Atlanta Hawks power forward Paul Millsap is set to become an unrestricted free agent this upcoming offseason, and his previous team is said to be interested in a reunion.
Spencer Checketts of 1280 The Zone in Salt Lake City reported via Twitter Friday that the Jazz will actively pursue Millsap in free agency.
Millsap is coming off a strong season in 2014-15 where he posted averages of 16.7 points per game, 7.8 rebounds per game, and 3.1 assists per game on 47.6 percent shooting. The 30-year-old was a key catalyst in a season where Atlanta won a franchise-record 60 games during the regular season and earned their first conference finals berth in team history. And in doing it on a meager 2 year, $19 million deal signed in the 2013 offseason, Millsap represented one of the biggest bargains in the NBA as well. Now in a 2015 free agent landscape ripe with such alluring names as LaMarcus Aldridge, Kevin Love, and Marc Gasol, the Louisiana Tech product poses yet another coveted big man target.
Millsap was drafted by the Jazz in 2006 and played the first seven seasons of his career in Utah. Plus, in yet another fascinating case study of The Dragic Corollary, Utah currently has Millsap’s brother, Elijah, under contract.
But don’t go reaching to play The Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back” on vinyl just yet.
The Jazz are already set with their frontcourt of the future in Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert. Utah posted a godly 99.8 defensive rating in the 859 minutes that young duo shared the floor together last season, and the two proved to be arguably the best defensive frontcourt in the league after the All-Star break. A Salt Lake City reunion with the elder Millsap would create a logjam in the big man rotation and stunt the development of the team’s exciting young core. Also, with the 2-time All-Star looking for a big payday after playing the last couple of seasons well below market value, that’s the kind of money that Utah simply can’t afford to shell out for sentimental reasons or otherwise.
Though Millsap is a versatile big who can stretch the floor, command attention on the block, crash the glass, act as a secondary facilitator on offense, and defend the pick-and-roll with his quick hands/instincts, it’s hard to make the case for a match here. Plus, that unique skillset will definitely get him a lot of interest (not to mention moolah) elsewhere.
We can safely file this rumor in the “pie in the sky” category for now while watching old highlights of Paul Millsap, Jazz logo emblazoned across his chest, raining an 11-points-in-28 seconds firestorm on the Big Three-era Miami Heat.