It’s easy to suggest the Phoenix Suns trade Steve Nash. He is a two-time MVP, still plays the game at a high level and only has one year left on his contract. But the player Phoenix should seriously consider trading is Grant Hill.
Both Nash and Hill are veteran players who could help a contending team. The difference is that the options for trading Nash are limited. Many of the playoff bound teams like Boston, Chicago, San Antonio and Dallas do not need a point guard; but every team in the league could use Hill. He is a very good defensive player, can start or come off the bench, still knocks down the mid-range jump shot, runs the floor well and he has tremendous leadership skills.
Hill could be a difference maker for a contender; he averages 14.5 points and 5 rebounds in 30 minutes per game. He only makes $3.3 million this season and is in the last year of his contract, so there is no real financial commitment to acquiring him. From the Suns’ perspective, if they could get an expiring contract for him and a decent draft pick it would be well worth moving him. And let’s not forget that moving Hill would give Jared Dudley the opportunity to start, and Dudley has been playing so well that there would be no drop off. In back to back starts in late December Dudley scored 27 points on 10-for-16 shooting vs San Antonio and tallied 33 points and 12 rebounds against Miami.
Clearly the Suns would love to move the contracts of Josh Childress (5/$33 million) and Hakim Warrick (3/$12 million), but those may prove difficult to do as neither player has established himself in Phoenix. Childress and Warrick were both signed in the aftermath of losing Amare Stoudemire and now the Suns are regretting both signings. The Suns would have takers for Channing Frye, who signed a 5/$30 million contract in the offseason, but Phoenix seems inclined to keep him.
What the Suns need to do is be honest with the fans and themselves and admit that a rebuilding process is underway. No apologies needed. The Suns have had quite a run over the last six years, reaching the Western Conference Finals twice and being one of only four teams to post a winning record in each of the past six seasons, but now the time has come to go back to the drawing board. It would be foolish to think the Suns can turn this around in a year, that just doesn’t happen without adding a superstar player. And the Suns cap situation makes that extremely difficult right now. Phoenix needs to clear space, acquire draft picks and put themselves in a position to land a star player either through free agency or in the draft lottery in the coming years. It will take a few years for Phoenix to be relevant again, but this is what needs to happen. And it all starts with moving Hill.