Suns fans have been on edge waiting for something big to happen this offseason. The Shaq trade and Amar’e rumors had everyone believing that things would get ugly, fast. Since the Shaq trade nothing has surfaced…until now.
That’s right, the big news fans have been waiting for has finally come; well, not exactly. Yes something has finally happened, but it is not quite what Suns fans were hoping.
Although it is not official, all signs are pointing to Grant Hill landing in New York next season. As you know, the New York Knicks as well as the Boston Celtics have been pursuing the 36-year-old forward fairly heavily this offseason. When the Knicks missed out on their No. 1 priority, Jason Kidd, they turned all attention to Hill.
However, the Suns are giving it their best shot by sending a contingent of Sarver, Kerr and Gentry – according to an Arizona Republic report – to Orlando to woo the veteran, and Nash put in a call as well. The Suns’ offer has apparently been sweetened, so it’s not over, although it’s not looking good.
Jason Kidd chimed in by saying he thinks Hill will be a Knick, before adding, “I think that would be a good fit. He played for Coach (D’Antoni). They’ll go out and run and have the Garden jumping.”
Hill’s reasoning for “leaning toward” New York is not what most expected. NBA Fanhouse says it is Grant Hill’s wife, recording artist Tamia, who is making the push for New York. Obviously the chance to reunite with Mike D’Antoni, the mid-level salary, and the New York spotlight have something to do with his decision, but it is his better half that holds the cards here.
New York City would be the perfect place for Tamia to take her music career to the next level. However, is Grant Hill really willing to play for a 32-win team so that his wife can better her career? We all know how selfless Grant Hill is, so the answer seems to be yes.
Hill once said he would retire if he were traded from the Suns, but it seems like he had a change of heart. But why would he choose New York over a seemingly guaranteed ring with the Celtics?
Hill has made his fair share of money, and a ring riding the pine in Boston would probably not mean all that much to him. He would rather be able to play starters minutes for a coach he loves, play in Madison Square Garden, and make his wife happy. Sounds like a win-win situation to me.
Grant’s two years in Phoenix are certainly not to be forgotten. He resurrected his injury-plagued career in Phoenix, playing 152 games in two seasons averaging 13.1 ppg and 12.0 ppg, respectively. Hill was a terrific locker room guy in Phoenix, and was arguably the Suns’ best player last season.
Grant’s attitude, likability, veteran leadership, and basketball ability will be sorely missed at US Airways Center. The Suns did want Hill to return to Phoenix, but let’s face it, this is/will be a different Suns team than we are used to.
As Kerr so frequently says, “We are a team in transition.” Although none of the fans or players for that matter, have any idea what direction this team is headed, it is clear the elderly Grant Hill no longer fits.
But what does this move mean for the rest of the offseason? The Suns were not willing to pay Grant all that much money, so this move does not save tons of cash. However, it does open up an even bigger void at small forward. Expect the Suns to go after a defensive-minded wing player who can play some quality minutes next season.
This move also brings up questions about Steve Nash’s future in Phoenix. Considering Grant and Steve’s friendship and Mike D and Nash’s mutual man love, it wouldn’t be unlikely that Nash winds up in New York next season. Nash continues to request an extension with a raise from his $13.1 mil salary.
While point guards like Jason Kidd are only making around $8 million per, Nash is looking for $13-$15 million a year? To me it sounds like this is Nash’s way of saying: “Please let me out of Phoenix to go to New York with Grant Hill and Mike D’Antoni.”
Maybe the Knicks have assured Hill that Nash will be joining him in New York either next season or the season after. Who knows what is in the works, but I wouldn’t put it past Knicks GM Donnie Walsh. What we do know is that Grant Hill is almost certainly on his way to New York next season. What that means for the future of the Suns and Steve Nash remains to be seen.