When Grant Hill left the Phoenix Suns last summer, he expressed surprise on the local radio waves. He had wanted to return to the Suns, having settled into a community where his wife and kids still reside a year later.
Phoenix is a great city in which to live, one of the "top five destinations in the NBA", according to Jared Dudley last fall.
Staying in Phoenix for the sake of a family who set roots in the Valley was theme over the past year while the team experienced major turnover. Not only did Steve Nash lament having to move away from the family, so did Grant Hill and later Sebastian Telfair. Jared Dudley has a family here too, and always wanted to stay in town.
During his press conference announcing the ouster of GM Lance Blanks, Suns President of Basketball Operations admitted the Suns handled the roster turnover poorly (and coaching staff turnover, for that matter).
Lon Babby said the Suns "lost our way a little bit", later adding to Doug and Wolf on arizonasports/620: "We should have been more respectful of what had been accomplished here. We weren't as sensitive as we should have been. It's not going to be like that going forward."
Might that mean a return of some of the previously ousted loyalists?
Certainly, Babby believes the Suns lost leadership this season. "Is the leadership at the same level as it was before? No."
Dan Majerle already has another job. Steve Nash is under contract for two more years. Elston Turner wasn't really a Suns loyalist, so we can likely rule him out.
Grant Hill is one former loyalist to be available soon. He becomes an unrestricted free agent as soon as the Clippers season is over, and has already hinted at retirement.
"I'm 40 - come on," he said to the Orlando beat reporter last month in reference to returning for another season.
Could Babby be itching to call Grant Hill soon?
"I love Grant Hill," Babby said of Hill last week on the radio show. "I worked with him for 17 years. Those relationships are always strained when you move into different positions. That's the reality of it.
"I have said many times that I would always look forward to the opportunity of working with Grant in any capacity. That doesn't necessarily mean that he's a candidate for this [General Manager] job. But if he wants to come back and rejoin this organization I would be open and willing and excited about talk to him about it, and see if there was something that made some sense.
"Any time you have an opportunity to add that kind of manpower in your organization you have to sit up in your chair and think about it and talk about it."
Don't expect anything soon, and don't expect Hill to jump at the chance to join the Suns organization again. But Hill's family still lives in town, with no intention to move. That's a big draw - big enough for Hill to want to stay with the Suns last year even with Nash moving on.
But Hill is still under contract with the Clippers, who have no intention to take summer vacation before mid June if they can help it.
"I'm guessing he's going to unavailable for the next couple of months," Babby said.