Phoenix Suns Rumors: Nash, Dragic, Marshall, Williams; Plans A-B-C-D or is that A-D-C-B?

PHOENIX, AZ - APRIL 25: Steve Nash #13 of the Phoenix Suns speaks in a press conference following the NBA game against the San Antonio Spurs at US Airways Center on April 25, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Spurs defeated the Suns 110-106. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Who knows what's Plan A vs. Plan B vs. Plan C vs. Plan D in the Suns' thinking. We on the outside have no idea what order the Suns would put these potential point guards, but you've got to think the Suns have their order already laid out.

In the past 24 hours, the Suns have expressed interest in PG draft prospects Kendall Marshall and Damian Lillard. They've also been rumored to want free-agent-to-be Goran Dragic back, if Nash leaves. On top of that, Jared Dudley (Mr Social Media himself) recently told a reporter that the Suns have a real shot to keep Steve Nash, and other reporters have listed the Suns as Deron Williams' third-best free agent option this summer.

Wow. So maybe the Suns need to resolve their point guard problem, with Nash being 39 and a free agent? Whuda thunk it?

None of this is a surprise to Suns fans, for sure. None is breaking news.

The question I'm asking today is: in what order do the Suns have these guys on their secret white board? In any ranking, you have to weigh the likelihood successful acquisition against your love for the player himself.

Hit the jump for links to rumors/quotes on these guys, as well as my risk/probability analysis that must play into their thinking.

First, let's establish the substance of each rumor.

Damian Lillard

From John Treloar, Suns' draft boss, to Paul Coro of azcentral.com: The Suns would love to see Lillard available but he is a likely top-10 pick, especially with teams willing to trade up to snatch him.

"I saw him a lot and it was impressive. He was the main focus of the other team's defense and still was the second leading scorer in the country (24.5 points per game). He didn't break out of the offense to get his points. They came out of the flow of the offense and within the rhythm of his team."

Kendall Marshall

Visiting for the second time in a week, which shows some heightened level of interest in him over others in the draft.

From John Treloar, Suns' draft boss, to Paul Coro of azcentral.com: "There are going to be questions until he goes out there and shows what he can do in the NBA," Treloar said. "Personally, I think he'll improve in the NBA. He makes players better."

Goran Dragic

Sean Deveny of sportingnews.com has always had good dirt on the Suns over the years, despite the front office changes. So when he mentions Suns' interest, I'm inclined to believe it's real.

Assuming that is not Houston, a source told Sporting News, Dragic could wind up in a familiar surrounding anyway-back in Phoenix. Should the Suns lose Nash in free agency, Phoenix is expected to make a push to re-sign Dragic and give him the reins in coach Alvin Gentry's offense. That would suit Dragic.

"I learned a lot in Phoenix, I had a very good time there," he said. "I don't know what is going to happen, but that is an organization I know, obviously, and they helped me a lot."

Steve Nash

Our own Jared Dudley recentlyexpressed optimism to Alex Kennedy of hoopsworld.com in Steve coming back: "If he wants to go try to win a championship, hey, more power to him," Dudley said. "If he wants to stay and help this process, more power to him. I definitely think he'll weigh his options and see what he can do. Steve wants to compete and he wants to play for an organization that wants to compete. If he feels that's the Suns or another organization, he'll definitely decide that, but I definitely think it's 50/50. I think the Suns have a huge, real shot at bringing him back."

That's a lot more positive than I remember him talking about Amare two years ago. Back then, he expressed concern over the Suns need to step up in a big way. This time, Dudley didn't mention concern over the Suns at all. It's in Nash's court, as its always been.

Deron Williams

And then there's the repeated link to max-contract FA Deron Williams. It's the flimsiest of them all, but it's still there and it's not going away. Williams WILL sign a max contract. The question is: with who?

Chris Broussard recently wrote an insider piece for the mothership, detailing Williams' options. Of course, the Nets (most money, most years) and Dallas (room for max contract, still have Dirk and Cuban but much else) are the front-runners. No question they are the leaders in the clubhouse. But is there another very real option, a dark horse?

That leaves Phoenix. The weather and golf (Williams is a huge golf guy) is great, the offense is free-flowing (something Williams is definitely looking for), and with him, the team could be on the rise. While the Suns' first choice appears to be re-signing Nash, the younger Williams is a better option. I don't think the Suns could move ahead of Dallas on Williams' list, but they should not be completely discounted either.

So there you have the latest rumors on the Suns point guard for 2012.

First, let's rank these guys in order of 2012-13 talent, giving the Suns the best chance to win lots of games:

  1. Williams
  2. Nash
  3. Dragic
  4. rookie

Next, let's rank these guys in order of longer-term talent, beyond 2012-13:

  1. Williams
  2. Rookie (Lillard/Marshall)
  3. Dragic
  4. Nash

Finally, let's rank them in order of how EASY it will be for the front office to sign them:

  1. Rookie (Marshall)
  2. Dragic
  3. Nash
  4. Williams

It will be a complete shock if Williams signs with the Suns.The Suns would likely have to acquire another all-star level talent first, then talk Williams into spurning Dallas and NJ for a contender in Phoenix. On a lesser scale, the Suns still have to improve at least a little in free agency to keep Nash. But since the front office has shown little creativity to date, that could be difficult.

Signing Dragic to a big free agent contract or drafting a point guard, though, is a LOT easier. Neither requires a great level of creativity or agressiveness. That's why I ranked these higher in the "ease" category.

So what will the Suns do? In what order do they have these guys?

The Suns actual ranking of these options likely weighs both talent AND probability. To do that, the Suns have to decide what's most important. Spend money to win big in 2012-13? Or re-build the team around a rookie PG?

On opening night, you could see a contender step onto the court with Deron Williams leading the charge, flanked by a SG tandem of rookie/vet shooting guard, Hill/Dudley, new PF and Gortat.

Or you could see a rookie lead the charge with new, young faces all over the court and a 20-win season pre-ordained

But the most likely scenario might just be Nash leading the charge, flanked by a team of middle-tier "if everything goes right" playoff talent.

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