NBA Rumor: Paul Millsap Free Agency

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Michael Singer: Can confirm Paul Millsap’s 1-year, $10 million (+bonus) with the Nuggets, according to a league source, as @Shams Charania reported.

It will be the market, likely even more than heartstrings for the Heat, that will decide whether the Heat have to punt on 2021 cap space or punt on those players. For example, if retaining Crowder becomes an issue, there are viable Plan Bs out there. One, for example, could be Paul Millsap, if the 35-year-old veteran gets squeezed out by the Nuggets going all-in with Jerami Grant’s free agency and the preference to develop Michal Porter Jr.

Assuming Grant returns to the Nuggets one way or another, and with Porter and Bol on the rise, it makes the need for Millsap less dire. He filled the role of a decent scorer and defender, who played with a level of consistency needed on the less-experienced Nuggets team. But if Porter can step up into the small forward position, Millsap’s role is less necessary. The other factor is how much money they would have to pay him. However, if Millsap would take the vet minimum, there might be a better chance of him returning.

Have you thought much about your upcoming free agency and whether you have a future home in Denver? Paul Millsap: We’ll see, we’ll see. My main goal coming here was to help this team and organization get over the hump and help some of these younger guys develop into superstars, which they are. I feel like I’ve helped through that, and we’ll see what this summer holds. At the end of the day, I love being here, but at the end of the day, it’s still a business. So, weighing both options and understanding the business of basketball. I got to make a decision based, you know, for myself and my family. And this is my family also. So, it’s going to be a tough decision and hopefully they want me back.
2 years ago via ESPN

The Denver Nuggets have exercised a $30 million option on forward Paul Millsap’s contract for next season, bringing back a key player for the franchise’s pursuit of a Western Conference title, league sources told ESPN on Saturday. Denver can keep Millsap, hold onto its $9.2M mid-level exception and still stay out of the luxury tax next season. Millsap, a four-time All-Star, averaged 12.6 points and 7.2 rebounds a game for the Nuggets. Denver had the best record (54-28) in the West and reached a Game 7 in the conference semifinals against the Portland Trail Blazers.

It’s also part of why Millsap would like to stay. The Nuggets hold a team option for the roughly $30 million he is owed next season, but even if Denver declines that option — a likely scenario — the two sides could strike an alternative deal, something that could help Millsap finish his career in Denver. Given that the Nuggets are 36 games over .500 in full games Millsap has played over the last two seasons, that prospect could very well be a mutual desire. “It’s a winning culture that’s trying to be built around here,” Millsap said. “I just want to be a part of that.”

But even in the midst of a frenzied race for the No. 1 seed, Millsap has considered the promise of Denver’s future and wants to be a part of it. “I could see myself being here long-term, for the rest of my career,” he told The Denver Post. “I can see this organization and this group of guys making a nice play at the championship. I feel like there’s a lot of youth, a lot of growth that can be made and you add that on top of what we’ve done this season with experience and you’ve got yourself a championship-caliber team. Definitely want to be a part of that, but I’ll deal with that when it gets there.”

Millsap is earning $30 million this season, and the Nuggets have a team option on him heading into this summer. At this point in his career, having never been to an NBA Final and with just one conference finals victory to his name, the Nuggets represent his most likely route to a ring. “It’s something that we’ll discuss at the end of the season with management, but I want to do something that fits for everybody,” he said regarding his contract. “We’ll see.”

Paul Millsap: Tried to find the words to better help explain how much the fans and the city of Atlanta has meant to me but words can not explain it. From an average Joe to a 4 time All ⭐️. Atlanta I could not have done it without you. Thank you for an amazing 4 years! Thank you for embrace me and my family and for always having my back. I will always hold a special place in my heart for you. #truetoatlanta #anchormanout #untilnexttime

Millsap agreed to a three-year, $90 million contract as an unrestricted free agent by the Nuggets on Sunday. His tenure with the Hawks abruptly ended. “It was pretty simple,” Millsap told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Monday. “Denver, they came and they’ve been wanting me for years. They made that known. The presentation that they gave me, it felt comfortable, it felt real. At the end of the day it was going to be the team that I felt most comfortable with and Atlanta. Atlanta decided to go another direction. They didn’t want to make an offer. So it was pretty simple. Denver was the team.”

Millsap was not surprised by the Hawks decision. Nothing, he said, surprises him after 11 years in the NBA. However, he admitted to being disappointed by the end of relationship that helped him blossom into one of the top power forwards in the league. All four of Millsap’s All-Star Game appearances came with the Hawks. “Definitely disappointing,” Millsap said. “I thought I meant a bit more than that to them. But it is what it is. I’m happy with the decision I’ve made. I’m happy with the team I’m with. I’m ready to get it going with them.”

Millsap was the last remaining starter from the Hawks’ 60-win Eastern Conference final team from 2014-15. Just two years after the franchise-record run, Jeff Teague, Kyle Korver, DeMarre Carroll, Horford and now Millsap are gone. The Hawks received only at first-round pick for Teague (which turned into Taurean Prince) and a 2019 protected first-round pick from the Cavaliers for Korver. Carroll signed with the Raptors as an unrestricted free agent in 2015.

Concerning Millsap and Hardaway, Schlenk would not indicate whether he has a price threshold that he’s willing to pay for each. Millsap is an unrestricted free agent. Hardaway is a restricted free agent and the Hawks have more flexibility regarding his contract. “The one thing I’ve maintained is that we are going to be flexible and not sign bad deals,” said Schlenk, admitting he realizes he already sounds like a broken record already in his short tenure with the team. “That means different things for different guys.”

Free agent forwards Blake Griffin and Paul Millsap will meet with the Phoenix Suns after the NBA free agency moratorium period begins Saturday, reports John Gambadoro of 98.7 FM, Arizona’s Sports Station. Gambadoro reports the 28-year-old Griffin will meet with Phoenix this weekend. An unrestricted free agent, Griffin could be more likely to find a new home after the Los Angeles Clippers dealt All-Star point guard Chris Paul to the Houston Rockets this week.

“The word on the street is that Phoenix is a very strong suitor and is willing to offer the max, not necessarily for a full four years, but was willing to offer the max for a shorter contract,” reported ESPN’s Brian Windhorst on The Basketball Analogy podcast. Windhorst notes that in addition to the Suns, the Denver Nuggets and Sacramento Kings are also interested in Millsap. Given the recent developments in Houston, it would also make sense for the Rockets to enter the race as well.

New general manager Travis Schlenk told to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that retaining Millsap remains a priority. However, he acknowledged that Millsap may receive better offers elsewhere as an unrestricted free agent next month. “We are going to make Paul our best offer,” Schlenk said this week. “Will he have better offers? I don’t know. Do we want to keep Paul? Sure. I said last week, if you are building a team with all the things I’ve said, Paul checks all those boxes. He’s a hard-worker. He’s a good guy. He’s high-character. Skilled. He does all that stuff. We’d like to have him. The reality is, he might get better offers than we can make him.”

The Hawks’ win totals have slipped two straight years. The team could enter free-fall mode if unable to re-sign Millsap. The power forward, who averaged 18.1 points and 7.7 rebounds, was the top producer on a roster that received disappointing returns from $70 million investments in Dwight Howard and Kent Bazemore. Millsap said he wants to stay with the Hawks. “I want to be here,” Millsap said. “I think talks have been pretty good. … It’s something me, my agent and my family have got to sit down and talk about.”

Ressler said a deal seeking his final approval to trade Millsap never reached his desk last February. And if it had, Ressler used a profane acronym to sum up his seriousness of not dealing the power forward. His intention is to keep Millsap a Hawk beyond the season. “We love Paul Millsap,” Ressler told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution last week. “We are trying to re-sign him. We want him to stay here. We think he is a really special player and a special person that we want on our team and in our locker room and we are going to make every effort imaginable to keep him.”

“If we lose Paul, which we desperately don’t want to do, we move on. We pull up our plan and we move on. But the goal is not to lose Paul. Paul is exactly the kind of player I love on the Atlanta Hawks. I don’t know how else to say it. I’ve said it to Paul. I’ve said it to you. I’ve said it to whoever has one ear, let alone two ears. Paul Millsap is a great guy, on the court and off the court. The NBA is a complicated place. The range of income for these players and the number of year that they have to maximize their income makes it a complicated business model.”

Ressler said he not bothered by trade talk involving Millsap earlier this season. It’s part of the business. He has the final decision. And Millsap is part of the Hawks’ business. “Did certain people have discussions based on calls they got? I have no idea,” Ressler said of the rumor. “I think that’s what basketball operations people do for a living. I actually believe the more they do that, the more it gets in the public domain. Yes, I read some of the stuff. Yes, I was told people call and people ask. We are in the Paul Millsap business. At least we are trying our best to be. Our job is to try to make him want to be here, both financially and emotionally. We are trying. That I can promise you.”

Would the Celtics be interested in Millsap? Some things would likely need to happen: Millsap would have to agree to honor the final year of his contract and the Celtics would have to offer the Hawks a chip for the long-term future — likely one of those Brooklyn picks — along with the expiring contract of Amir Johnson and likely another starter to match up salaries. It would be quite a sacrifice for the Celtics, and it would also mean Horford would have to move to center, a position he would prefer not to play.
4 years ago via ESPN

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