The sense within the Hawks organization and around the league is pessimistic when it comes to going 2 for 2 on the team’s goal of re-signing Paul Millsap and DeMarre Carroll this summer, reports Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN.com. Atlanta at one point reportedly had supreme confidence in its ability to do so, but that’s no longer the case, as Arnovitz details.
Arnovitz wrote a few weeks ago that the expectation was that Millsap would command the max or close to it, and many around the NBA feel as though some team will look to Millsap as an alternative once LaMarcus Aldridge and Kevin Love come off the board, Arnovitz writes in his latest piece. The ESPN scribe also repeats an earlier estimate from sources of a four-year, $50MM deal for Carroll, and the Hawks are bracing themselves for Carroll to receive an offer of that much or more, Arnovitz hears.
It would likely be impossible for the Hawks to accommodate a max deal for Millsap and a $12.5MM starting salary for Carroll without making salary-clearing moves, as I detailed in my offseason outlook for the team two weeks ago. That’s in large measure because Atlanta has only Early Bird rights with both of them, restraining their ability to go over the cap to re-sign them. The Hawks will be limited to a starting salary of $16.625MM for Millsap, more than $2MM less than his estimated max, without using cap space, while they probably won’t be able to exceed about $6MM for Carroll without using cap space on him, either. The Hawks can get down to about $42.5MM against a projected $67.1MM cap without making a trade. Arnovitz speculates that it wouldn’t be hard to deal away a couple of players on cheaper contracts, like Mike Scott and Shelvin Mack, but even getting the salaries of Scott and Mack off the ledger still wouldn’t leave enough room for Millsap and Carroll at their most expensive estimated prices.
The Hawks are nonetheless unafraid of the consequences if they lose either of their starting forwards, Arnovitz writes, determined as they are to re-sign them only as long as the cost is within reason. Indeed, the Hawks succeeded at turning Carroll from a journeyman into a sought-after three-and-D threat within two seasons, so perhaps coach Mike Budenholzer, the acting GM, is emboldened by that experience, though that’s just my speculation.