Nash confirms stance, won't guarantee return
PHOENIX — Following a day of national media appearances in which Steve Nash said he will not return to the Suns next season unless the team makes serious roster upgrades, the point guard confirmed his stance Friday but remained noncommittal about his preference in free agency.
Asked if the Suns would become his preference should they make the upgrades he desires, Nash answered generally and reiterated that he'll explore all opportunities.
"We'll see," Nash said. "Like I said, I'm just keeping all my options open. I want to try to get into the playoffs here and have these last 15 games go our way. I really don't think about it much. At this point, I want us to try to do the best we can in these 15 games, and we'll worry about (free agency) after the season."
Nash seemed less interested in discussing his looming free agency than he did earlier during a media blitz that included stops on ESPN2 and the radio shows of Jim Rome and Dan Patrick. He stood by his remarks Friday but downplayed them somewhat as reiterations of a long-standing feeling.
"I think everybody wants to win and wants to improve," Nash said. "We're a team that is in transition, so I thought everybody knew that we were waiting for the summer to improve the team."
On Patrick's show first, Nash said the Suns must be serious about building a contender in free agency for him to return.
"I am not going to come back to the Suns if there isn't an improvement, if they're not ambitious, if they’re not looking to upgrade the roster seriously," Nash told Patrick. "I think they are. I think they will have a lot of flexibility in free agency."
With the Suns expected to have a great deal of salary-cap room, they should be able to pursue upgrades in a relatively deep free-agent class. Nash was asked Friday what kind of roster improvements he would like to see.
"If you look at our team, we don't have a 20-points-a-game scorer or a go-to guy," Nash said. "So it would be great if we could get that. If not, we're going to have to do it by committee and try to sign as many good players as we can."
In a follow-up, Nash said not signing a "go-to guy" would not necessarily dissuade him from re-signing, provided the right pieces were added.
While the two-time MVP has said numerous times that he is happy and comfortable in Phoenix, he has not gone so far as to commit to moving forward with an upgraded Suns team.