NBA Free Agency Rumors: Veteran Grant Hill Would Give Clippers Edge over Lakers

Adam Fromal@fromal09National NBA Featured ColumnistJuly 17, 2012

PHOENIX - DECEMBER 23:  Grant Hill #33 of the Phoenix Suns passes the ball under pressure from LeBron James #6 and James Jones #22 of the Miami Heat during the NBA game at US Airways Center on December 23, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Heat defeated the Suns 95-83. 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

With the Los Angeles Lakers in shambles following an early exit from the postseason, the NBA was ready to witness a changing of the guard in L.A. The Los Angeles Clippers were ready to take over as the dominant team in the city. 

Then Steve Nash just had to go to the Lakers and screw it all up. Another old guy, Grant Hill, could change that though.  

The Clippers have made all the right moves, but the acquisition of Nash pushed the Lakers back into the pole position for the Los Angeles-based teams. With Nash, Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, the Lakers have the best starting five in the NBA. 

However, one move could push the Clippers back to the top.

According to Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times, Hill and Vinny Del Negro met in Las Vegas on July 15 as the Clippers expressed interest in using either the bi-annual exception or the veteran's minimum to sign the nearly 40-year-old small forward. 

The Clippers won't be able to match the starting five of the Lakers. However, with the addition of Hill, they would have the depth necessary to topple them in a seven-game series. 

A starting lineup of Chris Paul, Chauncey Billups (re-signed after an Achilles injury ended his first season with the Clippers), Caron Butler, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan is still potent, especially if Jordan finally breaks out. 

It's the depth that gives them the edge. 

In the backcourt, the Clippers would have both Eric Bledsoe and Jamal Crawford coming off the bench, while Hill would be a huge addition in the frontcourt alongside Lamar Odom.

Hill is still athletic enough to make an impact, and he's the superb perimeter defender that the Clippers lack when Chris Paul isn't big enough to lock-down the opposing player.

Plus, he gives a young Clippers squad another veteran presence as it looks to advance further into the playoffs than it has in quite some time.

The Lakers should still be considered the favorites to land Hill, but the Clippers should be considered the L.A. favorites if they sign him.