This may be too little, too late.
A year after losing Al Horford for nothing, the Atlanta Hawks are on the verge of losing Paul Millsap the same way in free agency. Then GM Mike Budenholzer traded Kyle Korver and was moving toward a Millsap trade at the deadline when that rug was pulled out from under him by ownership. Now the Hawks have traded Dwight Howard and seem committed to the rebuild, but now they would like to get something back for Millsap after ownership killed plans to trade him at the deadline.
They are trying to find a sign-and-trade that works, reports Brian Windhorst of ESPN on SportsCenter (hat tip SLAM).
There are three or four teams out there that are willing to give Millsap a max contract, and sources have told me that the Hawks have begun getting some feelers on sign-and-trades.
Teams like the Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings and Denver Nuggets are interested in Paul Millsap.
Under the rules of the CBA, Millsap cannot make more money with a sign and trade (the days of a team signing a guy to a five-year max in a sign-and-trade are gone, now that contract can only be for the four-year deal another team could offer as a free agent). Which means the only motivation for these other teams is to clear out some cap space needed to sign Millsap, or to get other value.
The Hawks don’t have much leverage here. If he wants to go to Denver and they work it to sign him outright, Atlanta has no leverage. However, if the Nuggets want to clear out space or move someone like Wilson Chandler, they can do it through a sign-and-trade. It’s more up to the Nuggets than the Hawks.
It’s something to watch as the Hawks try to salvage something from their two biggest stars leaving.
This was more of what fans expected from Lonzo Ball.
After a rough first game against the Clippers — with Patrick Beverley in his face all night — Ball found plenty of room to operate against the soft defense of the Phoenix Suns. With room to operate Ball had 29 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists — just one assist short of a triple-double. He helped the Lakers pull away to a lead in the third then hold on for a 132-130 win over the Suns.
Ball wasn’t terribly efficient, 12-of-27 shooting, but he was 4-of-9 from three, he played with great pace, he was decisive, and was finding guys with his passes. It was a step forward, even if it was against a sad defense (Eric Bledsoe can be a good defender, but he has seemed disinterested in recent years).
Ball and the Lakers are going to be up and down this season, the goal is for there to be more ups near the end of the season.
Through the first couple games of the season, Giannis Antetokounmpo has put up impressive numbers — he dropped 34 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists on the Cavaliers Friday night.
But the Cavaliers still have LeBron James.
He had 24 points and 8 assists, leading Cleveland to the win.
LeBron also reminded the Greek Freak just how good a rim protector he is. Few people can slow Antetokounmpo on the drive, but LeBron is one of them.
Is it too early to root for a Cavs vs. Bucks playoff series?
In their season opener Wednesday, Atlanta second-year man DeAndre’ Bembry came off the bench and played 17:45, scored six points and was +13 on the night. It was a good start to his career.
But now he is going to miss some time with a fractured wrist.
Bembry underwent an MRI, which revealed a fracture in his right wrist, the Hawks announced Friday. He will return to Atlanta with the team (the Hawks lost to the Hornets Friday night) and will meet with team doctors at the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center on Monday. His status will be updated after that.
“We just may play some other guys more, we may use some of the young guys,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer told the AP before Friday night’s game. “We’ll just figure it out tonight and as we move forward. I don’t think there’s anything guaranteed for anybody, it’s unfortunate for DeAndre’ and for us.”
It’s not likely Gordon Hayward returns this season. His agent said as much, although a return in March is not out of the question. (It’s better PR wise for the Celtics to say he is out for the season, then if he returns early great, it’s better than setting a deadline he doesn’t meet.)
With that, the Celtics are going to apply for the Disabled Player Exception, which could help them land a replacement player, Danny Ainge told Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.
President of basketball operations Danny Ainge told the Globe on Friday the club is applying for the Disabled Player Exception, which would provide the Celtics $8.4 million to pursue a player to fill Hayward’s roster spot.
“We’re in the process of doing that,’’ Ainge said. “We have a while to do that. There’s no urgency, but we will apply for that.”
There are limits to what that money can get the Celtics. The money is the same as the mid-level exception, the Celtics can go over the cap to use it, and the player can be obtained via free agency or trade. However, the player must be in the last year of his contract.
It gives the Celtics options. It also does not mean Hayward cannot return, it only means NBA-approved doctors determined he is not likely to return before a mid-June deadline.