The summer season in Phoenix is of a predictable nature; it will be 100 degrees or hotter for several days in a row, some overly jubilant weatherman will openly celebrate because the heat has set some new record this year, wealthy Canadians will take flight making a “V” formation like the famed geese as they head for cooler temperatures, and the Phoenix Suns will not make any major adjustments to their roster as they set their targets to be the sixth best team in the west while still being entertaining. Ok, so it’s still hot and I have noticed an excess of Labatt Blue on the shelves at my local grocery store!
The Suns decision to trade Nash was truly beneficial to both parties, but the lesson to be taken away is from the perspective of the employee. Although it is unusual to think of professional athletes as employees that’s what they are, getting a paycheck every two weeks, sometimes hating their boss/manager, and spending too much time at the water cooler/strip club. Well somethings are unique to professional sports. As an employee Steve Nash went to his employer and made it clear in what I imagine to be in a respectful manner that he felt as though his talents have been under utilized and looked as though they would continue to be with a team that had no true championship aspirations. While from a different employee this request could have come as a slap in the face, a real insult to the competence of the management team. Nash has been such a stellar performer in his line of work the Suns actually listened to him and probably broke a rule or two to accommodate him.
The two rules? Rule #1 “Don’t make trades with divisional opponents, the player you traded will more than likely be bitter, you will have to play against him several times in a year, and he will assuredly save his best efforts for you. Rule #2 “If you break Rule#1, never let it be the Lakers!” Over the past 20 years the Suns have been the Lakers most competitive divisional rival, and Suns fans have enough Laker animosity to prove it.
The Suns made this trade for two reasons, the first being one of self interest the Suns need young and cheap athletic talent the four draft picks the Suns received made perfect sense. The second is that they rightly felt an obligation to Steve Nash to let him go to a place where he could compete for a championship and be close to his children. Nash left the Suns no choice but to be a gracious partner because of his production as player, two MVP awards (production for an employer generates gratitude) and his off the court deeds include establishing a charitable foundation here in Phoenix. Nash has also never embarrassed the Suns, a conservative organization in a conservative town; including a recent divorce that was handled very quietly.
The Nash trade was a rare opportunity where both sides were able to have their needs met, but none of this would have happened without the good will that Nash created by being a model employee. He has left the door open for the ceremonious one day free agent signing that allows Steve to retire a Phoenix Sun.