The NBA notebook …
PHOENIX ó Grant Hill said he could have chosen a bigger paycheck. He certainly could have gone to a team with a better shot at winning a championship.
In the end, though, for more than a few reasons, one of the most admired players in the game chose to stay in Phoenix for his 17th NBA season.
That he was so coveted at age 39 is a testament to a player who went from a budding superstar to a player whose career seemed destined for a sad, premature end.
ěIt was humbling, it was very flattering,î Hill said at the Sunsí media day on Friday.
Hillís well-documented injury problems began when, despite severe pain, he played on a sore ankle in the 2000 postseason, the last of six standout seasons with the Detroit Pistons. It wound up being a broken ankle, and he played in only 47 games the next four years with Orlando.
Hill has missed four games ó combined ó in the last three seasons. Last year, appearing in 80 games, he averaged 13.2 points per game, his highest total since 2006-07, when he averaged 14.4 points in 65 games in his final season in Orlando.
ORANGE, Calif. ó Kobe Bryant’s wife, Vanessa, filed for divorce on Friday from the Los Angeles Lakers star, citing irreconcilable differences as the reason for the split from her husband of more than 10 years.
The couple have been through trying times together.
When Kobe Bryant was charged with sexual assault in 2003, she appeared at a news conference, holding his hand and stroking it tenderly as the NBA star admitted he was guilty of adultery.”
“I know that my husband has made a mistake ó the mistake of adultery,” she said in the statement at the time. “He and I will have to deal with that within our marriage, and we will do so. He is not a criminal.”
The case against Kobe Bryant was later dismissed.
Last year, Kobe and Vanessa Bryant settled litigation with a former maid who accused the NBA star’s wife of harassment. The Bryants countersued Maria Jimenez for violating a confidentiality agreement by talking to reporters about the family.
PORTLAND, Ore. ó Jamal Crawford was introduced at a news conference Friday, along with another Portland free-agent acquisition, forward Craig Smith.
BILLUPS A CLIP
LOS ANGELES ó The concept of playing for the Los Angeles Clippers and working with old friends Chris Paul and Mo Williams is starting to grow on Chauncey Billups.
He spoke publicly for the first time since joining the rebuilt Clippers, who were handling the 14-year veteran with kid gloves until the initial shock and disappointment wore off following his sudden departure from the New York Knicks.
“I’ve been through a lot, trust me. It’s been a long year, man,” the five-time All-Star said Friday at the Clippers’ Playa Vista training facility. “But I’m here to do what I do: try to make this team a better team and win in the process.î
DEAC NOW IN UTAH
SALT LAKE CITY ó A new chance for former Wake Forest star Josh Howard means the official end of Andrei Kirilenko’s career with the Utah Jazz.
“My expectations are very high,” Howard said Friday before boarding a flight to Salt Lake City. “I know I have to earn my minutes first and foremost. … But what you’ll see is the same Josh you seen in Dallas.”
Howard received a one-year deal, reportedly valued at $3 million.
CHARLOTTE ó Bobcats forward Eduardo Najera has had surgery to repair torn cartilage in his left knee and will miss 6-8 weeks.
The team said Friday the injury was discovered during an MRI earlier in the week.
Najera figured to play a reserve role this season. He played in 31 games last season for the Bobcats, averaging 2.2 points and 1.4 rebounds in 12 minutes.
WASHINGTON ó Swingman Maurice Evans, a union vice president during the NBA lockout, has re-signed with the Washington Wizards.