Paul Millsap

Wolves Rumors: Hernangomez, Edwards, Rubio, Beasley

Timberwolves restricted free agent forward Juan Hernangomez initially sought an offer in excess of $10MM per year, sources tell Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. Unwilling to meet that price right off the bat, the Wolves “essentially told” Hernangomez to prove he could get an offer from another club while they went looking for possible alternatives at power forward, writes Krawczynski.

Minnesota ended up reaching out to a number forwards in free agency, including Derrick Jones (as previously outlined), Paul Millsap, Jae Crowder, and JaMychal Green, and inquired on possible trades involving Magic forward Aaron Gordon, Rockets forward P.J. Tucker, and Cavaliers big man Larry Nance Jr., sources tell Krawczynski.

The Timberwolves didn’t have any luck with any of those potential targets, but held firm on their offer to Hernangomez, who mulled the possibility of accepting the one-year qualifying offer worth $4.64MM, per Krawczynski. Ultimately, the two sides came to an agreement on a three-year, $21MM deal that has a third-year team option.

Here’s more out of Minnesota:

  • The Timberwolves chose Anthony Edwards with the No. 1 pick last week because they believe he has the clearest path of any of this year’s draft-eligible prospects to becoming a multi-time All-Star, says Krawczysnki.
  • Sources tell The Athletic that the team’s acquisition of Ricky Rubio was partly motivated by seeing what the veteran point guard did for Donovan Mitchell and Devin Booker at his previous stops and a belief that he’ll aid Edwards’ development.
  • The Knicks told Malik Beasley he’d be their Plan B in free agency if they couldn’t land Gordon Hayward, according to Krawczynski. Recognizing that New York could be a threat to put forth a troublesome offer sheet, the Wolves went in with an aggressive pitch on the opening night of free agency and secured a commitment from Beasley on the spot. Sources tell The Athletic that Beasley has appreciated the support he’s received from the franchise since running into off-court legal problems.
  • The Timberwolves officially announced Beasley’s new deal today. Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link) has the year-by-year financial breakdown of that contract, which guarantees the swingman $43MM+ over three years.

Nuggets Agree To Re-Sign Paul Millsap

The Nuggets lost Jerami Grant and Mason Plumlee on the first day of free agency, but they’re bringing back their other key frontcourt free agent. Denver has agreed to re-sign Paul Millsap to a one-year contract worth $10MM+, agent DeAngelo Simmons tells Shams Charania of The Athletic (via Twitter).

Millsap, 35, played fewer minutes per game (24.3) in 2019/20 than he had in any season since 2007/08, but he remained highly effective in those minutes. He averaged 11.6 PPG, 5.7 RPG, and 1.6 APG with a solid shooting line of .482/.435/.816 in 51 games (48 starts).

Since arriving in Denver in 2017, Millsap has helped stabilize the team’s defense alongside Nikola Jokic in the frontcourt. With Plumlee and Grant departing in free agency, Millsap will share time up front in 2020/21 with the newly-added JaMychal Green, with youngsters like Michael Porter and Bol Bol expected to take on larger roles too.

Millsap received interest from “over half of the league” as a free agent, according to Charania (via Twitter). Earlier today, the Celtics were cited as a strong contender for the big man. However, Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe (Twitter link) hears that personal reasons played a major part in Millsap’s decision — he didn’t want to uproot his family from Denver.

Nuggets president of basketball operations Tim Connelly said back in September that he’d “love to see” Millsap spend the rest of his career in Denver. While this contract won’t guarantee that, it’s a good first step.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eastern Rumors: Millsap, Celtics, Hayward, Crowder

The Celtics are showing “strong interest” in signing veteran big man Paul Millsap, league sources tell Jared Weiss of The Athletic (Twitter link). Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe (Twitter link) hears from his own source that Boston is currently at the top of Millsap’s list as he weighs his options. A decision is expected later today, Himmelsbach adds.

While the Celtics aren’t expected to create any cap room as a result of Gordon Hayward‘s departure, the team now has some added cap flexibility to make sign-and-trade and/or use its full mid-level exception, opening up a few options in free agency.

Here are a few more notes from around the East:

  • Speaking of Hayward, Hornets owner Michael Jordan called the veteran forward late last night in an effort to close the deal for Charlotte, according to ESPN’s Zach Lowe (Twitter link). Jordan’s pitch must have been effective, though the $120MM the Hornets will apparently pay Hayward over the next four years probably didn’t hurt either.
  • The Heat offered Jae Crowder a two-year deal that would have paid him $14MM in 2020/21, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald (Twitter link). However, Miami wasn’t willing to guarantee any money beyond the first year, so Crowder opted for the Suns’ three-year, $30MM offer, which will pay him less in year one but is worth significantly more overall.
  • In a column for The Athletic, David Aldridge contends that Wizards owner Ted Leonsis must decide if the franchise wants to build around John Wall and Bradley Beal and then trade the odd man out. While Aldridge’s argument makes some sense, it seems obvious that Beal would be the team’s choice and that trading Wall won’t exactly be easy.

Western Rumors: Howard, Lakers, Carmelo, Cousins, Kanter, More

Before he agreed to a deal with the Sixers on Friday night, Dwight Howard posted a message on his Twitter account indicating that he would be re-signing with the Lakers.

“I’m staying right where I belong,” Howard wrote. “Laker nation I love y’all. Purple and gold never gets old.”

A few minutes later, the tweet had been deleted, and a little later in the evening, Howard was set to join the 76ers. So what happened?

According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, sources within the Lakers’ organization are adamant that they never put a formal offer on the table for Howard and that they discussed a “deal concept.” Howard, on the other hand, believe that if he agreed to the “deal concept,” the two sides had a deal.

As Haynes writes, Lakers management told Howard’s agent they had to consult with team ownership and get approval before making an official offer. The veteran center waited for almost an hour without hearing back, sources tell Haynes. Ultimately, the communication breakdown resulted in Howard preparing to head east for the 2020/21 season.

Here are a few more free agency notes and rumors from around the Western Conference:

  • The Trail Blazers haven’t ruled out the possibility of re-signing Carmelo Anthony, even after lining up deals to acquire Robert Covington and Derrick Jones, tweets David Aldridge of The Athletic.
  • The Rockets touched base with DeMarcus Cousins‘ camp today, a source told Kelly Iko of The Athletic (Twitter link). Iko’s report came before the team reached a deal with Christian Wood, so it’s not clear whether or not signing Cousins remains an option for Houston.
  • Now that the Lakers aren’t an option for Tristan Thompson, the Clippers could emerge as a real possibility, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com, who notes (via Twitter) that it’d be a chance for Thompson to reunite with Tyronn Lue.
  • The Lakers and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope remain interested in getting a deal done, but will have to reach a compromise on salary, tweets Brad Turner of The Los Angeles Times. Caldwell-Pope is seeking a raise, while the Lakers won’t have a ton of wiggle room below their hard cap.
  • The Celtics gave Enes Kanter a choice of being traded to either the Grizzlies or Trail Blazers in the deal that was completed earlier today, and Kanter chose Portland, a source tells Jared Weiss of The Athletic (Twitter link).
  • Count the Timberwolves among the teams with interest in free agent big man Paul Millsap, according to Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News (Twitter link).

Free Agency Notes: Heat, Gibson, Beasley, Millsap

Heat president Pat Riley provided a major hint on his free agency plans during his post-draft availability on Wednesday night, according to Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press, who tweets that Riley said he hopes to “run this thing back.”

The Heat can essentially go one of two directions this weekend. One direction is renouncing most of their own free agents and opening up cap room to pursue outside FAs. The other is remaining over the cap and making an effort to bring back several of their own free agents, starting with Jae Crowder and Goran Dragic. It sounds like Riley is prepared to take the latter path.

Here’s more on free agency:

  • Although the Knicks waived Taj Gibson and turned down Bobby Portis‘ option, Ian Begley of SNY.tv (Twitter link) hears that the team still has some mutual interest with both players, who could return on more modest salaries. Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News suggests (via Twitter) that the Suns, Clippers, and Warriors are among the other clubs to watch for Gibson.
  • Timberwolves president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas said today during an appearance on The Chad Hartman Show in Minnesota that drafting Anthony Edwards doesn’t mean the team doesn’t plan to re-sign Malik Beasley. “We hope that relationship (with Beasley) continues,” Rosas said (Twitter link via Dane Moore of News Talk 830 WCCO). Wolfson (via Twitter) thinks that the Wolves and Beasley could work out a two-year deal.
  • Paul Millsap plans to weigh his options at the start of free agency and see what kind of market develops before making a decision, tweets Mike Singer of The Denver Post. No deal is imminent yet for Millsap, who is expected to receive interest from the Nuggets and Trail Blazers, among others.
  • Suns GM James Jones said on Wednesday night that his front office will be looking for “Suns fits” in free agency, as Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic writes. “I feel really good about our ability to build on the rest of our roster,” Jones said.

Free Agent Roundup: Gallinari, Harris, Millsap

The Heat could be among the teams bidding for free agent forward Danilo Gallinari, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. If Giannis Antetokounmpo accepts a super-max offer from the Bucks, there will be less incentive for Miami to preserve cap room for next summer. If the two-time MVP is off the market, Scotto hears that the Heat will extend Bam Adebayo, try to re-sign Goran Dragic and look to add a forward, possibly Gallinari, in free agency.

Oklahoma City is expected to structure the trade for Al Horford so it can retain Gallinari’s cap hold, according to Tim Bontemps of ESPN (Twitter link).

There’s more free agent news to pass along:

  • A rumor circulating earlier today that the Mavericks and Thunder were negotiating a sign-and-trade deal involving Gallinari is false, at least so far, tweets Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News.
  • The Hawks and Hornets were both planning to pursue Nets sharpshooter Joe Harris, but it seems increasingly likely that he will remain in Brooklyn, Scotto notes in the same piece. Charlotte will look for more affordable guards who can give the team veteran leadership and shooting.
  • Nuggets forward Paul Millsap could be in line for the Trail Blazers‘ full mid-level exception if he signs in Portland, Scotto adds. The Blazers are expected to make a strong push for the 35-year-old.

Blazers Expected To Pursue Millsap In Free Agency

The Trail Blazers had some success with an aging former All-Star forward last season. It appears they’ll be looking to sign another one in free agency.

Portland is expected to pursue Paul Millsap, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer tweets. Millsap, 35, is an unrestricted free agent.

Millsap is highly respected for his toughness, leadership and shooting. He averaged 11.6 PPG and 5.7 RPG in 24.3 MPG and made a career-best 43.5% of his 3-point tries last season.

The Blazers are looking for another big body who can match up with power forwards like Anthony Davis, O’Connor notes.

Millsap could essentially replace Carmelo Anthony, who is also an unrestricted free agent. Anthony saw extensive action at both forward spots after Portland signed him last winter. There’s been no indication whether the Blazers are committed to trying to re-sign him.

With a healthy Zach Collins on the roster, Millsap would figure to have a second-unit role if he joined the Blazers. Nuggets president of basketball operations Tim Connelly said in late September that he would “love” to see Millsap finish out his career in Denver.

Nuggets Notes: Murray, Grant, Millsap, Porter

The five-year, $170MM extension the Nuggets gave to Jamal Murray last summer could be a clue as to how they’ll handle their four free agents this year, writes Mike Singer of The Denver Post. There were many throughout the league who thought Denver overpaid when the deal with Murray was announced, but he has proved capable of being part of the team’s foundation and silenced any remaining critics with his performance in the playoffs.

“When we can, we take care of our own,” president of basketball operations Tim Connelly said. “And we do it with a smile on our face, and we do it cognizant of how it could affect the relationship both short- and long-term. Certainly we could’ve taken a different approach. ‘Go prove it, go earn it.’ We thought he had already earned it. … You can be a bit too cute at times if you don’t take care of the guys that have gotten you here.”

That should be good news for Jerami Grant, Paul Millsap, Mason Plumlee and Torrey Craig, who will all be on the open market this offseason. Connelly and general manager Calvin Booth have both stated that they want to hang on to as many of their free agents as they can. Connelly added that Denver has become a more desirable city to play in as the team has improved, and he has received increased interest from players and agents.

There’s more from Denver:

  • Grant proved his worth in the postseason and is very likely to be re-signed, Singer writes in a mailbag column. He states that the Nuggets wouldn’t have won either playoff series without Grant, adding that they don’t have the resources to replace him with a similar talent if he leaves. Singer expects a new deal to be somewhere around $64MM over four years.
  • The market will determine whether Millsap returns to Denver, Singer adds in the same piece. The Nuggets probably can’t afford to keep all four free agents without going into luxury tax territory, and Singer suggests another team could probably land the veteran forward with an offer in the $10-12MM range. If the Nuggets don’t keep Plumlee, Singer sees plenty of other options at backup center, including Meyers LeonardKelly Olynyk, Aron Baynes, Enes Kanter and Robin Lopez.
  • Sean Keeler of The Denver Post talks to insiders around the league about Michael Porter Jr. and finds a wide range of opinions on the future of the 22-year-old rookie.

Connelly Would “Love To See” Millsap Retire As Nugget

Paul Millsap will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason, but Nuggets president of basketball operations Tim Connelly has expressed a desire to retain the big man, along with a hope that he’ll spend the rest of his career in Denver, writes Mike Singer of The Denver Post.

“I would love to see Paul retire in a Nuggets jersey,” Connelly said on Wednesday. “What he brought to this team and this city has been pretty special. … I don’t think we could’ve asked for anything more in terms of where we are. He taught us so much about winning and how to get to this point.”

Millsap, who signed a three-year deal worth more than $90MM with the Nuggets back in 2017, has been a reliable presence in the frontcourt alongside star center Nikola Jokic. In 159 games (26.9 MPG) over those three seasons, he averaged 12.8 PPG, 6.6 RPG, and 2.1 APG to go along with a .478/.381/.740 shooting line and his usual strong play on defense.

According to Singer, Millsap has yet to make any decisions regarding his free agency. The 35-year-old is still processing his 83-day stint in the Orlando bubble and plans to take his time as he considers his next move.

Singer suggests that this isn’t the first time Millsap has heard the refrain about the Nuggets wanting him to retire with the team, and that may be a factor in his decision. However, there will also be financial matters to consider.

The Nuggets hold Millsap’s Bird rights and can offer him any amount up to the max, but fellow free agent forward Jerami Grant will likely be the team’s first priority. If and when Grant signs a new deal, Denver’s maneuverability below the tax line will be a factor as the team mulls a potential offer for Millsap and other roster moves.

Singer notes that any offer from the Nuggets would reflect the fact that the Millsap wasn’t as effective in the playoffs as he was early in the season. While he played a part in helping Denver reach the Western Conference Finals, the big man’s production was down in the postseason (8.0 PPG, 4.7 RPG, .398 FG%).

Nuggets Notes: Malone, Free Agents, Morris, Murray

Even though the Nuggets‘ magical postseason run came to an end Saturday, the team appears to have a bright future ahead, writes Mike Singer of The Denver Post. After overcoming 3-1 deficits in the first two rounds of the playoffs, Denver couldn’t do it again against the Lakers, but coach Michael Malone believes the experience in Orlando should benefit his players.

“I think we have something special brewing,” Malone said. “And I think most importantly, I think people around this country, around the world, who were watching the playoffs, this group of guys, you would be hard pressed to find a better story coming out of this bubble. A bunch of young kids faced elimination, looked it in the face and just kept on surviving and advancing.”

The Nuggets’ hopes for improvement will center around the development of rookie forward Michael Porter Jr., who averaged 11.4 points and 6.7 rebounds per game in the postseason. Porter should be a full-time rotation player next season, and fellow rookie Bol Bol may also have a larger role. In addition, Will Barton will return after missing the entire playoffs with a knee injury.

“I think all great teams and champions have to go through the pains of losing,” Malone said. “And nothing is handed to you in this business. And we’re making steps. We’re moving in the right direction with a great group of guys.”

There’s more on the Nuggets:

  • Denver’s challenge for the offseason will be deciding how to handle free agents Jerami Grant, Mason Plumlee, Torrey Craig and Paul Millsap without exceeding the luxury tax threshold, notes Bobby Marks of ESPN. The Nuggets hold Bird rights or Early Bird rights on all four players and can go over the salary cap to keep them. However, the team already has $95MM in guaranteed money committed to five players. Marks states that Denver can spend $29MM without paying the tax — that figure drops to $20MM if Grant opts into a $9.3MM salary for next season.
  • Reaching an extension with reserve point guard Monte Morris should be another priority, Marks adds in the same story. Morris has a $1.7MM non-guaranteed contract for 2020/21 that will become guaranteed whenever free agency begins. Marks believes a realistic extension offer would be in the neighborhood of $27MM over three years.
  • Jamal Murray played Saturday’s game with a bone bruise on his right knee and another bruise on his right foot, according to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. The pain contributed to Murray’s off night with 19 points on 7-of-17 shooting. “I don’t like to tell everybody what I got. I just like to play through it,” he said. “I was in pain, but it’s cool. I was out there. I was struggling a little bit today.”