The two way games of soon-to-be Hawks free agents Paul Millsap and DeMarre Carroll have Knicks president Phil Jackson intrigued, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post. Still, the Hawks are “supremely confident” that they can retain both, according to USA Today. A source close to Carroll tells Berman he’d like to play with Knicks coach Derek Fisher, his former workout partner. Berman reported last month, when Carroll responded affirmatively to a question about whether he would have interest in playing in New York, that Fisher was similarly high on Carroll. Carroll nonetheless said in the wake of Tuesday’s season-ending loss to the Cavs that he’s prioritizing a new deal with the Hawks, according to Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“In the end my agent is going to do all the work,” Carroll said. “He understands [the] situation for me. Right now, I’m a Hawk until the Hawks don’t want me any more — that’s the way I look at it.”
Carroll’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, is believed to be looking for an average annual value of $12MM in his client’s next deal, Berman writes. The forward who blossomed on the two-year, $5MM deal he signed with the Hawks in 2013 admits that money will play a role in determining where he goes next but said city, team and fit would also be factors, Vivlamore notes. Reporters have heard estimates from executives and other sources ranging from $8-9MM to $9-12MM to $12.5MM or more about what Carroll can expect to receive each year in his next contract. The Lakers, in particular, and the Celtics and Pistons are also interested in Carroll, according to Sean Deveney of The Sporting News.
There are whispers that Millsap, ostensibly even more valuable, might need surgery on his sprained right shoulder, as Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck heard. Speculation suggests Millsap will command the max, or close to it. Still, Atlanta seems more confident in re-signing Millsap than Carroll, as USA Today’s Jeff Zillgitt said recently, and the power forward’s recent comments and remarks from agent DeAngelo Simmons support the idea that the Hawks need not fret.
The Knicks are armed with plenty of cap flexibility, since they only have about $32.4MM in commitments for next season, not counting the No. 4 overall pick. The Hawks have only Early Bird rights on both Millsap and Carroll, but with just approximately $39.3MM in guaranteed salaries for 2015/16, they can also use cap room to re-sign their talented forwards.