Nuggets Officially Sign Paul Millsap

JULY 13, 12:38pm: The Nuggets have officially signed Millsap, the team announced today (via Twitter).

JULY 3, 10:05am: Millsap’s third year will be a team option, Nick Kosmider of The Denver Post confirms. We’ll have to wait for Millsap to officially sign to see whether it’s a true team option, or whether that third year will just be non-guaranteed (perhaps with a buyout attached).

JULY 2, 10:00pm: The Nuggets have reached a deal with Paul Millsap, Shams Charania of The Vertical tweets. The agreement is said to be for three years and $90MM. Matt Moore of CBS Sports suggests (via Twitter) that the third year is a team option, which would be a coup for the Nuggets, though that hasn’t yet been confirmed.paulmillsap vertical

[RELATED: 2017 NBA Free Agent Tracker]

Millsap entered free agency as one of the most talented players available and will join a Nuggets squad currently anchored by promising youngsters Nikola Jokic, Gary Harris and Jamal Murray.

In Millsap, the suddenly dangerous Nuggets will add a reliable veteran on the heels of four consecutive All-Star seasons. In 2016/17, the 32-year-old averaged a career high 18.1 points to go along with 7.7 rebounds and over a three-pointer per game. He ranked fifth on our list of 2017’s top 50 free agents.

Prior to committing to the Nuggets, Millsap had engaged in talks with the Kings and Suns, according to Charania in his full report for The Vertical. Charania suggests that the forward was ultimately intrigued by the young core that the Nuggets have assembled. The Timberwolves also reportedly had interest in Millsap, but would have needed to move contracts to create space for him, and opted instead to sign Taj Gibson to a more affordable deal.

Millsap’s move to Denver makes him the latest Eastern Conference star to head west. Three of this year’s Eastern All-Stars have joined Western Conference clubs in the last couple weeks, with Jimmy Butler traded to Minnesota and Paul George landing in Oklahoma City.

The Nuggets had attempted to make a splash in the free agent market a year ago, meeting with Dwyane Wade and making a strong pitch to the veteran guard. While Denver struck out in 2016, the team got its man this time around, and the timing is good for the franchise — Gary Harris is extension-eligible this offseason, and Nikola Jokic may be a restricted free agent next summer, so the window to sign a max free agent may have closed quickly. Millsap had been on Denver’s radar for some time, with reports suggesting the team was close to trading for him last offseason and prior to the 2017 trade deadline.

As for the impact Millsap will have on Denver’s free agency plans this summer, it looks as if the Nuggets still have enough room for Mason Plumlee‘s qualifying offer after their commitment to Millsap, which will allow the team to match any offers for Plumlee.

However, the club seems likely to renounce Danilo Gallinari‘s cap hold to fit in Millsap, which would eliminate the possibility of a new deal in Denver for the longtime Nugget. Of course, during the moratorium, discussions are always fluid, so it’s possible Denver could make trades to clear other contracts and maintain Gallinari’s cap hold.

As things stand right now, Millsap’s deal will eat up most of the rest of the Nuggets’ cap room, but the club will still have a little space, and will be able to use its $4.3MM room exception once that space is used.

Meanwhile, the Hawks will have a new-look frontcourt under new GM Travis Schlenk, who also traded Dwight Howard last week. Atlanta will lose a key big man in free agency for the second offseason in a row, with Millsap departing a year after Al Horford left for Boston. Still, Schlenk never sounded overly enthusiastic about making an aggressive offer for Millsap, and letting him walk will leave the team with more than $30MM in cap room to use elsewhere.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images. Luke Adams contributed to this post.

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39 thoughts on “Nuggets Officially Sign Paul Millsap

  1. darthpaul

    I was about to say…Eastern All-star squad is gonna be looking like some discount gas station sushi.

  2. JamesW26

    I would love to see Tony Allen in Denver on top of this. There’s plenty of young talent, but the potential for veteran leadership on this squad doesn’t get much better than The Grindfather.

  3. Byoung5

    Eastern all star team will be the cavaliers team and and the Isiah Thomas

  4. formerlyz

    They still need a defensive wing, but they could have probably kept Gallinari for cheaper, and they have Chandler, Hernangomez, and Trey Lyles. So I just feel like this is unnecessary, and they can use their money better, unless they can make some kind of a trade for a wing….

    also, I’m not sure about taking the ball away from their younger players. But they should definitely be improved, depending on what else they do…

    I actually was just talking to a friend about the Lowry deal, and I was saying I thought Millsap would end up getting somewhere between what I thought Lowry would get (3 years/$84 million, and what he actually got (3 years /$100 mil)…so I had that one. At his age, I’d be worried about giving him more than 3 years, and they did a good job of avoiding that

    Meanwhile, teams like Boston and Utah lose a fallback option. Sacramento was nowhere to be found on this really good fit for them. . And Atlanta just let him walk…Atlanta has done some questionable things since the new GM took over.

    • formerlyz

      O wow. The 3rd year is a team option? That’s actually amazing for Denver if true

      • Luke Adams

        Waiting for confirmation on that. Wouldn’t be surprised if there’s at least a partial guarantee, but we’ll see.

  5. powerslave777

    What’s the option? I keep seeing team on other sites. If so, that’s a nice deal for the nugz

    • Bransonreynolds

      You don’t think a guy coming off four all star games is worth 30% of a team available salary? Esp when said teams best players are on rookie deals and this will buy them at the salary floor to avoid penalty?

  6. Dave4585

    He is when you consider someone like Otto Porter Jr is gonna be making around 25 mil a year.

    • KnicksCavsFan

      That right there is the problem. Absurd numbers look ok when looking thru the prism of the overpaid “Otto Porters” of the world. “Well Otto Porter only scored 13 points last year and Milsap scored 19, or whatever, so he should get $30+).

      Your going to have really mediocre/teams with really mediocre players signed to ridiculous contracts that these teams will be saddled with and find it difficult to move unless accompanied by draft picks or other assets. Even though they are hardly poor the Mozgov + Russell to the Nets is a perfect example of that.

      • yoyo137

        Man let these guys get their money. Who cares. They have a career where their earning potential is in a 10-15 year window and some guys get hurt and never get paid. They’re the reason you’re online complaining about salaries. If they weren’t playing, there would be no NBA, you wouldn’t have anything to complain about. You want that instead? You’re just salty your Knicks and Cavs overpay horrible players. Otto Porter go get your money you deserve it.

        • KnicksCavsFan

          No I’m not salty about anything the Cavs done. 3 finals and 1 chip. I’m happy. The Knicks? They’ve been idiots. However, that has nothing to do with what’s happening now. So thanks for your input but you haven’t said anything meaningful. I have no problem with the top NBA players getting top money. Problem is, that’s not what’s happening. If you think Otto Porter getting 5/$125 mil or Mike Conley being the 2nd highest paid player next year then that’s on you bruh. Guess what tho, that salary means higher ticket prices and a team that’s saddled with a ridiculous contract because the NBA forces them to spend a minimum of $89 mil next year even if most of it has to go to undeserving players on bad teams. It arguably forces bad team to overpay for mediocre and marginal players. Not smart for the health of the NBA and competitive edge.

          • yoyo137

            Ok then blame the owners maybe? Mike Conley is a great player the league is evolving and he had a shot at the biggest contract ever and he took it. You can’t blame the players, they are getting paid based on percentages of the cap and literally being tiered as players. Allen Crabbes and Enes Kanters make 72 million get over it. Otto Porter has the new max and actually deserves it. They’re setting precedents for other players to get paid. The owners can charge less for tickets they’re already making billions. As for the salary floor that’s just for anti-tanking. You wanna see a team out there with 15 minimum contract guys? That’s better for competitive edge? While the owners pocket the rest of the money. Smh at you arguing that teams shouldn’t be forced to put a competitive product on the floor it’s on them to spend their money wisely.

  7. Let’s level the playing field for the conferences! Gordon Hayward to the Miami heat! LOL

  8. The money might seem questionable, but having him locked in to only 2 years makes this a great deal for Denver. Even if Millsap plays amazing in Denver, he is unlikely to get another big contract at the end of this one, so if Denver really wanted to keep him around they could at a much cheaper price. I also like the fit as Millsap isn’t a straight iso-ball type of star so he shouldn’t be taking the ball away too much from the younger players. Plus, Denver now has a go-to guy down the stretch and an actual star (even if he is a bit old) to help them get to the playoffs. They’ve missed a “star” caliber player since they traded Melo and instead of being a good team with just a bunch of good players, but no star, they are now a good team with a star and a bunch of good surrounding role players.

    • yoyo137

      I agree with everything else but I’m not too sure about him not being able to get another nice deal if he plays really well. Nothing blockbuster or long term and definitely not to the level of what he’s getting paid these 2 or 3 years in Denver but I can see him getting another 2 yr deal at maybe 22 million a year after this deal if he plays well.

      • He’d have to play out of his mind the next 3 years (I’m assuming three because if he plays really well, I’m assuming Denver picks up the third year option unless they need the money for contract extensions) for him to have a realistic chance at getting paid that much on his next contract. At that point he’d be 35 years old and he’d have to prove that his jumper is still reliable and that he can still guard quicker 4s at his age to get paid that much. Not many players at that age get paid like that unless they’re holding some sort of sentimental value to the team (Dirk and Kobe for example).

        • yoyo137

          Very true, Kobe and Dirk got back paid for all the hard work they did their whole careers. But other vets who still are playing well get paid. An old D Wade got 2yr/48 million last offseason and Pau Gasol could’ve probably got more money than he did at age 35 with the 2yr/31 million he got. I know it’s just hypothetical at this point but if Millsap plays well and the cap keeps going up slowly, I could see him getting in between the money Wade and Gasol got. Although you could be 100% correct as well and he might be washed up by then.

  9. Connorsoxfan

    How does a buyout work in the NBA on the final year? Is it like MLB where they can specifically structure a buyout on an option or would it be structured like the Rondo deal that had a substantial partial guarantee for this year?

    • Luke Adams

      I was referring to something like Rondo’s deal, where there’s a partial guarantee (in Millsap’s case, maybe something like $5MM on his $30MM+ third-year salary?). Haven’t seen anything yet to suggest that’s the case, so it’s just speculation — I’d just be surprised Millsap if couldn’t get any guaranteed money beyond two years.

      • Luke Adams

        I should also say: At this time of the offseason, reports on contract details are often not quite exact and may end up sounding more favorable than they actually are to the team or player, depending on where the info is coming from. For instance, an agent leaking contract details may include total value with incentives to make it seem like his client got a better deal. The team option reports on Millsap seem to be coming from the Nuggets’ side, so it’s possible they’re making the deal sound a little better by leaving out some details.

        • Connorsoxfan

          Yeah that’s what I figured, I just wasn’t quite sure how that process would work, thanks.

  10. Dionis

    Jokic makes everyone better with his passing and unselfish way of play. Murray should be way better and raise his averages to 17-19 ppg. Millsap slots in perfectly next to Jokic as a floor spacer do it all 4.

  11. crazysull

    Have Harris run the point have Murray at the 2 _____ at the 3(maybe Fareid gets his spot back) Milsap at the 4, and Jokic at the 5 and they still have a deep bench

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