Steve Nash reaffirms commitment to Suns at NBA All-Star Weekend in Orlando - Tucson Citizen

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ORLANDO – When Steve Nash was not answering questions Friday about Jeremy Lin, he was asked about other point guards.

slideshowProfile: Steve Nash

When he was not speaking in English, he took questions in Spanish.

But when the topic of Nash's All-Star media session turned to himself, he no longer was talking about the present. It always was his future.

Nash's eighth All-Star trip at age 38 is remarkable as the oldest All-Star point guard — ever. But with a 14-20 Suns team, the interest in Nash's career is what comes next in July free agency and speculation about the March 15 trade deadline.

"It's up to the team," Nash said. "I'm happy where I am. I'm not happy with our record. I feel like I made a commitment to the fans and my teammates. But at the same time, I'd understand if the team wanted to make a move, so I'm completely open. To be honest, I just occupy myself with trying to prepare to play and play as well as I can."

The Suns have made it clear that he would not be traded unless he asked for it. That is not in Nash's nature.

"I feel like it's a difficult position for me to demand a trade when I've been a part of that community for so long," Nash said in his 10th Suns season. "I really feel like I owe it to my teammates to do the best I can for the group. I don't feel like I should be demanding anything."

What Nash discussed more openly was the length of his career and uncertainty of free agency. He never has delved fully into free agency; he quickly committed to Phoenix in 2004 and extended his contract in 2009 to avoid free agency.

Without a dip in performance or passion, Nash has begun to mention playing as many as five more years if he maintains his health and desire.

As the 2011-12 NBA leader in assists with the best shooting percentage of any guard, his dedication to preparation has remained an indicator of his love of the game and competition.

"I also like the lifestyle of getting up every day and having to work out," Nash said. "That's just who I am. If I wasn't playing in the NBA, I'd still be doing that anyway, so why not do it in a competitive, structured environment?

"I don't feel like I have to be in a frame of mind that this is the end, like this is the last chapter."

Potential high-profile free agents Dwight Howard and Deron Williams each made it clear Friday that they would not be discussing their free agency. Nash, hardly looking the role of megastar in Vans, jeans and a plaid shirt, did not get specific but entertained the idea of what is coming July 1.

"It'll be an interesting period for me this summer to go through that, because I haven't necessarily been in that position to open myself up to be a free agent for a while," Nash said. "I haven't thought about it. I'm totally consumed with trying to get through this season in the best shape we can as a team and individually."

Nash said it is natural to desire a championship or the best team but said he will consider factors such as a franchise's fit for him, environment and contract offer.

"I can't even envision what it's going to be like," Nash said. "I don't think by weighing my options or seeing what's possible, it's going to be a situation where Phoenix is going to automatically diminish because other teams are ahead of them as far as the roster or development. I don't think that's the case. Phoenix has a special opportunity with the cap space."

Former Suns teammate James Jones said the Suns should not trade Nash.

"Steve, regardless of age, will always be one of the top, if not the top, point guard in the league," Jones said.

"Steve is a one-in-a-million type of player that the older and slower he gets, the more efficient he becomes and it seems like he gets faster. It's odd, but he's found a great way to not only extend his athleticism but extend his speed and skill."

MacLeod in the 'Ring'

The Suns will make coaching legend John MacLeod the 13th Ring of Honor member during an April 18 halftime ceremony.

MacLeod led the Suns to the 1976 NBA Finals and later coached the Suns to eight consecutive playoffs, including two more conference finals visits. MacLeod, 74, is the Suns' winningest coach with a 579-543 record from 1973 to 1987.

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25 Feb, 2012

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