How close are the Atlanta Hawks are in trading Paul Millsap?
Several reports have the Hawks taking phone calls for Millsap, sparking a lot of interesting NBA trade rumors. And all signs point to the Hawks unloading their All-Star power forward if they can find an offer suitable to their demands.
Not often are NBA teams willing to give up star players in their prime. When they do it is either done so in an effort to get younger and under the salary cap. It is certain to be a little bit of both for the Atlanta Hawks, although if they actually kept Paul Millsap, they would shed his salary at season’s end. It sounds like a simple case of the Hawks not wanting to lose Millsap for nothing if he does what many expect him to do — leave Atlanta as a free agent.
Millsap is expected to leave after opting out of his final year of his contract which would have paid him $21.8 million next season.
In this instance, trading their best player may be the best course of action for the Atlanta Hawks. And the Hawks appear to be exploring ways to do just that.
ESPN is reporting the Hawks will listen to trade offers for Paul Millsap and a couple of his teammates. If the Atlanta Hawks are serious about dealing Millsap they should have a bevy of suitors.
Where Paul Millsap is traded to could alter the landscape of the NBA playoffs.
According to TSN, there is a belief that Millsap is the missing piece to the Toronto Raptor’s NBA championship puzzle. If the Atlanta Hawks were to deal with the Raptors, it is debatable whether or not anyone from Toronto’s core would go back to Atlanta in the trade. That cannot be said for other teams who may be interested.
As many as 10 teams could be interested in trading for Paul Millsap. Of the teams that could be picking up the phone, the Boston Celtics, Detroit Pistons, and the aforementioned Toronto Raptors stand the most to gain with his addition.
In the case for the Celtics and Raptors, they are looking close the gap between them and the Eastern Conference leading Cleveland Cavaliers. Whatever the Atlanta Hawks would want in a deal, both the Celtics and Raptors can provide it.
As far as the Pistons are concerned, adding Paul Millsap would solidify them as a playoff team.
The most interesting teams that could call the Atlanta Hawks and express a desire for a Paul Millsap trade are both in the Western Conference. The Oklahoma City Thunder and Sacramento Kings also have the pieces to make a deal happen. And both the Thunder and Kings must be considered as dark horses if the Hawks are serious about trading Millsap.
Do not be surprised if nothing happens. The Atlanta Hawks can offer Millsap more money in free agency than any other team. And if they are successful in moving Kyle Korver and Thabo Sefalosha, the Hawks can wait out the process and allow the market for Millsap to sort itself out.
For his credit, Paul Millsap has maintained that he wants to remain with the Atlanta Hawks. When talking to reporters about his name being thrown in the NBA trade rumor mill, he took the time to express his desire (courtesy of the Atlanta Journal Constitution) to remain with the Hawks.
“Rumors are rumors. I think we know that. Been down this road before. I think we talked at the beginning of the year that it wasn’t going to be the first or the last time. It is what it is. Whatever happens, I think everybody knows where my heart is and where I want to be. But we’ll see what happens. The only thing I can worry about and I can do is to go out there and play my butt off every night and try to get wins for this team.”
Some will say that Millsap should have decided to opt-in for the 2017-18 NBA season. Doing so would have given the Hawks another year to continue to build around him, but by opting out gives the Hawks options.
They can start over with Millsap’s $21.8 million off the books or they can get a gauge on what he is worth to other teams by dangling his name in trade talks. The Atlanta Hawks will have teams looking to acquire him, and that will give them an idea of which direction to go in.
An early prediction is that the Atlanta Hawks keep Millsap until the end of the NBA trade deadline and maximize on his value to a contending team.
[Featured Image by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images]