The New York Knicks opened up free agent talks with Steve Nash on Sunday by bringing the point guard up to the team's practice facility in upstate Greenburgh, N.Y. for a tour and told him of sign-and -trade scenarios in which they could offer the sought after NBA star more money.
Head coach Mike Woodson, owner James Dolan and their front office heavies spent three hours with Nash and said they had sign-and-trade options where they could offer him $6 million per year. Otherwise, the Knicks would only have their $3.09 million midlevel exception to give him.
To make matters worse, the Toronto Raptors were in New York earlier in the morning trying to entice the native Canadian back north of the border and rumors were swirling about a bigger offer.
Sports Illustrated reported that the Raptors offered the 38-year old Nash a 3-year, $36 million deal but sources said the story is false and was leaked to scare off the the Knicks, Nets and Mavericks— all of who are in play for Nash's services.
Nash— who has an offseason apartment in the West Village— was spotted skateboarding around Tribeca on Friday— and is known to love life in NYC. But the Knicks know they need to add more salary to a sign-and-trade package to land Nash but feel they still have "a little shot."
The Knicks are counting on luring Nash to the Garden by telling him he is the final piece to a championship team and the piles of extra cash he could earn as a big star in the NBA's biggest market.
Still, the thought of making a big salary in his home country is weighing heavy on his mind.
"I definitely want to be validated monetarily to an extent," Nash said last week. "It's still very important. I think money in many ways represents respect."
It looks like the Knicks only hope might boil down to whether or not Nash likes skateboarding on Houston Street more than ice skating on the Humber River.