NBA Free Agency: New York Knicks Must Target Young Talent over Grant Hill

Stephen BabbFeatured ColumnistJuly 16, 2012

PHOENIX, AZ - FEBRUARY 19:  Grant Hill #33 of the Phoenix Suns puts up a shot during the NBA game against the Los Angeles Lakers at US Airways Center on February 19, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Suns defeated the Lakers 102-90.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

If you thought signing life of the party Jason Kidd would make the New York Knicks' locker room one step closer to a retirement home, just wait.

The 39-year-old tank of a point guard could soon be joined by a guy who's actually a few months older.

According to the New York Daily News' Frani Isola, NYC and free agent Grant Hill appear to share some mutual interest:

The Knicks recently met with free agent Grant Hill in Las Vegas, sources tell the Daily News.

— Frank Isola (@FisolaNYDN) July 15, 2012

In a league where two teammates rarely add up to more than 40 or 50 combined years, the prospect of two guys nearing 80 is a rare sight.

Sure, there are a few reasons to like the idea of adding Hill. In fact, it may even be a better idea than adding Kidd.

The lengthy veteran provides front-line versatility that would allow Carmelo Anthony to spend more time at the 4 without sacrificing too much size on the wing. We saw how effective 'Melo could be at the position when Amar'e Stoudemire wasn't on the floor, so head coach Mike Woodson could be looking for ways to make such a lineup more viable.

Hill is also a first-rate defender.

Even as he's lost a step, Hill remains a long, active and intelligent defender. To the extent that he could reduce Anthony's need to spend time guarding the opposing team's best scorer, that would also pay some dividends.

Anthony isn't an especially committed defender in the first place, and it is reasonable to spare him the taxing duty of checking elite scorers and the fouls that come with it.

Nevertheless, New York shouldn't be so quick to forfeit its long-term potential in order to acquire what amounts to a bandaid solution.

After all, Anthony is just 28-years-old and the franchise's best days may be a couple of years down the road. 

Unless Stoudemire returns to form in the near future, New York might struggle to contend until he's either traded or his contract comes off the books. The latter eventually won't be for another three seasons.

Without the cap space to pursue another difference-maker, the Knicks could be relegated to second-tier success so long as Stoudemire is occupying $20 million of cap room.

Though Hill could help the team now, there's a good rationale for targeting guys who will help the team two or three years from now.

It may all be a moot point.

Radio talk show host John Gambadoro reports that Hill is leaning toward joining the Los Angeles Lakers in spite of New York's overtures:

Hearing Grant Hill leaning towards Lakers after big push by Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant

— John Gambadoro (@Gambo620) July 13, 2012

Though the Knicks may feel a tad spurned in such an event, Hill heading elsewhere could be a blessing in disguise. 

The organization should take a look at some younger guys to put on the wing. They may not contribute significantly this year, but that's not the point.

New York still has a future to think about.