Celtics notebook

Hill stays where he can shine

He signs 2-year deal with Suns

By Marc J. Spears
Globe Staff / July 11, 2009
  • Email|
  • Print|
  • Reprints|
  • |
Text size +

Grant Hill has decided to remain in Phoenix rather than attempt a championship run with the Celtics.

The Suns re-signed Hill to a two-year, $6.2 million deal yesterday with a player’s option on the second season, worth $3.24 million. The Celtics could only offer a $1.9 million biannual exception. Hill also considered the Knicks’ one-year, $5 million offer.

Hill’s agent, Lon Babby, told Celtics president Danny Ainge about his client’s decision yesterday morning.

“I’m not surprised,’’ Ainge said. “He likes Phoenix. He has good relationships there. I’m not surprised at all. He had good options. We wish him well.’’

Hill was courted by Ainge, Celtics guard Ray Allen, and coach Doc Rivers, who coached him in Orlando.

The Suns, who won 46 games last season but didn’t make the playoffs, also offered Hill a starting position, which the Celtics couldn’t. Hill averaged 12 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 2.3 assists last season, his second with Phoenix.

“Grant decided to stay in Phoenix largely because he feels he has unfinished business there,’’ said Babby. “The Suns placed their faith in him two years ago. While Grant has played well in Phoenix, and indeed played in all 82 games last year, he didn’t want to leave Phoenix on a sour note.’’

When asked about Hill turning down a possible title run with the Celtics, Babby said: “I’m not going to talk about why he’s not going to go to a place. Obviously, the opportunity to play for a team that recently won a championship and will be in the hunt next year was a strong, very, very strong consideration to go to Boston.’’

Ainge wouldn’t divulge other potential candidates for the $1.9 biannual exception.

“We have our sights set on other players, but I won’t share them,’’ Ainge said. “Things are possible. There are people we are talking to. But nothing I want to talk about publicly.’’

Ainge, however, did say the Celtics are interested in retaining restricted free agent forward Glen Davis.

“We still have a handful of teams that are interested and we are in no hurry,’’ said Davis’s agent, John Hamilton. “We will let the process work itself out.’’

Pruitt showing polish
Gabe Pruitt got his important offseason off to a productive start this week in Orlando, averaging 10.2 points and 4.8 assists for the Celtics’ summer league team. He wrapped up the tournament yesterday with 13 points and nine assists in a 92-79 win over the New Jersey/Philadelphia entry.

“The main thing I needed to do was be consistent and this was a good chance to showcase that,’’ Pruitt said. “Early in the week we had a lot of turnovers in a couple games and I take that personally, me being a point guard and handling the ball. So, I tried to take care of the ball better. But I had a chance to really play the point and show what I can do.’’

“He shot well, he did a good job getting into the paint and taking care of the ball,’’ said Celtics assistant coach Mike Longabardi. “Russell Westbrook [of the Thunder] was definitely the best point guard here, but you can make an argument Gabe was the next guy. He’s just got to continue to work, continue to stay ready, and we’ll see what happens.

“He’s been in the league two years now, he’s played in NBA games . . . After Year 1 coming into Year 2, I thought his body improved. He really did a good job with that.’’

Pruitt plans to return to San Francisco to continue his conditioning at a training center.

“It gets you really prepared physically and mentally,’’ he said. “You have a whole different mind-set when you come into training camp and that’s really good for me. I came into training camp and I was in game shape last year.’’

Pruitt thrived on the challenge of playing in the summer league.

“Going up against Westbrook in college and growing up in LA, it’s a rivalry in itself,’’ Pruitt said. “I thought it was a good matchup. Early in the week I kind of felt like I needed to get my wind back but as I played my wind was good, I felt like I could play the whole game, I wasn’t tired at all. I felt pretty good about that.

“It’s good competition for me, I feel like I’m in a perfect spot, playing against [Rajon] Rondo every day in practice. I feel like I can learn a lot.’’

That’s a wrap
The Celtics finished with a 2-3 record in Orlando. Nick Fazekas led the team in scoring (13.4) and rebounding (6.2). J.R. Giddens averaged 11.8 points and 4.2 rebounds and was named to the league’s All-Star second team . . . Chris Lofton broke the league record for 3-pointers, hitting 15 on 25 attempts over five games. The old 3-point mark was 12, held by Keith Bogans (2003) and Josh Davis (’07). “It doesn’t really matter in summer league,’’ said Lofton, who shot 17 of 22 from 3-point range in a 61-point performance in Turkey last season. “I shot pretty good but there’s always room for improvement.’’ Said Longabardi: “He looked like Eddie [ House] out there tonight.’’

Frank Dell’Apa of the Globe staff contributed from Orlando, Fla.

Celtics player search

Find the latest stats and news on:

Tweets on the Celtics

Check out what everyone on Twitter is saying about the Celtics.   (Note: Content is unmoderated and may contain expletives)

Celtics audio and video

Celtics-related multimedia from around the web.