Originally posted on Larry Brown Sports  |  Last updated 7/4/12

Now that Deron Williams has signed with the Nets, Steve Nash is now the “it” guy available on the NBA free agent market. The Knicks and Raptors have been fighting for him. The Lakers and Mavericks even jumped into the fray recently. But according to Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski, the Knicks have become the favorite to land the 38-year-old.

The Knicks and Nash are reportedly in the “critical” stages of a three-year contract worth between $27 million and $30 million. Because the Knicks hardly have that kind of cap room, the deal can only be completed through a sign-and-trade with the Suns.

Iman Shumpert (and his torn ACL) would reportedly be the top player the Suns would receive in return. ESPN’s Marc Stein reports that other Knicks players involved in the deal would likely be Tony Douglas, Josh Harrellson and Jerome Jordan — “ehh” players with cap-friendly contracts.

“The Knicks don’t want to trade (Shumpert), but they will if they have to. They want Nash,” a source told Stein.

The Raptors reportedly have offered Nash a better deal — three years, $36 million — but Nash expressed more interest in the Knicks as long they could come close to those figures. So much for that absurd “home country advantage” the Raptors thought they had in their pocket.

Landing Nash alongside Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler would give the league its only so-called “Big Four,” which can only lead to expectations the Knicks naturally won’t come close to meeting.

Nash’s potential arrival could also put Jeremy Lin’s future with the team in question. The team reportedly plans to match any offer Lin, a restricted free agent, receives. Lin reportedly is receiving offers from the Raptors, Mavericks and Rockets. He could feasibly see his price go up if Nash comes off the market. The question would then become how much are the Knicks, already in cap hell if Nash joins, willing to keep him for.

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