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IS GRANT HILL JUST TEASING THE KNICKS? (YES, IT TURNS OUT)

Update: Looks like I am posting this one, which I started early this morning but could not finish, too late as Grant Hill has made his decision to stay with the Suns for a one-year $3 million contract, with a player option on a second year for $3.24 million. It also sounds as though he expects Nash and Stoudemire to return for at least another year.

Word is that we have a 50/50 chance of picking up Grant HillThose are not bad odds considering the major theme of this free agency period is that most of the top free agents are looking to get paid to play for title contenders which has knocked the Knicks out of consideration.

Grant Hill claims he’s serious about the Knicks and he is mulling over two offers from Donnie Walsh, one for a one year 5 million contract and the other for a two to three year $10 million contract which seems to go against Walsh’s assertion that the team would focus on obtaining cap space and not space fillers at the end of their career like Hill.

Grant Hill may like the Knicks, but there is competition for his services in BeanTown and like other free agents he is more likely to play for a team that can be competitive.  He like other players know the truth – playing in New York for the next two seasons will be like waiting for the train towards retirement or another way station.  Unless Hill is swayed by money only and that famed (and overrated by New Yorkers) desire to play more than two games a year in the Garden, he will be a Suns or Celtics at the end of the free agency period.

Of the three teams, the Celtics would offer the least amount of money — $1.9 million biannual exception. Danny Ainge said the Celltics are strongly considering Hill. Doc Rivers, a friend and neighbor of Hill’s, is excited about the possibility of adding Hill to the Celtics which must be the favored team to come out of the Eastern Conference next year with the addition of Sheed and the rehabilitation of Garnett.  (Cleveland needs more physical presence in the front court – Artest would have been perfect; ariza would have helped.)  Plus Ray Allen is also a friend of Hill’s. His sales pitch to Hill is the one that has been winning over free agents all summer:  ‘If you ever want to win a championship, you want to win it in Boston because you become a god, you become a part of a legacy and you won’t die with the fans. It will always be everlasting. You can be with other cities and win it, but nothing like here.’ ’’

At 36, Grant Hill, a class act, is still considered one of the better free agents. But even his agent says he is at the end of his career and that Hill received very respectable offers for a near retirement player.   Last season Hill averaged 12 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 2.3 assists while starting in 68 games for the Suns, a team which missed the playoffs amidst a post-D’Antoni restructuring effort.  As noted above, Hill sounds like Nash and Studamuffin will return so that they can complete “unfinished business.” In addition to a sense of loyalty, I am sure the hiring of Alvin Gentry who is very familiar with The D’Antoni-Iavoroni Way, also convinced Hill that he had a chance to do something special by finishing his career in Phoenix.

If you don’t know the story of Grant Hill, it is well worth investing some time into.  Here is a man that suffered from ankle injuries for several years which kept him from playing for the Orlando Magic with Tracey McGrady, a very anticipated matchup.  As Hill was on the verge of overcoming the hardship of his injury, he discovered that his wife Tamia suffered from multiple sclerosis. He and his wife persevered through those difficuties: He is successfully concluding his career and her disease is in remission.  (As an art lover, I must also note that Hill is a great collector of African American art and his collection was turned into a book and travelling exhibition).

Despite all the good character things about Hill, Walsh’s pursuit of him makes little sense to me. On one hand, he has a lot to offer youngsters on the team.  But what the heck was Alan Houston for?   On the other hand, (the one that controls the dribble) Hill will join a  2-3 (shooting guard-small forward) core which may include Nate Robinson, Larry Hughes, Toney Douglas, Morris Almond, Al Harrington and Danilo Gallinari. That’s far too many players.  Makes no sense.  The time needs to be given to the younger guys.

Well, as noted, Hill decided to go back to the Suns. New York fans who believe in 2010 need to wake up.  It appears that Stephon Marbury is right again – free agents aren’t that interested in coming to New York except to extort more money from their favored teams.  If the lesser lights like Kidd and Hill won’t come to New York because they want to win; why would Wade or LeBron?  And don’t you get the sense that these free agents know that 2010 is not happening in a major way in New York.

What’s plan “B” Mr. Walsh?  You better tell Newsday so they can sell it for you before that option falls apart too.

BUZZER BEATERS. . .

Al Harington tells fans that he likes the result of the Knicks’ draft and that he believes the team can make the playoffs with a full season under D’Antoni..  .  .   .
Funny how last year, Stephon Marbury suggested in a New York Post Blog that he was probably going to Europe at the end of his career and many responded to his comments as incredible and him as crazy.  But the man knows this business and could see the handwriting on the wall – in order to get the type of contract he wanted, he would need to seriously consider another market.  Now, after the Celtics offered him a low veteran minimum deal of $1 million, Marbury is talking to European teams about joining them for next season.  Karma? Reaping what you sow? Maybe. But it could also be that this guy knows the extent of this window of financial opportunity.  It is closing and there will continue to be real life after basketball. . . .Alan Hahn of Newsday keeps lobbing a spit ball with Chris Mullin’s name on it into the Knicks front office despite Walsh’s insistence that he is not looking for help.  Not sure what the addition of Chris Mullins would mean, but perhaps Chris is a better talent evaluator for D’Antoni’s system than Walsh.  I have no idea but his fight for power against Crazy Nellie can be seen as a positive or a negative. . . .Cavalier Assistant John Kuester, and not Avery Johnson, will be coaching the Detroit Pistons.  Apparently, Avery Johnson is still entitled to $8 million in buyout money coming from Mark Cuban and  Dallas Mavericks after getting fired there following a first-round playoff defeat in 2008.  The other contemporary NBA Lil General and Dumars, who is not afraid to change coaches, could not agree on contract terms.  Avery wanted four years.  Dumars did not want to pay Avery $4mil per.  Dumars did not want to give more a two million, two year contract especially since he is still paying the fired Mike Curry five million over the next two years.  Dumars explained this by stating that his current team is not a title contender yet and does not require a $4 – $5 million coach just yet.  He likened this team to the one at the start of the Rick Carlisle period.  Unfortunately for the Knicks, this hiring does not necessarily free up a playoff spot because Kuester is considered a good offensive-oriented coach and he will find a way to maximize a squad that includes Tashaun Prince, Rick Hamilton, Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva.

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Related Previous Posts:

Knicks Pick Up Jordan Hill At 8, Toney Douglas At 29  And Milicic At The Q

Knicks Depth Chart; Where Do We Go From Here?

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July 10, 2009 Posted by | Al Harrington, Danilo Gallinari, Donnie Walsh, Mike D'Antoni, Nate Robinson, New York Knicks | , , , , , | 15 Comments

STARBURY SHINES A LITTLE IN CELTICS PLAYOFF WIN

One Berry
Two Berry
Pick me a blueberry

Hatberry
Shoeberry
In my canoeberry
. . . .

Quickberry
Quackberry
Pick me a blackberry
. . . .

No, I did not make that poem up. Those are lines from one of my favorite children’s books to read to Alpha Dog, Jr. (my son): Jamberry by Bruce Degan.  Alpha Boy likes the book too — one of the few times I can keep him quiet as I try to calm him down for nighty nite. The book has a nice catchy rhythm to it.  Last night, as the Celtics pummeled the Chicago Bulls 107-86, Marbury started to show signs of his former self as he found his own rhythm and gave the Celtics quality minutes.  His line did not totally reflect his contribution to the win which led bench play that will be essential for the Celtics to progress in the playoffs.  In 24 minutes of playing time, Starbury scored 13 points, dished five assists and grabbed three rebounds.    His shooting was still off — he still looked rusty in that regard going 4-10 shooting– but he was moving with a bit of confidence and that focused meanness that propelled him to noteriety early in his career. Although, he did get carried away once with a little over-dribbling where he failed to beat the clock  In fact the Celtics played with the physical nastiness that got them through the playoffs last year, as the refs ignored calls they would have made during the regular season.  Pierce took over the game early last night, but the greatest obstacles for the Bulls may have been their own emotions as  Derrick Rose received the Rookie of the Year award before the game and this group of Bulls played their first playoff game before an enthusiastic and expectant home crowd.  So while it looks like Stephon may finally get to the second round of the playoffs for the first time in his career, there is still plenty of basketball to play before the Bulls are to be counted as dead.

Raspberry
Jazzberry
Razzamatazzberry
Berryband
Merryband
Jamming in Starburyland

In other Knicks news (HeHe), Trevor Ariza and the Lakers finally gave up one to the feisty Utah Jazz in a 88-86 thriller.   Kobe’s shooting was atrocious and Pau Gasol was defensively challenged as he tried to stop Carlos Boozer from beating him off the dribble.  Ariza’s statistical contribution as a starter was barely notable — 9 points and 4 assists in 38 minutes — but they were in the game till the end.  Ah, just a road bump to the inevitable finals showcase.  If the games weren’t so entertaining, you could go to sleep and just wake up when LeBron and Kobe are ready to star in the same show.

Blog  Update:  We added a new page with all of the Knicks scores and stats for the 2008-09 season.  It is a quick and easy reference for every game with tons of links.  We also added a new link section, “Behind Enemy Lines,” to the sidebar.  This is a collection of links of the best enemy blogs that we identify in our travels arond the blogosphere.  I found RedsArmy.com to be well attended and b-ball savvy which is hard to say about any place with more than 2 Celtics fans in the room.  Oh well, I can’t wait until Walsh gets us into the playoffs, so I can back up my Knicks smack and cross enemy lines without being in stealth-hover mode all the time.
LGK.

April 24, 2009 Posted by | Boston Celtics, Derrick Rose, Donnie Walsh, Stephon Marbury, Trevor Ariza | , , | 22 Comments