By John Schmeelk
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I don’t believe Steve Nash wants to play for the Toronto Raptors.

I understand why it would sound nice to play in his native Canada, but a championship has to be the priority for a two-time MVP that doesn’t have a ring. Of the teams reportedly showing interest, the Knicks are without a doubt the closest to a title. Like some that once used the Knicks to their financial gain, I think Nash is using the Raptors to force New York into finding a way to pay him more money.

Like I wrote over the weekend, the only way to do that is via a sign-and-trade. It was even in the New York Post today. If Glen Grunwald can get the Suns to bite on a package that includes Jerome Jordan, Toney Douglas and Landry Fields, all the more power to him. A deal like that, along with Dan Gadzuric, could net Nash around $8 million. That should be enough.

If it isn’t, the Knicks shouldn’t hesitate to offer Lin in the sign-and-trade to make sure they get the deal done. Nash is the one true game-changing player the Knicks have a shot at, and they need to do everything in their power to get him.

– I really wonder sometimes if the Nets have a plan. Nearly every free agent has been linked to them over the past year or so. They just seem to be flailing wildly at everyone on the market with the blind hope that someone takes their money. If Deron Williams doesn’t stay with the team (I don’t think he will) and they can’t acquire Dwight Howard, I have a bad feeling Billy King is going to destroy the franchise’s salary cap situation without getting them close to championship talent. Gerald Wallace is a nice player but not worth $10 million a year.

– That brings us to Dwight Howard, the one player that can truly turn around the Nets. The more I hear from him, however, the less I think he’s someone I would want to tether my franchise to. This guy is a legit knucklehead — and if I were Orlando, I would trade him as quickly as possible. I’ll have more on him later in the week.

– The Celtics paid Kevin Garnett $10 million a year at the age of 36, keeping him around with Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo for two more years. Jeff Green looks like he will also be back with Boston, and everyone hopes he’ll recover from his heart problem last year and continue with what was a promising career. We’ll see if Ray Allen decides to return and get the band back together one more time.

– Good players with size are at a premium in the NBA these days. If you needed proof, look no further than the early days of free agency. Lavoy Allen got $3 million per year for the Sixers. Omer Asik received an $8 million per year offer sheet from the Rockets. Both these players were good rebounders and defenders in limited minutes last year, and if those numbers are extrapolated over a starter’s minutes they could be very good players. It is rarely that simple. Foul trouble can become an issue, and players can’t sustain that sort of effort over longer spurts. We’ll see if they remain as effective with more minutes.

– Roy Hibbert is another big man that is going to get paid. He got a max contract offer from the Blazers. I don’t think this money is completely out of line but only because there are so few good legit centers in the league these days. There is truly a scarcity and Hibbert is going to cash in.

I’ll continue to provide coverage of NBA free agency on Twitter; follow me @Schmeelk.

Should the Knicks go all in for Nash? Be heard in the comments below…


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