Raptors courting Nash 3
By Ryan Wolstat ,Toronto Sun
First posted: Friday, June 29, 2012 10:13 PM EDT | Updated: Friday, June 29, 2012 10:43 PM EDT
With Deron Williams possibly staying put in Brooklyn, Steve Nash has lost one of his most enticing potential destinations. (Getty Images)
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Whether Bryan Colangelo lands the greatest Canadian player ever for the third time will likely be known by next week.
will send a large group of staffers to New York to meet with Steve Nash, the two-time league MVP on Sunday morning.
Colangelo will be in Los Angeles for a wedding on Saturday night, but phone calls and texts will be made to Toronto’s top targets — most importantly, the pride of Victoria.
Free agency opens at 12:01 a.m. Sunday, though no official deals can be signed until the NBA’s ridiculous moratorium period ends on July 11th.
“I can’t mention names, there are some big-name free agents that are either looking to stay with their respective clubs or look for a new opportunity,” Colangelo said.
“This is an interesting year because there are a few pieces that make a lot of sense for us and we will certainly prioritize those pieces.”
Multiple sources confirmed to the Toronto Sun earlier this month that Nash is by far the team’s primary target and an extensive package designed to woo him has been prepared.
On Friday, Colangelo told reporters that incumbent point guard Jose Calderon
could be amnestied in order to open up room for free agents,
Basically, if Nash is signed, the Raptors
will part ways with their longest-serving player and he will be paid for the final year on his deal, but it won’t count against the salary cap.
Colangelo said he has been in contact with Calderon’s agent about the possibility.
“Jose’s a pro, he’s a grown man and he understands it’s a business,” Colangelo said, cautioning that there still remains every chance Calderon
will return to Toronto.
“Jose is a very good basketball player and a very important part of this team … but, like I said, if we feel there’s a piece that will make us better or improve our basketball team (hint, hint, Steve Nash) and we’ve got the flexibility to commit those resources accordingly, than I think we should always pursue that and I think Jose understands that.”
also are currently trying to see if teams that wanted to deal quality veterans in exchange for the No. 8 selection (used to select Terrence Ross) would consider moving the player for something different.
Colangelo also cautioned the team won’t just spend all of it’s money on July 1st just for the sake of doing so.
Meaning, if Nash or the other top targets aren’t available, the major moves might have to wait a little bit longer.
“It’s not going to be Christmas Day. We’re not going to go out and spend errantly and go crazy … This is not necessarily a 12:01 ET we’re going to have two pieces done and wrap this up and see everybody in October at training camp,” Colangelo said.
“This could take some time. The money might not be spent right away because we might not feel like the right pieces are there.”
But that’s Plan B. Plan A is definitely Nash, who also is expected to strongly consider returning to Phoenix or Dallas, signing with Brooklyn or perhaps accepting a sign-and-trade elsewhere.
Colangelo drafted Nash and then brought him back to Phoenix with a hefty free agent contract, which Nash backed up by winning two MVP awards.
The 38-year-old is still among the league’s best players and is a Canadian icon who would do nearly as much off of the court as he would on for the Raptors.
About to enter the final year of his contract, Colangelo is eager to get things turned around in Toronto.
“I think we’ve made very good strides in the first two years of this process, this third year we’d like to accelerate that and possibly compete for the playoffs,” he said.
“Depending on some of the things that we do here in the next few days, few weeks, it will help determine whether or not that’s a realistic goal.”
The desire to improve considerably goes beyond just the starting point guard spot and Colangelo said players could be moved out or cast out because: “We want to raise the stakes.”
In housekeeping moves, the Raptors
issued qualifying offers to Jerryd Bayless and Sonny Weems and declined to pick up project centre Solomon Alabi’s option.
The team will be able to match any offers on Bayless or Weems, but the qualifier can be rescinded if the Raptors
need extra cap room to reel in Nash or someone else.