NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — If only Patrick Ewing was never discussed.
Retired NBA star Grant Hill says he “wanted to go to the Knicks” when he hit the open market in 2000. But New York, then a perennial playoff contender under coach Jeff Van Gundy, missed out on the year’s most coveted free agent when Ewing’s name emerged in sign-and-trade talks.
Hill eventually landed with the Orlando Magic in a deal with the Detroit Pistons.
“You gotta understand. I grew up a Georgetown fan,” Hill said Monday on WFAN’s “Boomer & Carton” show. “I didn’t want to be that guy, and (I) just respected Pat too much.”
Hill has spoken of the Ewing story before, but this time he insisted his career could have been much, much different had he gone to the Knicks.
“Maybe some of the injuries could have been avoided if I had gone to New York, believe it or not,” he said. “We kind of dropped the ball on that in Orlando.”
Hill’s career was derailed for years by an ankle injury suffered near the end of the 1999-2000 season. He’s openly wondered in the past whether he was misdiagnosed by the Pistons.
Now he’s apparently taking aim at follow-up care received in Orlando, where he played just 47 games in his first four seasons with the Magic.
WFAN co-host Craig Carton said the 41-year-old would have had a “brutal” time in New York considering his injury history.
“I agree with that,” Hill replied. “But I also think that if I had gone there, I wouldn’t have had the ankle problems. I’ll let you guys think about that.”
Ewing was traded to Seattle in a four-team blockbuster in Sept. 2000.
Hill said he also entertained signing with the Knicks in 2009 and 2011. He retired in 2013.
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