Grant Hill signs with Suns for 2 years
Former all-star forward Grant Hill is banking on his ailing ankles holding up long enough to win an NBA championship with the Phoenix Suns.
Hill, 34, signed Wednesday with Phoenix for two years and $3.8 million US, a far cry from the seven-year, $93-million US pact he had with the Orlando Magic.
The seven-time all-star was expected to be the franchise cornerstone in Orlando, but missed roughly two-thirds of the Magic's game because of chronic ankle problems.
"I am sure everybody knows I have been through a lot," Hill said. "But I feel like this is a reward, the opportunity to play here and try to win a world championship.
"You want to win and that should be your goal every year. That is the goal here."
"He's really been our only target, our priority during free agency," Suns rookie general manager Steve Kerr said. "He was the guy we felt could make the biggest impact for our franchise.
"We're excited about what he's going to bring to us, both on and off the floor. Basketball-wise, I think he's the perfect fit for our system."
Hill played 65 games for Orlando last season, averaging 14.4 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.0 steals and 30.9 minutes.
He has averaged 20.0 points, 6.9 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 1.4 steals and 36.9 minutes in 635 appearances, including 629 starts, over 12 NBA seasons with the Detroit Pistons and Magic.
Only two other active players, LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat, average at least 20 points, five rebounds and five assists.
"He will probably start and you would think play 25 minutes [per game]," Suns head coach Mike D'Antoni said of Hill.
"He is one of the best playmakers in the league, especially off the ball. So that will help Steve [Nash]."
Hill was drafted third overall out of Duke by the Pistons in 1994, and shared NBA rookie of the year honours with Jason Kidd.
He spent six seasons in Detroit before being traded to Orlando for Chucky Atkins and Ben Wallace on Aug. 3, 2000.
"If he had played a full career, I think there is no doubt he would be considered among the top six or seven players in the history of the game," said TNT analyst and Scottsdale resident Doug Collins, who coached Hill in Detroit from 1995-98.
"Grant is so smooth, so effortless. In Detroit, he was something to watch and he did it all with the same class and professionalism he has always exhibited."
With files from the Associated Press