Adande: Grant Hill down to Suns and Spurs

Posted by on December 8th, 6:38 pm

Thursday will go down as a day that shook the NBA world.

The lockout officially ended with the players and owners ratifying the new 10-year labor deal and a decent point guard with two first names made his way over to Los Angeles and then didn’t in a trade possibility that threatens to blow up Twitter.

Closer to home although not nearly as seismic, the Suns did most of their offseason shopping in one fell swoop by agreeing to terms with guards Shannon Brown and Sebastian Telfair. All that’s likely left on the Suns’ agenda is re-signing Grant Hill, and like the Western Conference in the middle of the last decade that race seems to have come down to the Suns and the Spurs, according to ESPN’s J.A. Adande.

Although the New York Post reported earlier that the Knicks were on the verge of landing Hill, Adande’s later report said the Knicks are out because they want to hoard their money in an attempt to woo Tyson Chandler.

The Spurs, meanwhile, could use a veteran small forward after using the amnesty clause to rid themselves of the final three years and $30 million of Richard Jefferson’s contract.

Adande reported that the Spurs are willing to give a second year to the 39-year-old Hill whereas the Suns won’t offer more than one year. However, The Arizona Republic reported that Phoenix is offering a sizable $5.5 million one-year salary, which is more than fair after Hill made a mere $10 million the last four years.

It would not make sense for a 40-year-old Hill to make a dent into the Suns’ 2012-13 cap space when they presumably will begin rebuilding in earnest with as much cap space as they can accrue. As is the theme with Brown and Telfair, the Suns seem to be willing to make moves to try to win with Nash this year but they will not budge when it comes to next year’s salary cap space.

It would be painful to Suns fans for Hill to go to San Antonio of all teams, but if we’ve learned anything today it’s that the NBA is a business.

As Hill told Paul Coro, he is not taking his free agent status lightly.

“Everything is compressed and rushed but this is a big decision,” Hill told Coro. “It’s probably my last decision so I’m going to make sure I think it through. Nothing’s new to report, despite what’s been reported elsewhere. I’m still trying to figure it out.

“It has not been an easy thing. I’ve got to make sure I’m comfortable with whatever decision it may be. I’m not comfortable right now.”

“Things have been overwhelming,” Hill added. “When I make a big decision, I’m very deliberate. The last week, I’ve been all over the place.”

As for the Paul trade, I don’t know what to think at this point. One minute the Lakers had secured the Western Conference All-Star team’s starting backcourt, the next minute it was off after a group of owners “protested vigorously.”

You might remember that Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was incensed when the Hornets took back more money in the Marcus Thornton-Carl Landry trade last season since technically he was paying for his rival to improve with the league owning the Hornets.

“I don’t need to be competing economically with the league and myself,” Cuban said at the time.

Compared to the ramifications of a Chris Paul trade, that offense seems rather trivial, so it’s understandable why the league owners don’t want to set the Lakers up to be a dynasty for the next decade if they can improve their front court.

At the same time, this could deprive the Hornets of the best offer they are going to get for Paul. And wouldn’t this same uproar occur if CP3 was dealt to the Knicks or the Celtics or anyone really?

What a compelling saga, which promises many more twists and turns in the coming days.

Michael Schwartz founded ValleyoftheSuns in October 2008 and is the owner/editor emeritus of the site. He is currently working toward his MBA in sports business at San Diego State University.

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Tags: Grant Hill · Los Angeles Lakers · Phoenix Suns · Phoenix Suns Analysis · Phoenix Suns News · San Antonio Spurs

16 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Brian // Dec 8, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    I hated seeing Paul (who is definitely my favorite non Suns nba player) but New Orleans got a ton in that deal. I think Houston is the team that got the worst of the deal.

    But back to Chris Paul…many thought he was almost done last year (that he would never be the same player) until he played so well in the playoffs.

    Think about it….the Lakers are extremely thin up front all of the sudden, Kobe is older, and Bynum and Paul both typically sit more games than they play.

    Of course if they get Howard it is a different story, but I don’t know that the Lakers made themselves better because Kobe is used to having the ball, and Chris Paul is going to have to dominate the ball if he is to be used at full potential.

    Now if Kobe can learn to play off the ball well, it will be good, but their frontcourt sure does leave a lot to be desired, even if Bynum is healthy. Who starts at 3 and 4?

  • 2 steve // Dec 8, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    I like hill a lot as a man and player, but he’s honestly not that good any more except for man to man coverage. I’m fine with seeing him go. I’d favor getting rid of hill over letting childress rot for another year on the bench.

  • 3 Grover // Dec 8, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    Agree – I’d much rather watch Childress rot on the court than on the bench. Having one of the classiest guys in the league on your roster can only take you so far. Time to let Hill go. The way he plays defense makes it too obvious for the opponents where they should go, or rather where they should’t go. Without Hill, the Suns defense will be more uniformly bad and they might get confused about which of the five match ups to exploit.

  • 4 steve // Dec 8, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    Class doesn’t equate to winning. Btw, childress isn’t a bad player. At this stage in their careers, I think childress could easily be considered BETTER than hill.

  • 5 Evan // Dec 8, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    Im fine with letting hill go just from the sheer fact that we have too many small forwards. If Hill, Peitris, and Childress were all FA i would say sign hill at all costs but that is not the case, love the guy, but this is how it has to be.

  • 6 Luke // Dec 8, 2011 at 11:05 pm

    Why not let Grant Hill walk and go after Richard Jefferson? I certainly wouldn’t be in favor of offering him a 3 year $30 million deal like the Spurs did, but an offer about half that would seem appropriate. He’d thrive with Nash as his PG (like he did with Kidd and the Nets) and he’d provide athleticism on the wing and scoring on the perimeter and the break. Plus he’d be another Phoenix native and former Wildcat added! I’m sure he’d love to come back to Phoenix!

  • 7 Mel. // Dec 8, 2011 at 11:48 pm

    As unrelated as it may be to the topic at hand (Though I agree, Luke, Jefferson is actually a really intriguing pickup)… I think the last two hours has officially been more entertaining than anything that the season is actually going to produce.

    The Lakers almost land CP3–and turn the Hornets into the Suns/Warriors of the Eastern Conference in the process–only for the league to allegedly pull some clandestine veto and hamstring the offer a step shy of the finish line.

    Then Dwight Howard apparently announces that he wants to go to the Nets. The NETS. THE NEW JERSEY NETS (We won’t acknowledge the Brooklyn move, for the sake of amused brevity). If the Suns are going to muddle about this year, then there’s at least the cruel entertainment of watching Los Angeles fail to become Miami v2.0 in the pre-season.

    Now, we just keep Paul the hell away from NYK, and we’ve got ourselves a league.

  • 8 Scott // Dec 9, 2011 at 12:34 am

    Hill is an exceptional player – a likely Hall of Famer – who has even added to his game since he’s been with the Suns. He’s also an important locker room guy and team leader. If he goes, the Suns are not quite left in the lurch, but Hill is clearly the second best player on the team after Nash.

    If he leaves the Suns, I think it is sheerly for the new experience and opportunity, and not due to lack of love for the Suns. If he chooses the Spurs, it’s probably because he’d like to know what it’s like to play under Popovich and with that group of guys.

  • 9 steve // Dec 9, 2011 at 7:22 am

    @Scott

    You’re forgetting gortat when you say hill is the second best player on the team. Gortat is easily better. I won’t make an argument for the other guys right now, but if you look at this objectively, hill isn’t very good any more. He’s certainly worth having on a team, but he’s league average or slightly better in just about every regard.

  • 10 Grover // Dec 9, 2011 at 8:59 am

    Steve – I don’t think you’d find a single team in the NBA who would agree with your assessment of Hill. Many would only sign him to a one year deal, (or would pay for two to spread the cap impact over two years while really only counting on one year of production) due to his age, but the man still produces and does so very efficiently. He is WAY off his peak obviously, but that was a pretty damn high peak. I would agree he is the third most desirable player on the Suns – Nash 1, Gortat 2, then Hill.

    It would not be possible to replace Hills level of production without spending significantly more money or committing to at least an extra year to somebody else. Go look at who else is avialable for $3 mill a year (what I’ve heard he’ll likely get) and you’ll see Hill is a bargain, and that’s before you consider the locker room presence and what he means to the community.

  • 11 steve // Dec 9, 2011 at 10:01 am

    Ok, instead of throwing out baseless claims, I’ll give it some numbers on Hill from last year (Childress’ numbers from his last year with significant minutes are in parentheses):

    PER – 14.7 (17.8)
    TS% – 56.3 (.647)
    eFG – 51.1 (.590)
    ORB% – 3.7 (9.0)
    DRB% – 12.5 (10.2)
    TRB% – 8.1 (9.6)
    AST% – 13 (8.5)
    STL% – 1.4 (1.6)
    BLK% – 1.1 (1.4)
    ORtg – 109 (127)
    DRtg – 111 (110)
    WS/48 – 0.087 (0.160)

    If you took a poll of 100 intelligent people and asked them which player was better without telling them who was who, 99 of 100 would pick Childress every single time. The only reason it’s 99 is because I’m accounting for the 1% of people who are legally insane.

    This shouldn’t even be an argument. Hill is NOT that good. I love the guy. I think he should be in the hall of fame. I have his jersey. I like everything about him, but he’s just not that good any more.

    Btw, in case you’re not up to date with advanced stats, PER of 15 is average. Hill is below average according to that metric. WS/48 of 0.100 is average. Hill is below average according to that metric.

    If you want to look at Childress’ numbers with the Suns last season instead of his last season with the Hawks, it’s the same story. If you use REASON, it’s pretty much impossible to make an argument for Hill over Childress, or even to make an argument that Hill is significantly better than average. EVERYTHING statistically indicates Hill is slightly below average.

  • 12 steve // Dec 9, 2011 at 10:05 am

    Oops, I have a couple of inconsistent decimal points in there, but I’m sure you guys will be able to figure out that Hill’s shooting percentages aren’t 100 times higher than Childress’s.

    Also, if you want to make the “important to the team/community” argument, it’s tough to take a stand against you. That’s so subjective. But I take more of the “Moneyball” approach to team-building. You don’t buy chemistry. You don’t buy character. You don’t buy potential. You buy wins. Hill doesn’t seem to produce them, so regardless of what the “intangibles” say, you don’t buy him.

    For $3M per for one year, sure. But not for anything more.

  • 13 Michael Schwartz // Dec 9, 2011 at 11:02 am

    To add to that, Childress has always been a great advanced stats guy. Last year David Berri thought Childress could replace a good chunk of Amare’s production (according to WP48 at least) as he put up a sterling 0.261 WP48 in 2007-08. His true shooting percentage and offensive rebound rate have always been off the charts for a wing. Now if only he could learn to shoot jumpers….

  • 14 Grover // Dec 9, 2011 at 11:59 am

    I truly hope you’re right about Childress as it would mean the Suns have much better depth. Based on last year, not 3 years ago however, Childress didn’t belong in the NBA.

    Just saw Hill signed for $6.5 mill. Wow. On one hand that seems like too much. On the othe hand, 2 years at $3.5 per would have seemed normal, and this is less total with no impact on next years cap. Not as excited about Hill at $6.5, but I have a hard time coming up with a better replacement who wouldn’t cost an arm and leg plus have large impact on future years.

  • 15 Scott // Dec 9, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    IMO, Hill got a higher paycheck this year to compensate for his high performance and low paychecks in previous years. Call it a performance bonus.

    Also, Hill is a better defender than Childress, as I see it, and his offense is more reliable. That said, hopefully Childress regains his earlier form.

  • 16 steve // Dec 9, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    @Scott

    That’s fine if you think those things, but your foundation is quicksand. Do you not care at all about actual numbers and metrics? Everything points to the opposite of what you said. So… why do you not believe it?

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