Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 12/1/11
PHOENIX -- When US Airways Center reopened to players Thursday, it was no surprise that Steve Nash was the first member of the Phoenix Suns through the door. After the NBA's 149-day lockout, Nash is "desperate" to get back to basketball. After a light workout alongside teammates Robin Lopez and Zabian Dowdell on Thursday morning, Nash addressed a number of topics, including his future with the Suns since he knows speculation about a trade out of Phoenix will certainly surface soon enough. "I guess (speculation is) inevitable now," Nash said. "I think a lot of things will come to light or find resolution in the next few weeks with all the free agent signings, trades and stuff." "After eight months away, that's so far ahead right now. (I'm) just desperate to get back to work." Nash also discussed the league's condensed schedule, his relationship with Suns owner Robert Sarver and Grant Hill's free agency. More than anything though, the two-time MVP was happy to be back on familiar ground. "It feels great," Nash said. "It's been obviously too long, and I missed it. To have (the lockout) finally be near a resolution -- or looking as though there will be one here -- and to come back into the facility is a great step." Getting back in the building is certainly just a step in the process, and there's a lot to be done before the season gets under way sometime after Christmas. The Suns wont have as much time to train -- either formally or informally -- as in past seasons, which may hurt most in terms of chemistry. The layoff for players has obviously been much longer than usual, and Nash was no exception. The point guard has been back in the Phoenix area for a while but not spending much time on basketball activities. "I'm healthy, which is great, and I'm in great shape, but I haven't played much basketball," Nash said. "I've been shooting all break, but I've only played basketball a few times, so I definitely need the next three or four weeks to get in basketball shape." Nash said he's spoken to a few teammates recently and got together to train with a handful in San Diego during the lockout. What shape the rest of the Suns are in should become clearer as players continue arriving in the Valley. A number of Suns are expected back in town Friday. Formal training camps and free agency are expected to begin Dec. 9. With teams facing a 66-game schedule in a span of roughly four months, the season could be particularly tough on Nash, who's battled late-season injuries the past two seasons. Nash isn't sure yet how such a brutal schedule could affect his minutes. "I think everyone's going to be leery of it," Nash said. "Its going to be brutal. Four games a week is tough for anybody, but I feel in great shape. I'm hoping to be able to cope with it as well as anybody." Nash also believes the Suns could be a playoff team this season and would love to see the team make some roster improvements. The Suns' primary focus will likely be bringing back Hill. Hill, 39, is an unrestricted free agent, and the Suns expressed last season that they want him back, but the veteran forward is drawing interest from a number of teams. Nash said he's spoken with Hill during the lockout, but he couldn't provide any insight into Hill's thought process right now. "I'm very hopeful Grant will be back," Nash said. "It's very, very important to me that he's back -- personally. I think he's very important to the team and the community. I'm not sure where he stands right now, but I believe the organization realizes his value to the team and the club. "I think, all things being even, Grant would want to come back here, but I think it depends on the situation. I'm sure he's going to be highly coveted by a lot of teams. Phoenix will really have to make him a great offer and put him in a position where he can't say no to coming back." Nash vaguely addressed the potential animosity between him and Sarver, sparked by a social media rant in September from ESPN.com's Bill Simmons. On Twitter, Simmons ripped Sarver for his role in the lockout. Former Sun Jason Richardson endorsed those tweets, and Nash retweeted Richardson. Nash admitted that his retweeting could be seen as critical of Sarver but held that the players and owners were on opposite sides of the negotiating table. He repeated that sentiment Thursday and didnt seem concerned that there would be any issue clearing the air. "We're on two different sides of a collective bargaining agreement, so we aren't teammates in that situation," Nash said. "There was a lot of animosity, and at times it got personal, but I think that everyone's man enough to recognize what it is and even admit to maybe their mistakes in the process and put it behind us and go back to where we were as far as working together."
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