JUNE 26TH: There is a growing sense that Millsap will go where the market dictates, and that the Jazz won’t be able to afford him, according to Checketts (Twitter link).
JUNE 12TH: The Jazz will make an active pursuit of soon-to-be free agent Paul Millsap this summer, as Spencer Checketts of 1280 AM The Zone hears (Twitter link). Millsap, who spent his first seven NBA seasons as a member of the Jazz, and agent DeAngelo Simmons dropped hints at the end of Atlanta’s playoff run that the power forward would like to remain with the Hawks, though Utah has brother Elijah Millsap under contract for two more years. A pursuit of Paul Millsap would represent a sharp turn in Utah’s rebuilding effort, one that’s been patient so far, just two seasons after the team watched him go, at a discount, to Atlanta.
Competition will no doubt be stiff for the leading scorer from a 60-win Hawks team this season, and the Hawks face a stiff financial challenge to re-sign Millsap and fellow impending free agent DeMarre Carroll with only Early Bird Rights on both, as I examined when I looked at Atlanta’s offseason. The Hawks nonetheless appear confident that they can accomplish the task.
The Jazz can have as much as $16.6MM in cap room for next season without making a trade, as I noted in their offseason outlook, though that wouldn’t necessarily be enough to lure Millsap, as speculation, at least, has him in line for a max deal that would start at an estimated $19MM. Knicks president Phil Jackson is reportedly intrigued with Millsap, and New York has the cap flexibility to offer the max. Millsap apparently signed his two-year, $19MM deal with Atlanta in 2013 with an eye on putting himself in a better position to sign a lucrative contract this summer. Still, he has a good relationship with Jazz coach Quin Snyder, a Hawks assistant in Millsap’s first year in Atlanta, notes Andy Larsen of KSL.com.