On Sunday, the report came out that the Atlanta Hawks, fearing they would lose him when he opts out this summer to become a free agent, are listening to trade offers for Paul Millsap. And Kyle Korver. And Thabo Sefolosha. Atlanta doesn’t want a repeat of the situation of last summer when Al Horford left and the team got nothing in return.
On Monday, the Hawks were trying to pump the breaks on those rumors.
Atlanta may be listening but is nowhere near trading Millsap, and he’s not even sure if he’s going to opt out, reports Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The fact they are listening doesn’t make anything imminent. It doesn’t mean something will ever happen. It may. The talk certainly doesn’t mean that Millsap is gone…
The Hawks are not close to trading Millsap at this point. He clearly has been their best player. It doesn’t make sense right now while the team is still trying to figure out a new roster…
In addition, a report surfaced that Millsap has already decided to opt out of the final year of his $21.5 million contract and become an unrestricted free agent this summer. Simply, not true. While this is likely, due to basic economics, no decision has been made. Millsap told me this himself earlier this year and a source confirmed Sunday that not only has no decision been made but no discussion has been had.
First things first: Short of him getting seriously injured later this season, Millsap will opt out. Not that he has formally made that decision yet, but it’s going to happen. He has one year at $21.5 million left on his contract, if he opts out he gets at least four guaranteed years (the Hawks can offer five) and he would be a max player with a contract starting at more than $35 million. You really think Millsap is going to leave that money on the table?
Are the Hawks going to trade him because he can walk? That’s another question entirely. This is a franchise still trying to set a direction post Horford, still trying to figure out who they are — at points this season the Hawks have looked like the third best team in the East, at other points like they don’t belong in the playoffs. Mike Budenholzer is trying to map out a future for Atlanta. How badly does Millsap want to be a part of that, or does he want to test the market and look around? Then there is the question of what the Hawks are offered in return for Millsap or Korver or Sefolosha — if teams keep the offers low because they see those players as a rental, then the Hawks may just play the hand they have been dealt.
But they are listening. And that could make this an interesting trade deadline in Atlanta.