Dec 1, 2011, 11:29 PM EST
In case you may have thought they weren’t putting enough pressure on themselves to retain Hill’s services, Steve Nash — who you may have heard will be a free agent himself next season — declared Hill’s status a “big issue” for him personally while speaking to reporters at the US Airways Center in Phoenix on Thursday.
“That’s a big issue for me. I hope he’s back,” Nash said of Hill’s status.
The Suns obviously don’t want to do anything to upset Nash. The team is hoping to keep him happy enough so he’ll agree to a new deal to finish his career in Phoenix. It may delay the inevitable rebuilding process, but Nash is the face of the franchise and ownership fears that ticket sales, along with general interest in the team locally, will fade significantly once he’s gone.
The good news is, Hill and his family are settled in Phoenix, and all indications are that as long as the Suns give him a respectable offer for another two years, he’d prefer to stay. That doesn’t mean offers from teams like the Lakers or the Heat won’t be tempting of course, but signs point to Hill remaining in Phoenix if the offers are similar, as Nash went on to mention.
“I think that, all things being even, Grant would want to come back here,” Nash said. “I’m sure he’s going to be highly coveted by a lot of teams. Phoenix will have to really make him a great offer and put him in a position where he can’t say no to coming back.”
Those outside of Phoenix may be questioning the Suns’ motives for re-signing Hill at age 39, but he’s the team’s best one-on-one defender, and almost always ends up with the assignment of guarding the other team’s best player. Defense is an ongoing issue for these Suns, so as long as they’re going to keep Nash and attempt to compete for a spot in the postseason, they can’t afford to lose what Hill brings on that side of the ball.
That, along with making sure Nash’s wishes are respected, are two very good reasons why we’ll likely see Grant Hill back with the Suns next season.
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