Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 12/2/11
Like the faithful in Punxsutawney, about a dozen committed media members waited for Grant Hill to emerge from the Phoenix Suns' training room. After almost 4 12 hours, the 39-year-old small forward -- standing in the shadow of microphones and digital recorders -- indicated that Suns fans may have another week of speculation regarding his next NBA contract. An unrestricted free agent, Hill said he's been comfortable working for the Suns, and the Suns haven't been bashful in announcing that they'd like to have him to return. But after Friday's marathon session of physical testing and training, Hill remained steadfast in keeping any negotiations-related information completely under the purview of the team and his agent. "I've never negotiated through the media," he said. "I want the process to run its course. Usually, the process isn't played out in the hallway of the arena. Once the dust settles, I look forward to talking about it." Fair enough. So, for now, we're obliged to wait and find out if the dust will be settling in Phoenix ... or Los Angeles ... or New York City ... or even South Beach. The speculation frenzy unleashed by a tentative agreement to end the lockout has suggested the Lakers, Knicks and Heat all are interested in hiring a wily veteran to boost their championship efforts. "Yeah, it feels good," Hill said when asked if such attention is flattering. "It feels really good. It's unusual at 39 to get that many looks." OK, let's see what savvy shoppers are looking at with Hill. While a spry 38, Grant provided the Suns with 13.2 points and 4.3 rebounds in 30 minutes per game. He made 48 percent of his shots from the field, including a tick under 40 percent from 3-point range. The aforementioned teams -- not including the Suns -- see Hill as a crafty veteran capable of providing reasonable support in a reserve role. He can be counted on to conduct himself in a professional manner and not get crabby if his minutes are diminished. In Phoenix, he still figures to be a crucial starter on a team struggling to rejoin the playoff fraternity. Hill is an important lane runner on the Suns' fast break and serves as the team's defensive stopper. With coach Alvin Gentry offering little mercy in his defensive requests of Hill, the former Duke star guarded pretty much everyone of consequence not named Dwight Howard last season. On Thursday, Hill received a vigorous endorsement from friend and teammate Steve Nash. "When you have Captain Canada -- and Mr. North America -- give you a recommendation, that's pretty good," Hill said. DAY TWO While Hill was the second-day highlight of franchise facilities access (not counting a visit to the coaches' office by the Rev. Jesse Jackson), the Suns managed to double Thursday's player roll call of three. In addition to Nash, Zabian Dowdell and Robin Lopez, US Airways appearances were made by Hill, Josh Childress and Channing Frye. "It's going to be exciting, and I'm just glad we're back playing," said Frye, who's been working as a volunteer varsity assistant coach at Oregon's Lake Oswego High (alma mater of Kevin Love). His review of that first coaching experience? "A lot more stressful," he said. Frye, who gave the Suns 12.7 points and 6.7 rebounds as the starting power forward last season, said he feels more settled into his role of player this season. He expects to "play a little bit slower," which can be decoded as not rushing as frequently. "I put a lot of pressure on myself,'' Frye said in reference to his first few weeks after signing a contract extension with the Suns. "During the lockout, I worked on putting the ball on the floor a little more, posting up smaller players better and getting a little bit better on defense. "But I'm not going to get away from what I am, and that's a floor-spacer.''
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