Happy Independence Day, America! Now where’s the Canadian going?

The Knicks and Phoenix aren’t taking today off to celebrate America’s independence, as they’re trying to hammer out a sign-and-trade deal for Canadian Steve Nash that – if completed – would make the Toronto Raptors folks want to shove a flaming fountain up James Dolan’s backside.

The Knicks owner is the one hoping for this, yearning to land another money-making star for the Garden scene even if it might mean losing one of your best young players in Iman Shumpert. As I wrote last night, the Suns love Shumpert and including him in a deal would likely be enough to get the approval on their end. There are some Knicks folks who wish he wasn’t in play and that Nash would just take the Raptors’ three-year, $36 million offer and be done with it, but I have to admit that I’m torn as to how I see the Knicks’ view here.

Their defense – which was obviously a huge part of the Mike Woodson plan/extension – would take a serious hit with Shumpert gone. He’s a legit difference maker on that end, the kind of long, high-motor guy who can keep the Dwyane Wade types out of the lane (occasionally, anyways) and fits into Woodson’s scheme. But he’s also coming off an ACL tear suffered in late April, and that will always raise some questions as to how a player returns.

While Nash’s shelf life is short, the fact is that New York has stars who aren’t playing like stars on a consistent or cohesive enough basis and he is one of the only players in the league capable of changing that. If he helps the Amar’e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler trio get out of each other’s way and finally click as a unit, then it’s worth it. If only Mike D’Antoni were still around…

The Jeremy Lin situation obviously looms large here as well, and Dolan had better be ready to match a hefty contract offer that he is expected to get from Houston today (or anyone else). Knicks fans, as I see it, could buy into the Nash approach so long as Lin was there to play a part in a 1-2 point guard punch as well. But should they let Lin walk, then the Raptors wouldn’t be the only ones hoping Dolan chews on a stick of dynamite. Don’t forget that Nash hasn’t heard Dallas’ pitch yet, either.

On another note as we make our way through this wild free agency period, I agree with John Reid of the New Orleans Times-Picayune (via tweets at @JohnReidTP) that Eric Gordon is playing his situation the wrong way. My story from last night is here, detailing how the Hornets restricted free agent shooting guard is telling the world he loves Phoenix despite the fact that New Orleans can – and is expected to – match the Suns’ max contract offer and bring him back to the Bayou.

The PR angle here is beyond puzzling, as Hornets fans won’t forget what he said and there’s absolutely no need or upside to making a public comment if you’re Gordon. And if Gordon and his camp think the Hornets will be pressured into doing a sign-and-trade to let him go to Phoenix, I have a hard time seeing that happening since this is the player – THE PLAYER – that mattered most in the Chris Paul trade in December.

Those are my randomly-inspired morning musings, driven mostly by the fact that NBA Confidential had been ignored for long enough and my post from the other day reminded me how this platform can be fun from time to time. Now back to banging the phones and maybe, just maybe, making my way to our planned shindig at some point as well. Happy 4th everyone!

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