There will be plenty of time to talk about next year’s roster in July. Now should be reserved for discussing the Phoenix Suns’ domination through three games of the San Antonio Spurs.
But before we get back to talking about the Suns and the Spurs, AOL FanHouse’s Chris Tomasson reported on Friday that Grant Hill plans to opt in to the $3.24 million option he has in his contract for next season.
“I don’t plan on opting out,” Hill told FanHouse. “Even after this [contract], if I can still play and still play at this level, I still want to be here. I want to retire as a Sun. … I don’t have any interest in moving.
“I’d like to prove that I can play until I’m 40. That would be nice. But I’m not going to play if I can’t play at a level that I expect. Obviously, I’m not what I was 10 years ago. But I can still contribute and not be a liability. If I’m a liability, it’s time to move away, and I’ll move away. But, if I’ve still got it physically and I still have it up here, mentally and emotionally, and I have that desire, yeah, I’ll play another two or three years.”
This is obviously good news for the Suns, and exactly what I expected. I was asked about Hill’s future on Friday’s Daily Dime Live chat, and I said that he loves this team and his teammates so much that I couldn’t imagine him ever leaving. He’s made his $100 million and then some, so to be somewhere that he’s immensely happy and winning is all he could ask for at this point in his career.
That $3-plus million salary is certainly under market value when you consider he’s the Suns’ shutdown wing defender as well as a reliable scorer who brings all the intangibles and is the only three-time Sportsmanship Award winner in league history, but I’m sure Hill has no issues with that salary if it means the Suns have the flexibility to make other moves to stay good (I’m looking at you, Amare).
If Hill ever were going to leave it would have been after last season, and who could have blamed him if he wanted to chase a ring elsewhere back then?
But like Nash, Hill felt he made a commitment to this organization and talked about having unfinished business to take care of when he re-signed this summer. Hill and the Suns are certainly taking care of that right now, as he’s now in a perfect situation that combines winning with playing with teammates that he truly enjoys competing with. So much for Hill not caring about winning, right?
Stein: Majerle to interview with Sixers
You never like distractions this time of year, but success breeds these kinds of distractions.
ESPN’s Marc Stein reported that Suns assistant Dan Majerle will interview for the Philadelphia 76ers’ head coaching job on Monday. The Sixers are expected to send a delegation to meet Majerle in Phoenix.
This will almost be a non-issue if the Suns close out the Spurs in Game 4 and have a week to wait on the West Finals. The Suns as a team would likely have this day off anyway in that situation.
Still, you never like to see anybody in the organization not 100 percent concentrating on the task at hand.
At the same time, you obviously can’t blame Majerle, who can still shoot well enough to win a post-practice three-point shooting contest against Suns players recently. It’s not his fault he’s doing a great job as an assistant and is attracting attention to be a head man. He’s always possessed natural leadership skills, and his grittiness and defensive toughness as a player is really rubbing off on the Suns.
Grant Hill was talking about the Suns’ turnaround the other day after practice, and he said that after the Suns lost for the seventh time in nine games in January, Majerle — who doesn’t talk a whole lot in such settings — stood up and spoke to the squad about playing desperate, which really resonated with Hill.
“If you’re supposed to do this you’ve just got to do it,” Hill said of Majerle’s lesson. “You can’t let the guy beat you, just playing with more of a sense of urgency and just sharing that with us.
“Maybe that triggered something for us collectively, but we just started to figure out, we started to get these leads and hold onto them and realize, ‘OK, we’ve got to get stops.’ Everything just kind of came together, and it’s hard to figure out why that’s the case or how it happened, but it just did.”
That’s not to say Majerle is the sole reason the Suns turned things around after the Charlotte loss in late January of course, but he certainly didn’t hurt, and he does seem to have the makeup of a future head coach.
Good for him that he’s getting this interview, I just hope it doesn’t become a distraction for the Suns.