NBA NEWS: STEVE NASH WANTS A 3 YR DEAL & NBA COMMISSIONER DAVID STERN WANTS TO RAISE NBA AGE ELIGIBILITY
Nash, who turned 38 in February, also told ESPN.com in a phone interview before Tuesday night's game in Sacramento he intends to "sign for three more years this summer" and play beyond his 40th birthday when he either inks a new deal to stay with the Suns or finds a new team via free agency.
Responding to a New York Post report in Tuesday's editions which described the condition of Nash's back as "bad as it has ever been," Nash strongly disputed such suggestions. He expressed great satisfaction with the way his health has held up through the rigors of a lockout-compacted schedule that called for 66 regular-season games in a span of about 120 days.
"It's been my best year physically from start to finish in a long time," Nash said. "Other than a little tweak (last week) against San Antonio, my back's been pretty close to 100 percent."
The Post report noted that Nash has taken more than eight shots only once in his past 10 games and pinpointed back issues as the reason why Nash's field-goal attempts are down.
Nash, though, says the overwhelming attention he gets from opposing defenses -- on a team with no scorer adept at creating his own shot and no one averaging more than centerMarcin Gortat's 16.1 points per game -- is the only factor keeping his shot totals in single digits.
"Maybe I could be more aggressive looking for my shot, but every team we play traps me (frequently) or (jumps) out hard at me on the pick-and-roll," Nash said. "So my thinking is, 'Get it out of my hands as fast as possible and it's four on three or three on two for my teammates.' It seems to be working. We've been playing a lot better (since the All-Star break). I'm not just going to be forcing up shots to improve my numbers."
Despite the recent back "tweak" he mentioned, Nash logged 35 minutes on Sunday in a home win over New Orleans. Nash tallied 14 assists to go with four points to maintain his edge on Boston's Rajon Rondo for the NBA assist lead. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the third time in a span of 10 days that both Nash and Rondo notched at least 14 assists on the same day.
Nash has missed only four games this season for the Suns (26-26) and is averaging 12.7 points and 11.3 assists. The two-time former MVP was named an All-Star in February for the eighth time in his 16-year career. SOURCE
NBA RULE CHANGE:
NEW YORK -- David Stern would love a system in which Anthony Davis and the rest of Kentucky's freshman stars were required to try to repeat.
Instead, the NBA commissioner could end up calling Davis' name in June as the first pick in the draft.
“Our rule is that they won't be eligible for the draft until they're 19. They can play in Europe, they can play in the D-League, they can go to college. This is a not a social program, this is a business rule for us. The NFL has a rule which requires three years of college. So the focus is often on ours, but it's really not what we require in college.
”-- David Stern
The league wasn't able to change its draft eligibility rules during collective bargaining last year. The rules require an American player to be 19 years old and a year out of high school.
"We would love to add a year, but that's not something that the players' association has been willing to agree to," Stern said Tuesday.
The union would only agree to form a committee to discuss changes, and Stern knows the players are unlikely to consent to an increase without some concession from owners.
"They would probably say, 'What would you give us?' " he said.
Stern spoke at a Sprint store to announce the opening of the NBA's "Green Week." The wireless company is the presenting partner of the week, during which time the league tries to generate awareness and funding to protect the environment. Players will wear shooting shirts made of 100 percent organic cotton, along with green headbands and wrist bands during games through April 11.
Stern watched some of Kentucky's 67-59 victory over Kansas in the NCAA championship game Monday, when the Wildcats' group of future NBA players raced to an 18-point lead in the first half.
"I think it was over a little early," Stern said.
So will most of the Wildcats' college careers.
Davis, the player of the year and Final Four's most outstanding player, would likely be the No. 1 pick if he comes out, and fellow freshman Michael Kidd-Gilchrist could be right behind him. Players must declare this month if they are making themselves eligible for the draft.
The age limit was instituted in 2005, and Stern has often spoken since of his desire to increase it. But any realistic hope of pushing too hard during the lockout was scrapped when the league focused instead on the financial changes it sought.
If Davis is the top pick, he would be the fifth freshman in six years to go No. 1, followingGreg Oden, Derrick Rose, John Wall and Kyrie Irving. Stern said the league's draft requirement is often misreported as forcing players to spend a year in college.
"That's not our rule," he said. "Our rule is that they won't be eligible for the draft until they're 19. They can play in Europe, they can play in the D-League, they can go to college. This is a not a social program, this is a business rule for us. The NFL has a rule which requires three years of college. So the focus is often on ours, but it's really not what we require in college. It's that we say we would like a year to look at them and I think it's been interesting to see how the players do against first-class competition in the NCAAs and then teams have the ability to judge and make judgments, because high-ranking draft picks are very, very valuable."
The committee is just starting, so far only staff discussions that haven't yet included players and owners. Stern said he expects the NCAA to join as well.
For now, he's pleased with the impact the draft rule has had.
"We're very happy to have improved from having our scouts all over the high school gymnasium," he said. "That was an important policy part of what we did as well, so we'll see what we can do. They have some ideas, we have some ideas, I'm sure the NCAA has some ideas." SOURCE