Paul Millsap and Al Horford formed the best frontcourt in the league, at least from a defensive standpoint, for the better part of the last three years. But they are no longer together after Horford took his talents to Boston this summer. Could the Celtics try to reunite them by trading for Millsap?
According to David Ramil of Today’s Fast Break, Millsap faces an uncertain future in Atlanta with the Hawks front office “actively trying to trade him” ever since February’s trade deadline leading into this offseason.
“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,” Ramil reported on Sunday, indicating that a break-up between Millsap and Hawks is imminent.
Paul Millsap: What can Celtics offer?
Last year, the Boston Globe reported that the Celtics view Millsap as a steady presence on defense an ideal fit under coach Brad Stevens, who preaches a defense-first mentality.
“There is some interest within the organization in forward Paul Millsap, who is still generally classified in that second tier despite making two consecutive All-Star teams with the Hawks,” wrote Adam Himmelsbach.
With Al Horford and Jeff Teague out of Atlanta, there’s a feeling around the league that Paul Millsap will be gone, too, seeing as Mike Budenholzer wants to enter rebuilding mode with a young set of players. In such a scenario, the Celtics could offer a package of Jaylen Brown and Kelly Olynyk to propel Hawks to part with Millsap.
A trade package surrounding Brown should tempt Budenholzer. The Celtics would be skeptical to part with Jae Crowder but they shouldn’t hesitate twice if it means securing an all-star like Millsap. A front court pairing of Horford and Millsap would likely push Boston to the No. 2 seed in the East.
Raptors, Nuggets also interested
According to Raptors beat reporter Josh Lewenberg, Toronto had inquired about Millsap prior to February’s trade deadline. There were also earlier reports that the Denver Nuggets and Hawks had flirted with the idea of a swap between Kenneth Faried and Millsap.
According to ESPN’s Zach Lowe, “The Denver Nuggets had the Hawks biting on a package of picks and players, including Kenneth Faried, for Millsap, per several league sources.”
Last month, The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted the following:
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
Earlier on Monday, Paul Millsap responded to the trade rumors:
Paul Millsap on trade rumors this summer: "Wasn't the first time. Won't be the last."
— Chris Vivlamore (@CVivlamoreAJC) August 1, 2016