Paul Millsap, the Atlanta Hawks forward, is expected to decline his player option for the 2017-18 season and test the free agency waters. The Houston Rockets have emerged as favorites to sign Millsap, per sources.
Millsap, a former three-time All-Star, has been subject to a myriad of trade rumors since February’s trade deadline leading into draft night in June. However, the Hawks have held onto Millsap and are unwilling to part with him.
Despite the Hawks’ insistence to invest in a frontcourt featuring offseason acquisition Dwight Howard and Millsap, there is a legitimate fear that they could lose the latter in free agency next year.
According to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders, Millsap and the Hawks front office have had an open dialogue about the defensive ace’s future in Atlanta.
Paul Millsap to Houston?
“Sources close to the Hawks say the relationship between Millsap and management is actually pretty good, even despite the trade rumors around the draft. They say that there has been an honest, open dialogue about Millsap’s role and future in Atlanta,” Kyler reported last week.
According to this Hoops Habit projection, the Rockets would need a defensive-minded big man next season since Nene is on a one-year rental, Clint Capela is still green and Ryan Anderson isn’t known for his defensive prowess.
“It would make perfect sense for the Rockets to pursue Millsap. Even though Clint Capela has shown signs of an NBA-caliber starter, they lack depth in the frontcourt with veteran Nene on board as a 1-year solution and Montrezl Harrell still to develop into a decent rotational player,” opined the writer.
In July, ESPN’s Zach Lowe revealed that the Rockets were among the many teams trying to trade for Millsap on draft night.
“They (Hawks) talked about Millsap trades with Phoenix, Denver, Toronto and Houston; the Nuggets were ready to flip a players-and-picks package headlined by Kenneth Faried, according to several sources familiar with the matter.”
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Trade still possible…
According to Kyler, there is still a possibility that the Rockets trade Millsap, especially if the All-Star makes his intentions clear about his impending free agnecy.
“Millsap is absolutely a name to watch as the trade deadline gets closer. But like many of the guys on this list, he’s not someone the Hawks would look to move today – if they looked at moving him at all,” wrote Kyler.
The Baksetball Insiders report also noted that if the Hawks begin the new season 5-15, the front office will go to any extent to trade Millsap and secure future assets.
Remember, Millsap turns 32 next year and will have his final opportunity to cash in and earn a lucrative max contract. He had signed a three-year, $60 million contract last summer with a player option for the 2017-18 season.
Will the Rockets and Paul Millsap prove to be a good fit?