NBA Rumors: Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant Need Grant Hill's Defense for Title Push

Josh BenjaminCorrespondent IJuly 17, 2012

PHOENIX, AZ - FEBRUARY 19:  Head coach Alvin Gentry and Grant Hill #33 of the Phoenix Suns 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

Although approaching 40 years old, Grant Hill continues to be a hot commodity on this year's free agent market.  In a recent report by Frank Isola of the New York Daily News, Hill had a meeting with the New York Knicks so that he could be a solid option off of their bench.

However, an old rivalry has been reignited in free agency as according to John Gambadoro of, the veteran forward and former Duke Blue Devil is leaning towards signing with the Los Angeles Lakers after a joint pitch by star shooting guard Kobe Bryant and the newly acquired Steve Nash.

Hill may be approaching the big 4-0, but he has still managed to be effective in recent years despite losing some prime years with an ankle injury that just wouldn't go away.  He was a starter for the Phoenix Suns each of the past three years and was able to average 29.4 minutes per game over that stretch.

In terms of scoring, Hill also still had it in averaging 11.5 points per contest.  Keep in mind, in each of his NBA seasons, he has averaged 10 points a game or better.

Most important of all, however, Hill can still be an absolute pest on defense.  His steals have gone down but when it comes time for him to play some D, he is on his man like white on rice.

Seeing as how Metta World Peace has been a Grade-A bust at small forward since coming to Los Angeles, it is essential that Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak bring in Hill, at least as someone to come off the bench.  Yes, he may be older, but his skill set is exactly what the Lakers need.

Remember who the small forward was on the Lakers championship squads of the Shaq-Kobe years?  His name was Rick Fox and his skills in the prime of his career were almost identical to those of Hill today.  He played great defense and if left wide open, was a lock to make a shot from long range.

Fox's scoring wasn't as effective as that of Hill, but that's not the point.  The fact of the matter is that Hill is still an absolute beast on defense, just what the Lakers need to get back to the NBA Finals.  His experience playing with Nash is just an added bonus.

That all being said, Kupchak needs to break out the team's checkbook and (and I know this sounds brash) have Hill name his price.  If he can be everything he was last year and more for the Lakers, the championship ring will be worth whatever the team ends up paying in luxury tax.

The saying goes that defense wins championships, and in this case, Hill is the key to one.