Thursday , Jul , 05 , 2007 Oly Sandor

Grant Hill Leaves Orlando Magic For Phoenix Suns; Veteran Should Come Off The Bench

The Suns have signed Grant Hill to a two-year contract … The veteran could start at shooting guard or small forward … But wouldn’t Phoenix and Hill be best served by the former all-star coming off the bench? … Click here for news and analysis …

John Denton, a Florida Today writer, reports on Grant Hill signing with the Phoenix Suns:

Grant Hill, whose seven years in Orlando were marred by crippling injuries to his ankle and abdomen, informed the Magic today that he is leaving to sign a free-agent contract with the Phoenix Suns.

Hill confirmed Thursday morning that he was leaving and said he would discuss the matter more later today. Check back with FLORIDA today for updates.

Because of the injuries that robbed so much of the prime of his career, Hill played in just 200 of a possible 574 games in his seven years in Orlando. He missed 65.1 percent of the games with the Magic.

Hill, whose $92.88 million contract with the Magic expired on July 1, will sign a one-year deal for the veteran minimum of $1.2 million. The deal can’t be officially signed until July 1, the first day contracts become official.

The soon-to-be 35-year-old guard/forward will be joining a Suns team looking get past San Antonio and Dallas in the Western Conference and play for a championship during two-time MVP Steve Nash’s prime. Hill has never been on a team that has won a playoff series in his 13-year NBA career.

Hill will likely replace Raja Bell in the Suns’ starting lineup at shooting guard. He could shift to his natural position, small forward, if Phoenix trades Shawn Marion as

My Quick Take: improved without spending a lot of money. gives them a solid veteran; a jack of all trades small forward, who won’t upset team chemistry.

However, I think Hill should come off the bench for Phoenix. As a reserve, playing limited minutes, the veteran would be able to preserve his body and provide the Suns with depth-something they
lacked last year.

And should start in front of Hill at two-guard. Bell’s an excellent defender with great range. His toughness would be missed in a reserve role.

Hill could slide into the starting small-forward spot if the Suns traded . But that’s a big if. Opposing teams are gun-shy about picking up the tab on The Matrix’s "max" contract, so the forward will probably be staying in Phoenix. This is a positive. Marion’s speed and defense makes him hard to replace.

Hill’s versatility and basketball IQ makes him a perfect reserve. He could log 20-25 total minutes at the one, two, and three spots. And he would make a great back-up for . After all, who manned the point for Duke after Bobby Hurley graduated? Providing Nash with some rest might be Hill’s greatest contribution next season.

Collateral Damage: San Antonio, Phoenix’s rival, had their eyes on Hill. The Suns not only improved by signing Hill, but they prevented him from joining the Spurs.

is now chasing . But he’ll probably re-sign with the .

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