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Report: Steve Nash wants a three-year deal this summer

Apr 4, 2012, 12:59 PM EST

Suns guard Nash looks to drive on Mavericks center Mahinmi during their NBA basketball game in Dallas, Texas Reuters

Steve Nash will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, and whether he stays in Phoenix or chooses to try his luck playing for a contender somewhere else, he will be looking to sign a three-year deal to do so.

From Marc Stein of ESPN.com:

Nash, who turned 38 in February, also told ESPN.com in a phone interview before Tuesday night’s game in Sacramento he intends to “sign for three more years this summer” and play beyond his 40th birthday when he either inks a new deal to stay with the Suns or finds a new team via free agency.

Most contenders wouldn’t hesitate for a second to give Nash a two-year deal. But three years might be the tipping point that decides where Nash will ultimately end up, with teams valuing salary cap flexibility now more than ever in the era of the league’s new collective bargaining agreement.

This is also a savvy move on Nash’s part. The next NBA contract he signs will almost certainly be his last, so he obviously wants to squeeze every last dollar out of his career as a player before it’s all said and done.  Putting it out there now that he expects three years (which is, again, likely one more than teams will initially be comfortable with) is smart, and might just give his potential suitors some extra time to figure out exactly how to make that work.

In the end, the Suns are the favorites to come up with that three-year deal, given all that Nash means to the franchise, and the team’s recent unwillingness to even consider trading him as long as there was a possibility that Nash would like to stay in Phoenix.

Nash said recently that he wouldn’t return to the Suns unless they made some significant roster improvements before next season. That will obviously be easier to do with Nash already signed, and it may just cost the team that extra year to make it all happen.

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