Paul Millsap

New York Notes: Randle, Barrett, Millsap, Ntilikina

Knicks All-Star big man Julius Randle recently discussed a variety of subjects with SNY.tv’s Ian Begley, including his career-best 2020/21 campaign, Mitchell Robinson‘s progression and more.

Randle, 26, is coming off an excellent season with New York, averaging 24.1 points, 10.2 rebounds and six assists per game. He also shot 46% from the field and 41% from deep during those contests.

“My process, honestly, it stays the same,” Randle said. “I try to keep the main focus, the main focus. And that’s, (taking) everything day by day. Whether it’s a workout, whether it’s a film, whatever it is, I just try to give everything that I can when I’m doing what I’m doing. And I kind of let the chips fall where they may.

“I trust the work and the process of everything that I’ve done. And I have faith and belief that that’s going to pay off. I know what I sacrifice, I know what I do to prepare. And regardless of success or failure, I try not to change. I don’t know what the expectation is (for our team). I can’t even tell you what to expect from me. I just know that I’m just gonna keep improving, getting better as a player. That’s just where I stand with it.”

There’s more out of New York tonight:

  • In the same interview with SNY.tv, Randle praised the rapid improvement of Knicks guard RJ Barrett. Like Randle, Barrett also had a productive 2020/21 season, averaging 17.6 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. “RJ’s going to be a really good player,” Randle said as part of a larger quote. “What is he, 21? I don’t know how old he is. He’s young as hell (laughs). He’s a really good player, and I can relate as far as what he’s done, and what I’ve seen from him so far in this offseason is he just keeps improving. That’s really what it’s about.”
  • Nets big man Paul Millsap is switching jersey numbers from No. 4 to No. 31, according to NetsDaily (Twitter link). Millsap, a 15-year NBA veteran, signed a free-agent deal to join the team last month.
  • Former Knicks guard Frank Ntilikina bid farewell to the team and its fans on Sunday, posting a short video on social media (Instagram link). Ntilikina was the team’s No. 8 pick in the 2017 draft. He recently signed with the Mavericks after spending four seasons in New York.

Nets Officially Sign Paul Millsap

Over a week after agreeing to terms with him on a one-year, minimum-salary deal, the Nets have officially signed free agent big man Paul Millsap, as our JD Shaw tweets. The team has issued a press release confirming the signing.

A four-time All-Star, Millsap has seen his role reduced in recent years during his second decade in the NBA. He spent the last four seasons in Denver, averaging 9.0 PPG, 4.7 RPG, and 1.8 APG on .476/.343/.724 shooting in 56 games (20.8 MPG) in 2020/21. Most of those per-game averages were his lowest marks since 2007/08.

Still, Millsap remains a solid, reliable frontcourt option who can help stabilize a defense. The Nets likely won’t lean on him to play a major role, since they’ll have a few other options up front, including veterans Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge, and up-and-coming center Nicolas Claxton.

As we noted last week when Millsap first agreed to sign with Brooklyn, the 36-year-old received interest from a handful of other clubs, including the Warriors, Bulls, and Clippers, but ultimately decided that the Nets gave him his best chance to compete for a title.

The Nets now have 15 players on fully guaranteed contracts, plus DeAndre’ Bembry on a partial guarantee. David Duke (Exhibit 10) and Kessler Edwards (two-way) are also under contract, leaving two open spots on the club’s 20-man offseason roster. It’s possible that unsigned second-round picks Marcus Zegarowski and RaiQuan Gray could fill those openings, but Brooklyn’s plans for those rookies remains unclear.

Central Notes: Millsap, Bulls Offseason, Simmons, Ehambe

With Paul Millsap agreeing to join the Nets, the Bulls don’t have a lot of attractive free agent options to add to their frontcourt depth, K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago notes. Millsap strongly considered the Bulls but they now have to shift gears. They could bid for restricted free agent Jarred Vanderbilt, take a flier on D.J. Wilson or add an international player to fortify the power forward spot. They could also sign small forward James Ennis and use him in smaller lineups, Johnson adds. Otherwise, they may have to pursue a trade.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • The Bulls improved their roster with their busy offseason but it’s fair to wonder whether all of those changes made sense as a whole, Zach Harper of The Athletic opines. While they have upgraded in the backcourt and the wing spots with the additions of Lonzo Ball, Alex Caruso and DeMar DeRozan, their frontcourt options have thinned.
  • Pursuing a trade for Ben Simmons doesn’t make sense for the Pistons, James Edwards of The Athletic contends. In a deal with the Sixers, Detroit would likely have to part with Jerami Grant and at least one of their top young players as well as draft picks, and adding Simmons’ contract would limit their flexibility to make other moves. It also wouldn’t help their issues regarding 3-point shooting, Edwards adds.
  • Moses Ehambe is grateful he got the opportunity to be an assistant with the Pacers, though he was not retained in the aftermath of Nate Bjorkgren’s departure, Scott Agness of FieldhouseFiles writes. “This is where you want to be,” Ehambe said in the comprehensive interview. “Now it’s about staying.”

Atlantic Notes: Raptors, Nets, Sixers, Simmons

After signing Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk to a two-year contract earlier this week, the Raptors find themselves right up against their $143MM hard cap for the 2021/22 season, notes ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link).

[RELATED: NBA Teams With Hard Caps For 2021/22]

Although the Raptors only have about $133.5MM in guaranteed money on their books, the team is just $155K below the hard cap due to all the non-guaranteed money on its books, along with Gary Trent Jr.‘s incentives and Nando De Colo‘s qualifying offer, according to Marks.

While Toronto’s financial situation is worth noting, it shouldn’t hamstring the team’s flexibility this fall. The Raptors could still add a 20th man to their training camp roster by signing a player to an Exhibit 10 contract, since those deals don’t count toward the hard cap. And once the team starts making cuts to get down to the 15-man regular season limit, it will create some additional breathing room below the hard cap.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Zach Harper of The Athletic assigns the Raptors a grade of B-minus for their offseason, praising the team’s additions of Scottie Barnes and Precious Achiuwa, but acknowledging that Kyle Lowry‘s departure will be a major loss to overcome.
  • In a pair of articles for The Athletic, Alex Schiffer examines the Netsfrontcourt situation, exploring what Paul Millsap will bring to the team, and weighs whether David Vanterpool‘s new job with Brooklyn will be his last role as an assistant coach before he gets a shot at a head coaching position.
  • Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer enlisted Aaron Fentress of The Oregonian to discuss whether there’s a Ben Simmons trade between the Sixers and Trail Blazers that makes sense for both sides. Fentress doesn’t expect Damian Lillard to be available anytime soon, but thinks a Simmons/CJ McCollum swap would work if Philadelphia is willing to lower its asking price. However, Fentress does note that some people within the Blazers organization aren’t sure how well Lillard and Simmons would fit together.

Paul Millsap To Sign With Nets

The Nets are landing one of the top free agents left on the market, agreeing to a deal with Paul Millsap, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. The deal was confirmed by Millsap’s agent, DeAngelo Simmons.

Numerous teams had expressed interest in the 36-year-old power forward, who spent the past four seasons in Denver. According to Charania, Millsap considered other contending teams, such as the Warriors, Bulls and Clippers, before deciding on Brooklyn (Twitter link).

The Nets were only able to offer a veteran’s minimum salary, but Millsap is looking for a chance to win a title, and Brooklyn is among the favorites for the upcoming season.

Millsap remained a productive player for the Nuggets last year in his 15th NBA season, averaging 9.0 points and 4.7 rebounds in 20.8 minutes per night. He started 36 of the 56 games he played, although his usage declined in the postseason.

The addition of Millsap would bring the Nets to 20 players heading into camp if they sign second-round draft picks Marcus Zegarowski and RaiQuan Gray. The team still has one of its two-way slots open.

Having another big man on the roster should lead to further speculation of a potential buyout for DeAndre Jordan. There has been talk that Brooklyn wants to get out from under Jordan’s contract, which will pay him $19.7MM over the next two seasons.

Bulls, Clippers Among Teams Interested In Paul Millsap

We can add a couple new teams to the list of clubs eyeing Paul Millsap, as Shams Charania of The Athletic reports that the Bulls have pursued the veteran power forward and the Clippers have also expressed interest.

Charania confirms that the Warriors and Nets remain in the mix for Millsap, who has previously been linked to the Hawks, Pelicans, Sixers, and Timberwolves as well.

Millsap’s decision could ultimately come down to which factors are most important to him, since some teams cited as suitors could offer more money than others, some could offer a bigger role, and some are in better position to compete for a title right away.

The Bulls, for instance, still have their $3.7MM bi-annual exception available, so they could offer Millsap more than a handful of teams limited to the minimum salary exception. The Clippers, on the other hand, are limited to a minimum-salary offer, but are closer to title contention than Chicago.

Both teams could have regular frontcourt minutes available for someone like Millsap, since the Bulls just lost Lauri Markkanen and the health of Serge Ibaka remains a question mark for the Clippers. Chicago has just 13 players on guaranteed contracts, while Los Angeles is carrying 14.

Community Shootaround: Paul Millsap And J.J. Redick

As the dust settles on another free agency/trade market, there are two names conspicuously absent from rosters: J.J. Redick and Paul Millsap.

Redick’s absence is understandable, as he was vocally disappointed with how he was treated by the Pelicans, who traded him mid-season to the Mavericks in the midst of Redick’s least product year since the 2008/09 season. Redick has been clear on his desire to take his time, enjoy the summer with his family, and not make a decision until at least the fall.

Redick was also limited in the 2020/21 season by a heel injury that kept him out of the Mavericks’ playoff run and bothered him throughout much of the season. Teams interested in his service will be sure to do their due diligence on how his recovery has gone, and whether that will be a lingering issue.

Millsap’s lengthy free agency is a little more surprising. Though the 36-year-old forward is clearly slowing down a bit in recent years, he was still an important part of the Nuggets’ success over the last four seasons, as a versatile team defender who shot over 37% from three in his Denver tenure.

With defense and shooting a premium commodity from the power forward spot, Millsap’s skill set would be very useful to a number of contending teams, or teams looking to make the push into contention. In previous reporting, Millsap has been linked to the Warriors, Timberwolves, Hawks, Nets, Pelicans, and Sixers, which leads to an interesting philosophical question for the veteran.

If Millsap were to go to a team like the Timberwolves, he would likely play a relatively large amount of minutes, as second-year defensive standout Jaden McDaniels, Jake Layman and current RFA Jarred Vanderbilt are the only forwards on the team’s roster. He could join a young team desperate to start winning, and provide an ideal counterpart to the elite shooting of Karl-Anthony Towns.

But his lack of rush in signing a deal also points to a potential desire to do more than get minutes for a likely middling team. With the Warriors, Millsap could fill a role very similar to the one Blake Griffin provided for the Nets last season, and, depending on the growth and health of last year’s number two overall pick James Wiseman, could possibly even start alongside Draymond Green. Millsap’s IQ, defensive versatility and shooting prowess would make him an ideal fit in Golden State’s system, and helping Stephen Curry and the Warriors regain their contender status could hold a lot of appeal for a player who has only won two career Conference Finals games.

The Warriors still have their taxpayer mid-level exception, meaning they could offer up to $5.9MM to Millsap, though the tax bill from doing so would be immense.

With the Bucks, Millsap could provide a similar role. After losing P.J. Tucker to the Heat, the Bucks remain very shallow in the frontcourt, with Bobby Portis and raw second-year player Mamadi Diakite as the team’s only depth. Millsap could provide a similar role to Tucker, but as more of a threat from deep.

Meanwhile, the Nets are generally considered the most likely landing spot for Redick, who lives in Brooklyn already and loves New York. There have even been rumblings that Redick might consider retirement if he doesn’t land with the Nets or Knicks. But between Kyrie Irving, Patty Mills, James Harden, Joe Harris, and this year’s first-round pick Cameron Thomas, the Nets are already overflowing with hot-shooting guards who are defensive question marks, and it’s unclear what kind of role Redick would command.

The Knicks, who have also been mentioned as a team Redick could be interested in, have a similar guard log-jam, with Evan Fournier, second-year standout Immanuel Quickley, Alec Burks, and first-round pick Quentin Grimes all likely to see time at the shooting guard position.

So that brings us to the question of the day: Which teams will Redick and Millsap end up with? And will they sign before the season, or after the season’s already underway?

Take to the comments to let us know!

And-Ones: Lingering Questions, Ref Vaccinations, Noel, Jenkins, Mathias

The NBA’s summer of player movement may be winding down, but there are still some questions looming over teams. An ESPN panel of insiders looked at some of them on Thursday (before the Lauri MarkkanenLarry NanceDerrick Jones Jr. three team deal broke).

Among the predictions that were made: Nick Friedell believes Damian Lillard will eventually end up with the Knicks, just not in the immediate future; Kirk Goldsberry thinks that J.J. Redick will end up with the Nets; Andrew Lopez predicts Paul Millsap will start the season not on a roster, but will be picked up mid-season.

The crew also looks at which new coaches have the hardest road ahead: Chauncey Billups with the Blazers and Willie Green with the Pelicans each received two votes, while Jason Kidd with the Mavericks received one.

And, of course, the much-discussed Ben SimmonsSixers impasse was the first topic of debate.

We have more news from around the world of hoops:

  • The NBA will require its referees to be vaccinated against COVID-19, barring medical or religious exemptions, the league announced today. A report from ESPN laid out the scope of the policy, including that referees will receive booster shots once those become recommended, and that refs without an approved exemption who aren’t vaccinated will not be eligible to work games.
  • Knicks center Nerlens Noel‘s lawsuit has the potential to change the NBA-agent landscape, writes Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report. Fischer writes that as opposed to the league’s tampering rules between teams and players, there are no such prohibitions on agents trying to poach clients, and that this unprecedented peek behind the curtain could give the league incentive to put some protections in place.
  • John Jenkins has signed with BCM Gravelines-Dunkerque in France, reports Hoops Rumors’ JD Shaw (via Twitter). Jenkins played eight seasons in the NBA, averaging 5.0 PPG while shooting 36.7% from three on 319 career attempts. Jenkins recently participated with the Team USA select team as Team USA prepared for their eventual gold medal run.
  • Dakota Mathias has signed with the G League Ignite, reports Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. The 26-year-old played eight games for the Sixers as one of their two-way contracts last season, and Scotto reports that several teams have interest in him as a two-way player again this year. Mathias averaged six PPG and 1.6 APG in 15.4 minutes a night for Philadelphia.

Nets Notes: Mills, Jordan, Millsap, Aldridge, Duke

Longtime Spurs guard Patty Mills was attracted to the Nets because of a couple of familiar faces there, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Mills, who agreed to a two-year, $12MM contract to come to Brooklyn, joins general manager Sean Marks and lead assistant Jacque Vaughn, who both spent time in San Antonio while Mills was there and have adopted some of the Spurs’ philosophies.

“To know free agency was going to be right in the middle of (the Olympics) definitely did make it quite tough,” Mills said. “The thing for me was not being able to have the conversations I wish I would’ve had leading into such a big decision. But turning to a new chapter and going to a new place, it was definitely something that knowing that we know people throughout the organization and in the city as well, it was comforting to know there are people there that look after us and look after my family.”

Another influence was a long talk that Mills had in Tokyo with Nets star Kevin Durant. Brooklyn made a strong effort to recruit Mills when free agency began, and he said the chance to exchange ideas with Durant influenced his decision.

“The conversation I had with Kevin was so pure and so genuine, being able to understand that he’s such a true pure hooper, and to go back-and-forth about basketball specifics,” Mills said. “It’s exciting for me to know there’s an opportunity there for me to try to be who I am. After a good Tokyo Olympics campaign, being able to ride the wave of that momentum and take it into Brooklyn is something I’m looking forward to … share the court with guys like that, I’m really going to continue to learn about the game and continue to get better myself and find little ways that I can do that.”

There’s more from Brooklyn:

  • DeAndre Jordan isn’t likely to be on the Nets’ roster when training camp begins next month, per Alex Schiffer of The Athletic. The 33-year-old center, who is owed close to $20MM over the next two seasons, has been on the trade market all summer, according to Schiffer, but Brooklyn hasn’t found any takers.
  • The Nets would like to add another veteran big man, Schiffer states in the same piece, and while Paul Millsap may be out of their price range, a reunion with LaMarcus Aldridge seems more realistic. Millsap is reportedly looking at teams that still have their mid-level exception, and Brooklyn is limited to a minimum-salary contract. Schiffer notes that Aldridge played well in his five games with the team last season and enjoyed the experience, but isn’t certain to get medical clearance after being forced into retirement by an irregular heartbeat.
  • David Duke Jr. appears to be the favorite for the Nets’ open two-way spot, but a final decision probably won’t be made before training camp, Schiffer adds.

Central Notes: Bulls, Garza, Mobley, Rubio, Lowe

As our latest roster count notes, the Bulls only have 12 players on guaranteed contracts. Veteran free agent forwards Paul Millsap and James Ennis are some of the candidates to fill a couple of those open roster spots, according to Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago. LaMarcus AldridgeJarred Vanderbilt and Svi Mykhailiuk are three other free agents that the Bulls could c0nsider, Schaefer adds.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Despite a strong showing in summer league action, Pistons center Luka Garza is unlikely to get rotation minutes during his rookie campaign, Rod Beard of the Detroit News speculates. He might get more of an opportunity if Detroit, which has one too many guaranteed contracts, opts to waive Jahlil Okafor. There’s also a good chance Sekou Doumbouya will spend a chunk of time this upcoming season in the G League unless he shines in training camp, Beard writes.
  • The Cavaliers improved their talent pool this offseason in the estimation of Zach Harper of The Athletic. The addition of lottery pick Evan Mobley gives them a potential star at both ends of the floor, and the acquisition of Ricky Rubio provides much needed veteran leadership in the backcourt. However, they’re still a little thin depth-wise at the wing and forward spots, Harper notes.
  • The Cavaliers have officially added Sidney Lowe to J.B. Bickerstaff’s coaching staff, according to a team press release. The news that Lowe was leaving the Pistons’ staff to join their Central Division rival surfaced two weeks ago. “Sidney brings a wealth of coaching experience and familiarity to our staff,” Bickerstaff said. “He is a great teacher of the game and his ability to build lasting relationships across the board is integral to the growth of our overall culture here in Cleveland.”