AP source: Hill returning to Phoenix Suns - East Valley Tribune: Sports

AP source: Hill returning to Phoenix Suns

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Posted: Friday, December 9, 2011 10:52 am | Updated: 9:09 pm, Fri Dec 9, 2011.

(AP) — A person with knowledge of the deal says Grant Hill is returning to the Phoenix Suns, agreeing to terms on a one-year, $6.5 million contract.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity Friday because the deal had not been signed.

One of Phoenix's most popular players, Hill was a top target in the free agent market, pursued by numerous teams before deciding to return for a fifth season in the desert.

The NBA's second-oldest player at 39, Hill has proven to still be a good player after past injury woes, averaging 15.8 points last season while routinely guarding the opposing team's best player.

Hill also has been valued for his leadership abilities and is considered a key to keeping close friend Steve Nash from leaving. Nash's contract is up after the abbreviated 2011-12 season.

Hill was one of the NBA's best players after being drafted out of Duke by Detroit in 1994 before being hampered by a serious ankle injury that threatened his career.

The swingman revived his career in Orlando and has played four steady seasons for the Suns, averaging 12.3 points. He is still one of the league's best defensive players, often matched up against players like LeBron James, Chris Paul and Kobe Bryant, and has been durable in his later years, playing less than 80 games just once while in Phoenix.

Hill made just over $10 million during his four years with the Suns, a bargain for a productive starter, and the team made signing him a priority once the lockout was settled — enhanced by Nash's pleas to not let him go somewhere else.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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