Not sure I understand what all the commotion was about when Steve Nash went on radio this week and said he won’t stick around dribbling into his golden years in Phoenix unless Robert Sarver takes a crowbar to his wallet and tries to restore this franchise to a shadow of what it was when he bought it.
Granted, Nash might have been a little crankier than usual Thursday morning. His team just lost to the Clippers (yeah, that’ll do it). He probably had a good idea that his buddy Grant Hill was headed for knee surgery and probably done for the season. Heck, simply having to talk to Dan Patrick for five minutes can leave you surly.
But look at the comments and they are nothing different than what Nash has said for the last two years: He would honor his contract (which he has) and he wanted to see real improvement in the makeup of the team before committing beyond (Hello? Hello? Bueller?).
Nash also didn’t say anything that any Planet Orange inhabitant hasn’t been screaming from the stands for years. He’s watched the franchise pawn off pieces of a championship contender for pennies on the dollar and hold off on the rebuilding project until proper cap space was created.
Now is the time for Sarver to show his point guard and his fan base that he knows how to make a real splash in the free-agent market. It’s also time for Lon Babby and Lance Blanks to show they actually know what they are doing instead of relying in their plucky point guard to save the day with a hodgepodge lineup.
If not? There shouldn’t be a Suns fan out there who would begrudge the two-time MVP an opportunity to chase a ring. If Nash wound up on South Beach, dishing left to LeBron James, right to Chris Bosh and behind the back to Dwayne Wade, well, who wouldn’t like to see that show?
Nash already leads the league in assists. Imagine if he was on a team that could shoot straight.
Give or take a billion
Forget about winning the Mega Millions. I just want a pro sports franchise.
Frank McCourt bought the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2004 for $430 million that he didn’t have. (Putting a sports franchise on your credit card? Priceless.) On and off the field, he ran the National League’s signature franchise aground in a way only the skipper of the Exxon Valdez can appreciate.
In eight years, he made Rupert Murdoch look like he knew what he was doing.
McCourt was also embroiled in an embarrassing, ugly, public divorce that made “War of the Roses” look like a barbeque tiff. Then he filed for bankruptcy and was “forced” by Major League Baseball to sell the Dodgers. So he sold them.
FOR $2 BILLION.
But only after he waggled his wife, Jamie, into accepting a $131 million divorce settlement, which he can now find in his couch cushions. Only after McCourt cut a deal with Magic Johnson and friends that also allowed him to retain some ownership of the land surrounding Dodger Stadium which, if developed, would bring further riches.
So the rich get richer, sports owners cry poor and talk about how their hands are tied by player salaries, and rising costs are the reward for total ineptitude.
• As if the New Orleans Saints won’t be enough of a trainwreck, the decision to court Bill Parcells to keep Sean Payton’s seat warm for a year does nothing but further muddy the bayou waters.
“The Tuna” is pushing 71 now and hasn’t been on the sidelines for six years. The defense, Parcells’ strength, will be decimated by suspensions and he’ll just love that quarterback Drew Brees is miffed about “settling” for the franchise tag. On the bright side, the press conferences will be much more fun.
• As happy as I am to see the Lisa Love era end at Arizona State, Steve Patterson’s lack of experience at the collegiate level leaves those looking from a distance wincing. But if he’s better at bringing in money and winning back the alumni — and he can hardly be worse — that will make up for a lot.
The football team has collapsed. The basketball program has imploded. The baseball program is on probation. The “revenue” sports are sitting at the bottom of “A” Mountain. There is nowhere to go but up.
Jerry Brown is a contributing columnist who appears every Sunday in the Tribune. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.