THINGS COULD be much worse for Grant Hill, who is out for the season after undergoing a second operation on his left ankle last month. Last summer, as a free agent, the All-Star forward was so confident that his ankle would be sound this season that he almost signed a one-year contract with the Magic. "We had the papers drawn," says Orlando G.M. John Gabriel, but "a sign-and-trade was advanced by Detroit in the final hours." That deal allowed Hill to max out at $93 million through 2006-07.... The Pacers are winless against teams that have players who suited up for Indiana in the 2000 Finals: 0-3 against the Raptors ( Mark Jackson), 0-2 against the Trail Blazers ( Dale Davis) and 0-2 against the Warriors ( Chris Mullin).... Of the hopeless Bulls' six draft picks last June—including a trio of first-rounders—only point guard Khalid El-Amin, Chicago's last choice (No. 34), earned an invitation to the rookie-sophomore All-Star game.