Paul Millsap, the Atlanta Hawks forward, has been rumored to be on the trading block for several months, and the Indiana Pacers are trying to acquire the three-time All-Star, per league sources.
Larry Bird, president of the Pacers, has had a busy offseason, with several trades and free agency moves changing the complexion of his team going into the new season. However, Bird isn’t done making moves and wants to surround franchise player Paul George with the best possible talent.
Last week, Today’s Fast Break reported that Millsap and Atlanta are headed for an imminent breakup, with the Hawks front office “actively trying to trade him” since draft night in June. In fact, Hawks reportedly engaged in several trade talks for Millsap during February’s trade deadline.
Paul Millsap on trade rumors this summer: "Wasn't the first time. Won't be the last."
— Chris Vivlamore (@CVivlamoreAJC) August 1, 2016
“Millsap’s current contract has two years left but includes a player option at the end of the upcoming season. Millsap, potentially feeling burned by a team actively trying to trade him, could test free agency and could abandon Atlanta, leaving them scrambling to find a suitable running mate alongside Howard.
“But, should Millsap choose to remain with Atlanta, things could become even stickier,” David Ramil wrote last Sunday, while adding that that Hawks front office were patiently waiting for the best offer to come their way before dealing Millsap.
Paul Millsap: What can Pacers offer?
The Pacers could offer a package of Thaddeus Young and Rodney Stuckey to complete a transaction for Millsap. The ESPN Trade machine approves of the hypothetical trade.
It’s not a bad move for either team. The Hawks stand to lose Millsap in free agency next year. Young, who averaged 15.1 points and 9 rebounds last year, has three years left on his contract.
Stuckey, who averaged nearly 9 points last season, has two years left on his existing contract. Therefore, the Hawks would be securing veteran pieces who can help the young team led by star Paul George and sophomore Myles Turner.
Sources: Market for Paul Millsap has been strong, flurry of calls, trade proposals. Several teams tell me they've been active talking to ATL
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) July 2, 2016
Since Millsap can opt out of his contract next summer, the Hawks front office would find it difficult to find all-star caliber talent in return. But Young and Stuckey are two valuable role players who would help the Hawks.
Millsap signed a three-year, $60 million max contract last summer to stay put in Atlanta. However, the power forward insisted on a player option in the third year of his deal which would make him an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2016-17 season.
The Hawks can’t afford to lose Paul Millsap for nothing.