NBA Notebook

Grant Hill impressed with 'high character'

Los Angeles TimesJuly 21, 2012 

Clippers Hill Basketball

Recently acquired Los Angeles Clippers forward Grant Hill displays his new jersey during a news conference at the Clippers training center¬_in Los Angeles on Friday, July 20, 2012. Hill signed a two-year deal on Wednesday with the NBA basketball team. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

DAMIAN DOVARGANES — AP

— Veteran free agent forward Grant Hill said Friday that he considered the number of “high character guys” on the Clippers, and that made it easy for him to sign a two-year deal worth $3.85 million to join them.

His listened to what Chris Paul and Chauncey Billups had to say about being acquired by the Clippers last season. Hill also listened to Blake Griffin talk about his experiences with the Clippers, and Hill noted that the team recently signed free-agent guard Jamal Crawford and traded for Lamar Odom.

“You can’t worry or focus on what’s in the past or what people might have perceived in the past,” said Hill, a former Duke star. “You’ve just got to focus on the now and the present and moving forward.

“And I like it. I’m excited. I like the team. … We have a chance to do something really special this year,” he said.

The Lakers were one of the teams that pursued Hill. His former Phoenix Suns teammate Steve Nash, who was acquired by the Lakers this month, was pushing for Hill to join him.

Around the league

Denver: The Nuggets have signed free agent forward Anthony Randolph to a multiyear contract.

Randolph, 23, averaged 7.4 points and 3.6 rebounds in 34 games with the Minnesota Timberwolves last season, including a season-high 28 points at Denver on April 11, when he pulled down six rebounds and blocked five shots.

He joined the Timberwolves in the three-team Carmelo Anthony trade in 2011 after playing for the New York Knicks.

Randolph spent his first two NBA seasons in Golden State.

Los Angeles Lakers: Jordan Hill’s agent says the backup big man is returning to the Lakers.

Los Angeles acquired the 6-foot-10 forward at the trade deadline in March in the deal that sent Derek Fisher to Houston.

Hill played in just seven games in the regular season, but seized postseason playing time with energy and rebounding. He averaged 4.8 points and 6.3 rebounds in the Lakers’ 12 playoff games.

Miami: Forward Juwan Howard said he is still deciding whether he wants to return for a 19th NBA season, although the direction he’s leaning might be indicated by his being the first player back in the Heat practice gym once the title celebrations had slowed down a bit.

“I still have the itch,” Howard said while appearing at a Heat “Learn to Swim” event for children. “I still have the passion and the love for the game. More importantly, I still like staying in shape and I can’t sit on my behind. I’m still iffy as far as if I want to come back and play or not, but I’ll tell you one thing – once I decide, I want to be ready. So I am working out … ready for whatever happens.”

Howard turns 40 next Feb. 7.

He has spent the past two seasons with the Heat, appearing in 85 regular-season and 20 playoff games, all in a reserve role.

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