Paul Millsap, NBA rumors, Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics

NBA Rumors: Paul Millsap Could Be ‘In Play’ Before Trade Deadline — Will The Boston Celtics Make a Move?

NBA rumors have swirled around Atlanta Hawks forward Paul Millsap this month, leaving one NBA analyst to suggest the All-Star could still be available before the end of the trade deadline this season. Should the rumors hold true, numerous media outlets have suggested the Boston Celtics would be interested in snagging Paul Millsap to improve their lineup.

ESPN reporter Marc Stein first suggested that Paul Millsap could be put back on the trade market despite the Atlanta Hawks’ efforts to kill the rumors. Despite reports that Atlanta Hawks GM Wes Wilcox told interested NBA franchises earlier this month that Paul Millsap was no longer available, few teams appear to believe the power forward is permanently off the trade market, according to the article.

“You’d struggle to find a single team with a representative at the Showcase that believes Atlanta has permanently pulled All-Star forward Paul Millsap from the trade market. The skepticism has been so loud that it leads one to imagine Millsap might still prove to be the biggest name in play between now and Feb. 23, assuming [Miami Heat’s Goran] Dragic indeed can’t be had and with Sacramento’s Rudy Gay suddenly out for the season.”

Paul Millsap, NBA rumors, Boston Celtics
Paul Millsap could rejoin former Atlanta Hawks teammate Al Horford if the Boston Celtics work out a trade for the All-Star player. [Image by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images]

Paul Millsap has had a career year thus far for the Atlanta Hawks. Through the first half of the season, Paul Millsap has recorded career-high averages in points (17.9) and assists (3.8) to go along with a strong performance on the glass with 8.1 rebounds per outing.

Should Paul Millsap become available again, many media outlets believe the Boston Celtics would be the perfect trade partner to acquire the 11-year veteran. In addition to having multiple trade assets to deal with, the Boston Celtics also can offer Paul Millsap no other team can — a chance to play with Al Horford again.

The Boston Globe reported that the Al Horford situation could be playing a factor in the decision to trade Paul Millsap for the Atlanta Hawks. After losing Al Horford in free agency to the Boston Celtics for nothing in return, the urgency to deal Paul Millsap away could strike if the Atlanta Hawks lose their playoff footing.

“The prospect of having that happen again with Millsap could be troubling, and it could spur them to shop him more actively… League sources said that the Celtics could agree in principle to a deal, under the condition that they are able to meet with Millsap first and determine whether he would re-sign with Boston long-term, or even opt into the final year of his deal.”

Paul Millsap, NBA rumors, Boston Celtics, Ante Zizic
The Boston Celtics could use 2016 NBA draft pick Ante Zizic — who is currently not playing in the league — to obtain Paul Millsap in a trade. [Image by Mike Stobe/Getty Images]

In addition to holding the rights to several NBA draft picks, the Boston Celtics have other attractive assets to obtain Paul Millsap at their disposal. Rumors have suggested that the foreign players Boston acquired in the previous draft — Ante Zizic and Guerschon Yabusele — could be ready to join the Celtics in the NBA as early as next season, ESPN reported. Either player could easily be available for a trade to acquire Paul Millsap.

While the Atlanta Hawks looked ready to move on a Paul Millsap trade just a few weeks ago, a seven-game winning streak at the beginning of January has halted the team’s eagerness to seek a trade partner. Sitting in fourth place in the NBA Eastern Conference with a 26-18 record, SB Nation reported that the Paul Millsap trade — with the Boston Celtics or any other team — looks to be on hold for now.

“[T]he Hawks are still in contention for home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs and they don’t appear eager to give up on this season just yet. If they want these rumors to go away, then they need to keep winning.”

Do you think the NBA rumors will prove true and Paul Millsap will join the Boston Celtics via trade this season? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

[Featured Image by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images]

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