Phoenix Suns Overpay to Retain Grant Hill to a One-Year Deal

Sam CooperCorrespondent IIIDecember 9, 2011

PHOENIX, AZ - JANUARY 14:  Head coach Alvin Gentry of the Phoenix Suns talks with Grant Hill #33 during the NBA game against the Portland Trail Blazers at US Airways Center on January 14, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the 115-111.  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)
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Small forward Grant Hill is returning to Phoenix, agreeing to a deal of one year, $6.5 million. 

Hill was actively pursued by a number of teams, including the Spurs, Clippers, Bulls and Knicks

Hill was considered to be most likely re-signed by the Suns all along, but the Knicks did make a strong run toward the end. The Knicks are an up-and-coming team and Hill's relationship with Knicks head coach Mike D'Antoni made his decision between New York and Phoenix a difficult one. 

Hill is the second oldest active player in the NBA at 39, and this year will most likely be his last. He still performed very well last season, averaging 13.2 points and 4.2 rebounds a game. He became one of just six all-time NBA players to average more than 13 points a game at an age of 38 or older. 

Although he did perform well last year, whether the $6.5 million is worth it has to be questioned. The Suns had to increase from their original offer of $5 million, but even that could have been considered overpaying by many. It is a lot of money for a risky player like Hill, and many agree that at this point the Suns should be turning their attention to rebuilding rather than re-signing old players close to retirement.

At 39, there is a likely chance that he will continue to decline and he may have the worst season of his career. In this case, he may provide no more than being a veteran leader in the locker room, which isn't doing much for his steep price of $6.5 million. 

Also, although Hill will surely start the season in the starting lineup, he could end up being a bench player by the end of the season. I anticipate newly signed Shannon Brown to start at SG, and if Hill performs poorly enough, management could choose to start Jared Dudley at the small forward spot.

Dudley started the last 11 games of last season over Carter at shooting guard in which Dudley put up very solid numbers of 16 points and 5.9 rebounds a game. He also managed a great 2.4 steals a game. He proved that he can step up and be a go-to scorer if needed, and I don't think the Suns will feel obligated to start Hill if he is playing poorly.

Re-signing Hill was a very important move for the Suns. Nash stated several days ago that it was "extremely important" to him that they re-sign Hill. But the Suns better pray that he's worth his price. And even in the situation that he maintains his current level of play, that probably isn't the case.