Once the Suns' playoff hopes ostensibly were crushed with home losses to New Orleans and Dallas, Suns co-captains Steve Nash and Grant Hill began talking about the Suns' future.

A future with Nash, while always subject to trade, is tied to the final year of his contract. But with Hill, his look ahead was an acknowledgement that he wants to re-sign with the Suns for a third contract in Phoenix this summer.

"It'd be nice to come back and prove that we can be better than we were this season," Hill said Tuesday. "Let's just hope and pray we have a season first and foremost and then we'll see what happens. Hopefully, it works out and we can improve and get better."

When the Suns missed the playoffs two seasons ago, Hill re-signed for a two-year deal talking about unfinished business. He had seven interested teams and narrowed his choices to Phoenix, Boston and New York but did not enjoy the drawn-out process.

"I'm too old for all that," said Hill, 38. "Depending on what happens, for all free agents, if there's a work stoppage and if we miss some of the season, there will be a mad dash or scramble to get everyone signed. You have a new labor agreement that you have to understand and interpret. I anticipate it being a lot different than it was two years ago. Let's say the lockout hypothetically ends in November. Going off what happened 12 years ago (for the 1999 lockout), we're starting a week later. There will be a lot going on. It will be kind of a frenzy."

Hill will turn 39 next season and has expressed an interest in playing at age 40, especially after looking like one of the NBA's top defenders this season as the Suns stopper on opposing team's star point guards, wings and even power forwards. He has done that while averaging 13 points per game, the seventh NBA player to do that at his age.