Nash is on the market? The Suns publicly have said no. However we here so much talk of if Bosh will be back in 2010. However how likely does Steve Nash come back to the Suns in 2010. It seems far less likely and given his advanced age maybe the Suns are not even interested in keeping him. So for all the reasons people have been making to trade Bosh do they not apply even more to the Suns? I think the answer is pretty clear that they do.
So while some are convinced Bosh must go. I am not convinced at all. I think Bryan Colangelo is working on a way to ensure that does not happen. Bosh has been the only player that Colangelo has made a definite statement that he is not interested in moving at any price. That should tell you something. He has mentioned the importance of Calderon and Bargnani but never made that same bold statement about them. There are few deals that I could in vision a Calderon or Bargnani being moved. However a move for Steve Nash ranks among those he would consider moving them in my view. That does not mean a lot but when you consider Colangelo has made major statements of support for Jay Triano and his future. It all makes you wonder if that is in part because a Nash and Triano partnership would make total sense.
It is rare I get into trade talk and rumours. It is even more rare that I throw out trade scenarios of my own. I just don't think it makes good sense to do that very often. That being said I firmly believe if on next Thursday or prior to that we here the name of Steve Nash traded to anywhere other than the Toronto Raptors it will be an opportunity lost. I have said in the past if the Vancouver Grizzlies had made the effort, to draft Nash by acquiring a pick to select him prior to his pick by the Suns, I think the Grizzlies may still be here. It is not to say the Raptors will be gone without bringing in Nash. It was not to suggest that Nash not going to Vancouver was the sole reason for failure. However to have a home grown talent that clearly is worthy of playing and starting would have a giant impact on basketball in this country and would help establish basketball on a national level. Raptors have always talked about wanting to be Canada's team and not just Toronto's team. Well opportunity in that regard could be knocking and they would be foolish not to answer the door.
So those are things to think about as we approach All Star Weekend. I will pop in now and than during All Star Weekend and share some thoughts on all of that. Jason Kapono defends his 3 point title from a Raptor prospective and a whole lot more fun beyond that. I say it to whoever cares to listen. No on does the All Star idea better than the NBA. It is the model for all professional sports in my view.
I also spoke with Darren Rovell from CNBC on this same topic of economy