We’ve been pretty focused on the NBA Draft here at RaptorBlog over the last couple of weeks, but it appears we finally have some non-Draft Raptors-related news to pass along. With NBA Free Agency beginning shortly after the Draft, the rumours should begin swirling out of control over the next week or so, so how about we start it off with another Steve Nash report.

During a radio conversation between Eric Smith and Jack Armstrong, Smith announced that while in Miami, he heard from “national media types from the U.S.” and “at least one prominent agent” that believe Steve Nash has a three-team shortlist that includes the Phoenix Suns, the Portland Trail Blazers and your Toronto Raptors.

No New York. No Miami.

From a Knicks perspective, Jeremy Lin (and Steve Novak) was granted “early Bird rights” in an arbitration ruling today, so while the NBA might appeal the decision, it looks as if the Knicks will be able to keep Lin around without much worry of the salary cap. This is big news for the Knicks, but also big news for teams (like the Raptors) who have been linked to point guards like Lin and Nash.

With Lin assumed to be out of the picture, perhaps a team like Toronto now focuses all of their attention of grabbing Nash. If New York manages to lock up Lin, as expected, perhaps they no longer see the need to go after Nash. Steve has said as recently as this week that he would definitely consider the Knicks as an option (and why wouldn’t he consider the city he lives in for parts of the year?), but you would have to assume that retaining Lin lessens the possibility for the Knicks.

If the shortlist report is accurate, it should make for an interesting little competition. The Suns have the loyalty advantage, and we all know that Steve Nash might be loyal to a fault. The Northwest familiarity of Portland, it’s proximity to B.C. and the fact that the Blazers are probably the closest to a playoff team of the three has to have their fan-base feeling good about the situation.

As for Toronto, well it’s Canada. It’s Nash’s home and native land. It’s where he can end his career representing his adoring country and focusing on his duties as General Manager of the Canadian national team.

If Steve Nash’s decision really is down to these three teams, then as Jack Armstrong stated in the aforementioned radio spot, “I like Toronto’s chances.”

And if you’re not convinced Nash joining the Raptors would be good for the franchise, here’s some suggested reading from a while back.