2:11pm: The move is official, the team announced.
2:06pm: The Jazz have told Elijah Millsap that they’re waiving him, reports Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports. Charania indicates that the team has already released his non-guaranteed contract, though Utah has yet to make an official announcement. His minimum-salary pact would become fully guaranteed if not waived by the close of business Thursday, and it would also be guaranteed if another team claims him off waivers and keeps him after that date. Several other clubs are expected to have interest in the 6’6″ swingman, according to Charania. Millsap is in the second season of a three-year deal, so only a limited number of teams can snag him off waivers, unlike players signed to two-year minimum contracts.
The move, once official, will bring Utah down to 14 players, one under the limit. Chris Johnson also has a non-guaranteed contract, and while Jeff Withey has a partial guarantee of $200K, he’s already earned more than that by virtue of sticking on the roster as long as he has. That means Utah can waive Withey and avoid further financial obligation, just as with Johnson and Millsap.
Millsap, a younger brother of former Jazz power forward Paul Millsap, joined Utah on a 10-day contract almost a year ago to the day. Once that expired, he signed another 10-day deal and finally the three-year pact as the Jazz turned him into a rotation mainstay last season. That changed this year, as his 19.7 minutes per game from 2014/15 dwindled to 8.7 in 2015/16. He shot just 28.2% in 173 attempts from the floor this season, so it appears the team concluded his defensive prowess couldn’t make up for his offensive shortcomings. The 28-year-old client of Brendrick DeAngelo Simmons and Daniel Hazan has been to training camp with the Lakers, Thunder and Bucks in the past since going undrafted out of UAB in 2010, and he spoke with Zach Links of Hoops Rumors in September 2014 about his journey to the NBA.
The Jazz gave out more 10-day contracts than any other NBA team last season, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see them use Millsap’s roster spot to again cycle through players on those short-term deals. Millsap would be eligible to re-sign with Utah if he clears waivers, though that would seem unlikely.
Can you envision another NBA team as a better fit for Millsap? Leave a comment to share your thoughts.