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Hill gives up Magic for Phoenix Suns



Published: Fri, July 6, 2007 @ 12:00 a.m.

The veteran accepted a two-year deal worth nearly $2 million a year.

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Grant Hill made seven NBA All-Star teams and won two college championships. He also has never been past the first round of the NBA playoffs.

Hungry for a title, Hill is leaving the Orlando Magic after seven injury-plagued years to join a perennial contender in the Phoenix Suns, his agent said Thursday.

The 34-year-old forward agreed to a two-year deal worth about $1.8 million for the first year, with a second-year player option for about $2 million, agent Lon Babby said.

“There’s no question he could’ve gotten considerably more money elsewhere, but that was not the principle,” Babby said. “I think the most important factor for him was the opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to a team competing for the championship.”

Magic’s contract ended

Hill was considering retirement or returning to Orlando for another season. His seven-year, $93 million contract finished this season, and the Magic have used it as a flashpoint for rebuilding.

That salary-cap room was earmarked for a free-agent scorer, and Orlando agreed to spend it on Seattle SuperSonics forward Rashard Lewis, his agent said this week. Teams cannot discuss or complete deals until the signing period begins Wednesday.

Hill has played about only a third of Orlando’s 574 regular-season games, and made the All-Star team just once since leaving the Detroit Pistons.

This year was the first Hill finished healthy since arriving in Orlando in 2000 with an ankle injury that eventually required five operations. The Magic signed Tracy McGrady at the same time, but he left in a 2004 trade that brought in Steve Francis.

Lots of teams interested

Babby said about 15 teams courted Hill, and the forward narrowed that list to five. He declined to name which other teams Hill was considering.

The Suns won 61 games this season, losing in the Western Conference semifinals to the eventual champion San Antonio Spurs. Hill will join a roster that includes two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash and All-Star Amare Stoudemire.

“I think all he was seeking was the opportunity to start,” Babby said. “It was the same promise that was made to him when he went to Duke. Nobody guarantees you anything and he wasn’t asking for guarantees.”


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