By ROBERT LEE
Journal Sports Writer
BOSTON - Plan A was executed flawlessly.
The Celtics put a full-court press on Rasheed Wallace and corralled the heavily recruited free agent without a hitch.
Plan B, however, aka the Grant Hill Project, it seems did not work out.
Yahoo! Sports sited a league source today who told reporter Adrian Wojnarowski that Hill is going to re-sign with the Suns, though nothing is official yet.
Suns owner Robert Sarver, general manager Steve Kerr, and coach Alvin Gentry reportedly met with Hill Wednesday night and Thursday morning in Orlando to convince him to stay in Phoenix after it was reported that the New York Knicks offered Hill a $5 million, one-year deal, or three years for $10 million.
As of Thursday night, the Celtics believed to still be in contention for signing Hill.
"We'd like him to come play for us," Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said.
Boston coach Doc Rivers, who has already met with Hill (the two are neighbors in Orlando), said that he put Boston's Big Three on the phone with Hill to try to influence his decision to come play for the Celtics.
But it didn't work.
"They had their conversations with him," Rivers said on Wednesday. "I think they are going to have to do some more selling there honestly. I think [Phoenix guard Steve] Nash has a better hold of him than we have so it's going to be interesting."
Pierce was hoping that Hill would play for the Celtics and be his backup.
"Grant Hill is another player I guess we are looking at who could really add depth to our ball club, especially at the wing position, my position, where I don't think we had enough depth last year due to the fact that we have guys who are up-and-coming that just didn't have the experience yet," Pierce said.
The Celtics have all of the pieces in place to compete for the NBA title next year with at least four future Hall of Famers on its roster in All-Stars Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Rasheed Wallace, along with up-and-coming guard Rajon Rondo who is without question one of the top-10 point guards in the NBA and he is only 23-years-old.
Not to mention a tough and physical 24-year-old center by the name of Kendrick Perkins who will be looking to make the NBA's All-Defensive first team next year.
So coming to Boston to play for the Celtics was attractive for the 37-year-old forward who has never won an NBA title.
"The thing about coming here, it's about winning," said Wallace, Boston's newest acquisition.
"I've never been part of a cast like this," Pierce said.
It appeared that the Knicks had the inside track on Hill by offering him the most money. He would get the most playing time with the Knicks, and he played for Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni when D'Antoni coached in Phoenix.
Hill's wife, Tamia, is also a Grammy-nominated R&B singer and going to New York could have boosted her career. Being from Canada, she would have also been closer to home.
But now it appears that Hill will stay in Phoenix.
The Celtics could only offer Hill the biannual exception, about $1.9 million after spending the full midlevel exception on Wallace. The Suns, meanwhile, reportedly initially asked Hill to take the veteran's minimum of $1.2 million which is a reduction from the $1.98 million he got from Phoenix last year. They later increased that offer to $2 million before reportedly bumping it past $3 million after the Knicks made their offer.
Yahoo! Sports reported that the latest offer from Phoenix was a three-year deal worth about $3.3 million per year.
Hill averaged 12.9 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 2.3 assists in nearly 30 minutes per game for Phoenix last season. He has averaged 18.5 points, 4.7 assists, and 6.6 rebounds for his career.
Just because Hill now appears to be out of the picture, that doesn't mean the Celtics are done looking for free agents.
"We're not done trying to make moves," Ainge said. "We're not going to make a move for the sake of making a move but we'd like to make some positive moves. We are just looking for quality players. There are a whole bunch of point guards and a whole bunch of backup wings and we have some point guards and we have some backup wings so whichever we can fill-in with the best player we'll do."
Boston is still waiting on word from backup forward Glen Davis, who is seeing how much money he can get in free agency. The Celtics can match any offer that the restricted free agent gets, but may not be able to afford him if his price goes up too high.
"We would like to have him back," Ainge said.