If you are not familiar with poker term "All In" basically it when a player declares they are pushing all their chips into the pot. This is basically what the Raptors have done with their pursuit of Steve Nash. The first and foremost is in what they plan to be offering the two time MVP in terms of dollars. The reported figure will be 12 million for 3 years. There seems to be a debate on if all 3 years will be guaranteed, or if the third year in which Nash would turn 41 years old is team option or not. Still however you cut it, the Raptors it is safe to say will have the highest bid in the game. While some have criticized this move here is a couple things to consider. First the Raptors would amnesty Jose Calderon in order to make this offer who was set to make 10.5 million dollars this season. That would now come off the Raptors cap and basically double the amount of cap room they have. Also at least for the upcoming season they are only paying 1.5 million more to have Nash as their starting point guard. Not a bad deal really. In terms of people that are not fans of Calderon it is a bargain just to get rid of Jose at all.
The second thing to consider is how one of the new soon to be owners managed their baseball team this season. There was a lot of buzz for the Blue Jays just like the Raptors have now heading into the baseball off-season. The Jays were rumoured to be in the hunt for the prize of MLB Free Agency Prince Fielder. As it turned out they did not even step to the plate on that one. They also were reported as the team that was going to land Japanese sensation Yu Darvish. However although the Jays were in the hunt their bid to acquired the rights to the Japanese pitcher fell far short of the over 50 Million Texas paid for just his rights. The result of these two failures by the Blue Jays was a lot of disgruntled and unhappy fans. If the Raptors had made it known they were in the hunt for Steve Nash and only made a token offer to see if he would bite, let's face it they would be loudly attacked. Raptors fans lost their mind over a draft pick at 8, there is no telling their reaction if the Raptors allowed themselves to get out bid on Nash.
But it isn't just money the Raptors are packing. They have Wayne Gretzky riding shotgun. Yeah the hockey player you might have heard of him. According to Michael Grange the Raptors have a taped message from "The Great One" making a plea or case for Nash to come to Toronto. But not just that, Wayne will be on stand by on the phone to talk to Nash as well. Nothing has been said of what Gretzky might say. However Wayne in past has talked about how he came close a few times to landing with the Toronto Maple Leafs in his career. In fact one of those times apparently was before he ended his career in New York with the Rangers. If Wayne told Nash a story of regret that he never had a chance to play in Toronto that would make a powerful message you have to figure for Nash. This let's face it is likely his last contract in the NBA especially if it is going to be for 3 years.
The Raptors also have plans to talk about opportunities for Nash in his post NBA Career. A pitch not unlike the one Jack Armstrong laid out in his interview with us just prior to the NBA Draft. Colangelo and company are expected to met with Nash this morning. He will also talk with the Knicks today according to several reports. NBA-TV says Nash will also talk with Miami, Indiana and the Suns. Portland who was rumoured to be on Nash's list took themselves out of the mix you have to figure by offering Roy Hibbert a max contract. It appears the Raptors will have the first turn at bat with Nash and that may be a good sign. Those hoping for the Canada Day Movie finish to this story might not get it. If he indeed plans to talk to 5 teams I can see that happening in the span of 12 hours. Maybe it could and maybe after hearing the Raptors pitch it might be just a case of can anyone top this?
Two other potential players in this mix would be, the loser of the battle between the Mavs and Nets for Deron Williams. However, they may be to late to the party as Nash has made it known he does not want this to be a lengthy process. He also will not be having a special on TSN or Sportsnet to announce his decision I would think. The Raptors have really taken the bull by the horns and clearly have been making their pitch known through the media. It is a wise move as it might do a couple of things. If a team is sitting on the fence about Nash or off trying to pursue someone else, they likely don't waste their time knowing what the Raptors have offered. Also they have let it be know to all of Canada what Steve Nash would be turning down if he ultimately were to decide to go elsewhere. This is something the Jays never did in the cases I mentioned above. We have no idea to this day if they offered anything to Fielder or what they bid on Darvish. To have that made public knowledge might make Nash inclined to take the deal and not disappoint a nation of people that would love to see him take it. Well most of the nation anyway.
Let's not forget Bryan Colangelo won a Steve Nash sweepstakes already bringing him back to the team that drafted him in Phoenix. Now Colangelo is attempting to bring Steve Nash home to his country. He clearly has made one hell of an effort based on all the information that is out there.
All of that said this situation has gone so far now that ultimately this is going to be the biggest moment in history of the Raptors or perhaps the most epic failure in history of the organization. Colangelo has never been afraid to take big gambles. This in many ways might be the biggest of all. If he fails to succeed bringing Nash home to the Raptors there really is no plan B or C that will measure up in terms of excitement for fans. Especially those casual fans that would be most impacted by this move. The Raptors become instantly relevant to those people if Nash comes on board. Even if he does deliver, you have a point guard with a history of back trouble that is not getting any younger. Also you have spent a lot of money to get him and you still are likely in need of a starting small forward to make this truly work. James Johnson, Sonny Weems or moving Demar DeRozan to the position is not going to cut it. While Terrance Ross who the Raptors drafted is not expected to start this season.
Still that is something Colangelo will be happy to figure out once he has this deal all done. Clearly this is the biggest risk of Colangelo's career with the Raptors. It is far more risky than the trade that blew up in his face for Jermaine O'Neal. This is one where people are emotionally invested and if he fails to deliver the goods there will be a lot of sad Raptor fans that will quickly turn to angry ones. At the end of the day though Colangelo has a lot of guts and on some level you have to respect that. All we can do is wait and see what happens. Even if this does get done the official announcement and signing will not take place till July 11th as by that time the NBA will have set the cap numbers for the upcoming season. So will see how ultimately this news comes to light. Who knows Steve Nash might even tweet it. Till we get a tweet, smoke signal or whatever it is just a waiting game.