PHOENIX — Canadian Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns have agreed on a US$22-million, two-year contract extension, a person close to the negotiations said.
The person confirmed the agreement Monday, requesting anonymity because the official announcement hadn’t been made.
The deal will keep the two-time MVP point guard under contract with the Suns through the 2011-2012 season.
The 35-year-old Nash, entering his 13th NBA season, had one year left on his contract that would pay him $13 million next season.
The Suns and Nash had been in negotiations for several weeks on a deal that would keep him in Phoenix. He will be 38 when the contract expires. He is expected to sign the agreement later this week.
The Suns lured Nash to Phoenix in 2004 in a celebrated effort that included a flight to Dallas by then-owner Jerry Colangelo and a host of representatives of the team. When Mavericks owner Mark Cuban balked at re-signing Nash, at age 30, at the amount he wanted, the point guard signed a $65-million, five-year contract with Phoenix.
What followed were the best years of Nash’s career as the maestro of the high-octane offence of then-coach Mike D’Antoni. He was named the league’s MVP in 2005 and 2006 and was a first-team all-NBA selection in 2005, 2006 and 2007.
When D’Antoni left the Suns for the New York Knicks after the 2007-08 season, Nash struggled with the slower style of new coach Terry Porter. When Porter was fired at the all-star break and replaced by assistant Alvin Gentry, the Suns returned to the speed game, a factor that no doubt figured into Nash’s decision to re-sign.
When Gentry was kept on as coach after the season, Nash made his feelings known on his Twitter account.
“Really happy that the Suns re-signed Alvin Gentry,” Nash wrote. “Great coach and great person.”
Nash will stay with a team that faces an uncertain future after failing to make the playoffs for the first time since he rejoined the team. All-star Amare Stoudemire has one year left on his contract and wants the maximum in any new deal, something the budget-conscious Suns may not be willing to do.
However, if Stoudemire does leave, the Suns will have the money to be a player in the lucrative free agent market after the coming season.
The Victoria native was the Suns’ first-round draft pick in 1996 and was traded to Dallas in 1998. He has averaged 14.4 points and eight assists in his pro career.
In the last five years with Phoenix, Nash has averaged 17.1 points and 10.8 assists per game. He has shot better than 50 per cent from the field and 43 per cent from three-point range in all five seasons.