SUNDAY, 9:33am: Joel Brigham of HoopsWorld suggests the Jazz may be better off keeping Millsap for the long term and trading Favors instead. The move would allow the Jazz to retain an established player to help the continued development of young talent like Gordon Hayward and Kanter.
SATURDAY, 3:34pm: The Jazz and power forward Paul Millsap engaged in initial talks this week about an extension, and the Jazz made the maximum allowable offer of three additional years and $25MM, according to Brian T. Smith of The Salt Lake Tribune. While talks were positive and there's mutual interest in keeping Millsap in Utah, Smith reports, he's likely to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.
Millsap will make $8,603,633 this year in the final season of a four-year, $32MM contract he originally signed in 2009 as an offer sheet from the Blazers that the Jazz matched. Under the new CBA, veterans can only receive contract extensions for four seasons, which includes the final season of their current deal. Raises are limited to 7.5% each season. By my calculations, he's eligible for an extension closer to $30MM, but his 2012/13 salary may be lower than what's been widely assumed. Either way, it's not surprising Millsap is looking ahead to free agency next summer, when he can sign for significantly more. Smith identifies Gerald Wallace, Andrei Kirilenko, Nicolas Batum and Ryan Anderson as forwards with comparable skill. All of them signed deals for average annual salaries of at least $9MM this summer.
Millsap averaged 16.6 points and a career-high 8.8 rebounds this past season. He took 13.5 shots a game, but his shooting percentage of 49.5% was below 50% for the first time in his six seasons in the NBA. His 21.8 PER was a career best, however, and Bill Ingram of HoopsWorld surmises he'll be one of the most sought-after free agents next summer, when he'll be 28 years old (Sulia link). The presence of Al Jefferson, along with Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter, both recent third overall picks, could make Millsap expendable in Utah. The team has experimented with Millsap at small forward at times the last two seasons to fit their wealth of frontcourt talent on the floor.