Steve Nash sheds light on misleading Mavs exit
But as compatible as their play styles were, the Mavs brass opted to let Nash walk away in free agency in the summer of 2004 as he made his return to the Phoenix Suns.
Sixteen years removed from the incident, the now-retired Nash opened up on what really led to his decision to end his tenure with Dallas.
Per a report from Dallas News on Thursday, the 6-foot-3 playmaker said his reluctance to shoot the ball in his last season with the Mavs may have factored in Mavs owner Mark Cuban’s decision to not offer him a better deal.
“Our franchise tried to take steps to get over the hump [after losing in the 2003 Western Conference Finals to the Spurs], so we signed Antoine Walker and Antawn Jamison that summer. And it was ballsy, they tried something, but really you’ve got both (Walker and Jamison) and Dirk playing the same position, they’re all kind of mobile fours. And so, it just didn’t work. It was difficult,” Nash narrated.
“I was always a pass-first guy. So, I tried to make this thing work. So, the first part of the season, half of the season my numbers were really down, but the second half of the season I think I shot over 50% and played well. But I think it was like a sign to Mark Cuban that maybe he thought I was coming to the end because I didn’t have the full year I had prior,” he added.
Mark Cuban did end up offering Nash a modest four-year deal worth about $9 million annually, with a fifth year partially guaranteed.
The Canadian star, however, understandably turned that down and accepted Phoenix’s six-year, $63 million contract.
“That summer, he (Cuban) really didn’t make a big effort to keep me. I think he thought he didn’t want to overpay — I think he’d overpaid a few guys, and didn’t want to overpay an aging point guard — and that’s how I ended up in Phoenix, really. I don’t think he was confident in my future at that point,” Nash said.
Steve Nash went on to cement his greatness under a Phoenix jersey, winning back-to-back MVP awards in 2005 and 2006. However, he failed to reach the NBA Finals during his time in Arizona.
Dallas, on the other hand, went on to win its first and only title in franchise history in the 2011 season.