Even after the Hawks’ season ended, Paul Millsap wouldn’t confirm he’d opt out of the final year of his contract.
But the All-Star finally made the inevitable official.
Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:
Atlanta Hawks All-Star forward Paul Millsap has opted out of his $21.4 million contract for next season to become a free agent, league sources told The Vertical.
The 32-year-old Millsap would have earned $21,472,407 if he opted in. It’s a virtual certainty he’ll earn more than that next season – and gain long-term security in a multi-year contract.
He might even get a max starting salary, which projects to be worth more than $35 million. Over a five-year contract with Atlanta, his max projects to be worth $205 million ($41 million annually). If he leaves, his projected max is $152 million over four years ($38 million annually).
The Hawks don’t yet have a general manager, but Millsap will reportedly negotiate directly with owner Tony Ressler, who said they’d make “every effort imaginable” to re-sign Millsap.
With that commitment and certain interest from other teams, how could Millsap do anything but opt out?
This isn’t a tell about his future with Atlanta. It’s an obvious financial decision.
Mike Budeholzer recently stepped down from his dual role as coach and GM of the Atlanta Hawks. That has left an open position for Atlanta as they approach the 2017 NBA Draft and free agency, both of which are barreling down on us.
The Hawks are gathering candidates for the open GM spot, and one surprise option appears to be former NBA veteran Chauncey Billups.
Billups, 40, has no executive experience but has expressed interest in being part of team leadership in the past.
The interview is expected to occur Tuesday in Los Angeles, sources say, and it is believed the organization isn’t looking to drag out the hiring process.
ESPN’s Marc Stein previously reported the Hawks have already interviewed Washington Wizards vice president of basketball operations Tommy Sheppard and Golden State assistant general manager Travis Schlenk.
The Hawks are facing Paul Millsap‘s unrestricted free agency this summer, and have the 19th overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. They also have a second round pick acquired from the Brooklyn Nets.
The Atlanta Hawks need a new General Manager/head of basketball operations, and they are not afraid to think big — they asked Portland if they could speak to GM Neil Olshey about a new job, but were shot down.
Besides the big name targets, they are looking at some of the more respected assistant GMs around the league as well, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.
The Hawks likely have a fairly long list. On it is almost certainly David Griffin, the Cavaliers GM who is without a contract after this season (he is available July 1). Orlando also is waiting to see what is up with Griffin — will the Cavaliers pay him the going rate for a top GM? — before making their move.
Mike Budenholzer had been serving as head coach and GM, but he and assistant GM Wes Willcox both stepped away from their roles after a disagreement about the future direction of the franchise. Whoever gets the role next faces that same challenge. Paul Millsap is a free agent, should the Hawks max him out and re-sign him, likely making them a 4-6 seed, a good but not great team for the foreseeable future, or do they start the rebuild now. Budenholzer had wanted to rebuild, ownership may not want to go that direction, or maybe they wanted someone else to handle it.
Portland’s Neil Olshey is one of the more respected and aggressive team president/GMs around the league. When Portland makes a move, rarely does it not have sound logic behind it (even if it doesn’t always pan out as hoped).
Atlanta has a vacancy at the GM spot, so they decided to be aggressive themselves and see if Olshey — who is under contract — was available. Turns out, no.
Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports broke the news.
Atlanta’s new GM is in an interesting spot, Paul Millsap is a free agent, and the team is at a crossroads: re-sign him to a max deal and likely be a 4-6 seed, good but not great team for a few years, or start the rebuild now. Mike Budenholzer, the coach and now former GM, stepped down because of a disagreement about the future direction. He was down with the rebuild, which means ownership may not be.
At least it sounds like ownership is willing to spend on someone who has done the job before.
Paul George has been the subject of much discussion recently as talks of trades and his impending free agency have followed his absence from an All-NBA team on Tuesday. George has a year left on his deal with the Indiana Pacers, and some rumors even place him with the Los Angeles Lakers.
But it was an Eastern Conference team that looked to trade for George in February, and for quite a hefty price. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported that the Atlanta Hawks offered four first round picks for George back at the deadline.
Meanwhile, it’s not clear whether George will play out his contract in Indiana or if Pacers GM Kevin Pritchard will somehow convince him to stay. The team is in a tough spot given they seem unlikely to extend George and because any team trading for George could lose him the following summer.
It’s hard to imagine a haul of four first rounders for a player, but as we’ve seen for the Boston Celtics in the most recent NBA Draft Lottery, that kind of swap can be fruitful.