by Marcel Mutoni

Much has been said and written about Steve Nash’s recent two-year extension ($22 million) with the Phoenix Suns, a virtual parting gift for the former two-time MVP. The gist of much of the chatter is this: Appreciate Nash for what he once was — and ultimately, what he helped transform the Suns into — not what he is now or is going to become over the next two years.

Suns management and some members of the press expect the fans to buy into this, and get rather defensive when paying customers have the gall to question the decision. For instance, this piece in the Arizona Republic:

Go ahead. Tear down Steve Nash. Pick apart his defense. Question his value. Show your ignorance to the rest of the basketball world…Now, many fans seem to think he’s overpaid, overrated and a bad investment for a team with zero chance to win a championship in the near future. Some even call him a liability. These are the same people who drove Mike D’Antoni to the brink of insanity.

Bash Nash, if you must. Like everyone else, he gets burned by the best point guards in the league. But he takes more charges than anyone in the building. His dedication to training and team-building are unquestioned, maybe unparalleled. Meanwhile, his performance clearly was hampered last season by the demands of Shaquille O’Neal, and the awkward attempts to implement a new system. But just like Kurt Warner, Nash can work magic in the right system, with the right group of guys. And in one of their darker hours, the Suns now are in the hands of two great sportsmen, two men who sated their egos a long time ago.

With Nash and Grant Hill, there could be no better duo to mentor and shape a new era of Suns basketball. For that, Valley fans should feel lucky. It could be a lot worse.

Awesome. There’s nothing a fanbase wants to hear more than “it could be a lot worse” when heading into a new season.

$22 million is a lot of money for a player whose best days are well behind him, especially if it’s largely to mentor the younger cats (hey, Goran Dragic, you awake?)

This is your new (and depressing) reality, Suns fans. But not to worry, there are plenty of games on ESPN Classic for you to watch, when your team used to be good.