Report: Pelicans talking Paul Millsap trade

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With the Hawks trading Kyle Korver to the Cavaliers, the vultures are circling Atlanta to try nabbing Paul Millsap.

Reportedly interested:

  • Raptors
  • Nuggets
  • Kings
  • 76ers

Add the Pelicans to the list.

Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders:

This is the danger of having a general manager who feels the heat of his seat. Dell Demps is incentivized to make a big move to save his job, even if it’s not in New Orleans’ best interest (and this big move reeks of his potential successor, advisor Danny Ferry, who acquired Millsap in Atlanta).

The Pelicans are “just” two games out of playoff position, but that’s a bigger gap than it seems – especially because they’re 11th in the West at 14-23. So, not only would they have to play better, they’d have to hope multiple teams around them also continue to struggle.

Even Millsap wouldn’t turn the odds in their favor of a playoff win or maybe even reaching the postseason at all. Then, he’ll become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

Should New Orleans make such a deal? The biggest variables are unknown: What’s Millsap’s interest in re-signing, and how would the pick be protected?

Then, the mechanics of a trade get tricky. It would be difficult for the Pelicans to match Millsap’s $20,072,033 salary without including useful players. Tyreke Evans on an expiring contract is a logical starting point, but he alone isn’t enough. New Orleans would love to dump Omer Asik, but I doubt the Hawks want him. Would Atlanta take on long-term contracts for players like Solomon Hill, E'Twaun Moore and Langston Galloway?

Plus, the Pelicans would have to make the best offer, not just an acceptable one. Millsap is a valued commodity, and multiple teams are making pitches.

A Millsap-Anthony Davis pairing would be a lot of fun in Alvin Gentry’s system, but there are many more reasons a Pelicans-Millsap trade doesn’t get done than reasons it does. Still, it’s not impossible given the team’s motivations to make something happen.