Nobody expected Steve Nash to become the player he ended up becoming in the NBA. Back in the day, he was seen as a good player and nothing else. Nash finished his career as one of the best point guards in NBA history and one of the best players in the league that never won a ring.
The Canadian point guard reached his peak with the Phoenix Suns, where he won back-to-back MVPs and led his team to be very close to playing in the Finals. He could have done that with a different team and not precisely the Dallas Mavericks. He was part of the Texan team, too, but before the Mavs, Nash could have landed in Vancouver to play with the Grizzlies.
The extinct Canadian team was close to having Nash on the roster twice. First, during the 1996 NBA draft. Nash ended up with the Suns for the first time after they picked him with the #15 overall pick of the night. Vancouver had the #3 overall pick and selected Shareef Abdur-Rahim. That was expectable since Nash wasn't seen as a big prospect back in the day. Two years after that, Nash was traded to the Dallas Mavericks but the Grizzlies were also in conversations to get the player.
In 2016, Howard Tsumura of the Vancouver Sun reported that Vancouver could have had Nash for the #4 pick in the 1997 draft and an unnamed player, but the price the Suns were asking was just too much for them.
“Phoenix called but they’re being unreasonable,” former Grizzlies GM Stu Jackson said at the time. “They called because they realize [Nash isn’t] going to play. But what they’re asking for we just can’t do. If we did what they were asking for Steve Nash, we’d have one happy day and then we’d spend the rest of the year saying: ‘What did we do?’”
What the Suns were asking? Bryant Reeves, the franchise player on the Grizzlies and one of the players with the lowest winning percentage in NBA history. Nash went to play with the Mavericks, teaming up with Dirk Nowitzki.
It wasn't until he left the Mavericks and rejoined the Phoenix Suns that his game reached the next level, winning two consecutive MVP awards and becoming one of the best players in the league under Mike D'Antoni.
Had the Grizzlies accept that deal, their history could have been very different. With the right decisions, Nash, a local product, would have taken to the postseason and we'll probably see them in Vancouver today. Instead, they were relocated to Memphis at the start of the new millennium and the Vancouver Grizzlies were forgotten.