Grant Hill the 'top priority' for Phoenix Suns

The Phoenix Suns want Grant Hill back, and the feeling is mutual. (AP Photo/Matt York)

The Phoenix Suns want Grant Hill back, and the feeling is mutual. (AP Photo/Matt York)

The Phoenix Suns are not expected to make much of a splash in free agency this December, at least not in a way that would put a dent into their 2012 cap space.

So while other teams were off chasing the Tyson Chandlers and Nenes of the world Wednesday morning when teams could first contact agents, Lon Babby’s first call was to the agent of a very familiar face: Grant Hill.

“Grant is an absolute first order of business and top priority,” Babby told The Arizona Republic. “I can’t contemplate him not being here. He represents everything we want the franchise to stand for — on and off the court. He’s our ballast.”

With Babby being Hill’s former agent and Alvin Gentry being his long-time coach who gushes about the former Blue Devil every chance he gets, Hill re-signing has always been something of a foregone conclusion.

However, with Hill having turned 39 years old in October it also would make sense for him to at least test the free agency waters as he did two years ago with the Knicks and Celtics seriously pursuing. Hill would be an ideal role player for a title contender with his defense, intangibles and mid-range jumper, but Paul Coro reported that both sides want a Suns reunion to happen for Hill.

It would make sense to offer Hill a one-year deal in the $3-4 million range, but I would be leery of offering him any more years than that.

Suns trainer Aaron Nelson told me before 2010-11 finished that Hill could “definitely play a couple more years” and with his intense training regimen and ultra healthy diet I wouldn’t bet against him.

I definitely feel it’s likely Hill has a couple more productive years in him, but I just don’t see it being too smart to tie 2012 money up on a player who will be entering his 40s in 2012-13. If Hill enjoys another successful season then at that point I would be willing to talk about Hill’s age 40 season if I’m Babby.

Still, signing Hill for this season really is a no-brainer. The Suns’ top offseason priority remains improving their defense, and they don’t have much of a shot of doing that without their top defender in Hill.

Hill also provides the Suns with the kind of stability that will be necessary during what promises to be a chaotic season, as his signing would ensure that all of Phoenix’s key rotations players return.

If only their first decision next offseason would be this easy.

And 1

  • The Suns will play their preseason home-and-home against the Denver Nuggets, The Arizona Republic reported. Each NBA team will play two such games against a neighboring squad and the Suns drew the Nuggets since their divisional rivals all have a more logical geographic partner.
  • VotS guest writer Emile Avanessian runs down the five greatest highlights in Suns history at Hardwood Hype.

Tags: Grant Hill

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