4-time NBA All-Star Paul Millsap will opt out of his $21.3 million player option and test free agency, per Shams Charania of The Vertical.
— The Vertical (@TheVertical) May 22, 2017
Though the 32-year-old is not superstar talent, he can impact both ends of the floor for a contender, having averaged a career best 18.1 points per contest to go along with 7.7 rebounds and 1.3 steals this season. The Atlanta Hawks will make re-signing him a top priority this offseason, a goal which will not come easy due to the attention he is bound to draw from other teams. With that being said, let’s take a look at his potential destinations come summer.
The Miami Heat have been weak at Power Forward ever since Chris Bosh got ruled out. With the 14th pick in this year’s draft, two young, promising wings in Justise Winslow and Josh Richardson, the best bench duo in the league in Tyler and James Johnson, a top-5 center in Hassan Whiteside, and a borderline All-Star point guard in Goran Dragic, the stage is set for playoff basketball to return to Miami next season. If Millsap takes his talent to South Beach, Miami will come across as a team worthy of making the Eastern Conference Finals. We’ll have to see if Pat Riley still has that magic left in him.
Millsap played his first 7 seasons in Salt Lake City after the Utah Jazz selected him 47th overall in the 2006 NBA Draft. Gordon Hayward failed to make an All-NBA team, robbing Utah of their ability to offer him the largest contract in NBA history. Considering it’s not unlikely that Hayward moves elsewhere, the Jazz should consider bringing Millsap back if they cannot keep their best player. Such a move would place Derrick Favors on the trading block, which makes for an intriguing piece. The 4-time All-Star would allow Rudy Gobert to work in the post with space, opening the possibility of an efficient offensive game for the defensive-minded frenchman.
Millsap could fit in with any team out there. Including the Jazz. https://t.co/TLr2PpusFv
— David J. Smith (@davidjsmith1232) May 22, 2017
The Boston Celtics will most likely use the number 1 pick on Markelle Fultz. Their young core, their chance at another top-5 pick from the Nets in the 2018 Draft, and Isaiah Thomas‘s rise to superstardom will be an intriguing lure for Millsap, who would be an upgrade over Amir Johnson. He would also be reunited with former Hawks teammate Al Horford, whom he is still friends with. If he decides to don the green next season, we’re looking at a very scary Celtics team that can finally give LeBron James a challenge in the Eastern Conference.
Of course, there is always the option of staying put. In the four seasons Millsap has been a Hawk, he’s made the All-Star squad and led Atlanta to the playoffs in every single one. He’s already expressed his wishes to remain in the capital of Georgia. Millsap has become the face of the franchise, not to mention that due to his bird rights, they can offer him more money than anybody else. His loyalty to the city and organization will make it hard for other teams to lure him out. As always, time will answer all our questions.
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— James (@JCraggSport) May 23, 2017