A suitor for Nash, a target for the Suns

A suitor for Nash, a target for the Suns

Published Jun. 4, 2012 3:50 p.m. ET

June 4, 2012

The calendar's statement that it's only June 4 -- or 27 days until the start of NBA free agency -- is doing little to dissuade NBA writers from speculating about the future of various players of interest.

Of course, exactly who is "of interest" is a matter of debate, but this report from CSN Chicago regarding the Bulls' offseason plans would presumably fall into that category for the inhabitants of Planet Orange:

"While the front office may seek out minimum-salary veterans at several positions, including point guard, a source tells CSNChicago.com that the Bulls will take a run at future Hall of Famers Steve Nash and Jason Kidd in free agency, trying to convince the former All-Stars that they will have an opportunity to win a championship, of which Kidd has one, from last season with the Mavericks, and Nash has none, in Chicago."

How/whether Nash would fit into a backcourt with Derrick Rose -- who, keep in mind, will miss most of next year while recovering from a torn ACL -- is unclear. But if the goal is to win a championship at some point before hanging up his sneakers and posing for a bust in Springfield, the Bulls would offer as much supporting-cast talent as any suitor other than the Heat ... for whom Nash wouldn't rule out playing when asked near the end of the regular season.

He also wouldn't rule out a return to the Suns in the event of some "ambitious" moves that resulted in "serious" roster upgrades. But if that doesn't happen, the Suns have a backup plan, according to a source in the New York Daily News who recounts interest in Nets free-agent-to-be-guard Deron Williams.

"If they lose Steve, then they plan to go after Deron, hard,” said a person with knowledge of the Suns' plans. "They know he loves golf and they’re going to try to sell him on going out there."

There's no mention of interest in Williams -- who's widely regarded as the top free agent in this year's class -- if Nash decides to re-sign, so it's apparently an either/or scenario.

There's also no mention of any other players the Suns might be targeting to either pair with or replace Nash, although there is a bit of unsourced information about the team's apparent thought process in regards to Nash negotiations:

"(T)he Suns view the Knicks, Raptors and even the Nets as their biggest competitors for Nash’s services. They are operating under the assumption that Nash will not go to a contender ..."

That's an interesting assumption, if accurate, and would be a disappointment to teams such as, say, the Bulls and Heat. Take it with a lick of salt, of course, since this is a source's understanding of what the Suns are thinking about what Nash is thinking. For all we know, Nash might not even know what Nash is thinking just yet; nobody will know for sure for at least another 27 days.

-- Matt Swartz