The Atlanta Hawks are on a downhill slide, and this assuredly won’t be the year they bring home the franchise’s first championship since 1958. Currently, the Hawks sit at the Eastern Conference 6th seed, having gone 2-8 in their last ten. With Paul Millsap’s free agency coming up this off season, will he resign to a team that is unfit for title hopes?
Originally drafted by the Utah Jazz with the 47th pick in the 2nd round of the 2006 NBA Draft, Paul Millsap has grown to a commanding presence on both sides of the ball. However, time stops for no one, and Millsap is coming up on his 12th NBA season. With championship dreams on his mind, here are some teams I can see Millsap deferring to:
The Toronto Raptors
are constantly plagued by their lack of a strong four spot. To bide their time until the off season with playoffs approaching, Toronto traded for Serge Ibaka just before the deadline. Although he’s playing great, Ibaka is also coming up on a big free agency decision. Should the Raptors feel as if Ibaka isn’t committed to the franchise, I expect them to be the number one contender for Millsap’s contract.
For Toronto, the biggest concern with Millsap will be his contract. In today’s NBA, it is rare for a player to deny their worth. That being said, Paul is likely looking at a contract near the upwards of $160 million, should he stray from Atlanta.
The Raptors will have decisions to make, with both Kyle Lowry and PJ Tucker facing free agency as well.
The Minnesota Timberwolves
haven’t been to the playoffs since their 2003-2004 season. To make emphasis on that statement, the roster then consisted of: Kevin Garnett, Sam Cassell, and current Chicago Bulls head coach, Fred Hoiberg. After drafting Andrew Wiggins, Karl Anthony Towns, and now Kris Dunn the Timberwolves are no better off than in the last thirteen years.
Inserting Paul Millsap into a starting lineup with Andrew Wiggins and KAT, could certainly make for a threat in the Western Conference. With such a young team in the works, Minnesota certainly has enough/or could make enough room for Millsap’s contract. Their current highest paid player is Ricky Rubio (4-year/$55 million) for Christ’ sake.
A great defensive player, and an offensive juggernaut, Paul Millsap could certainly help turn things around for the Timberwolves.
The Miami Heat
have set themselves up as a top free agency destination come this summer. After going 11-30, they turned it all around and may have punched their ticket to the playoffs with a 37-40 record. Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra have a history of success and Miami isn’t the worst place to live.
Goran Dragic, Dion Waiters, Justise Winslow, Paul Millsap, and Hassan Whiteside is a strong lineup that could certainly make a deep run in the playoffs should injuries allow. Not only is Paul a great offensive scorer, he is another veteran addition to a team with a lot of young talent.
Miami certainly has the talent and cap space to make a pitch to Paul Millsap, should he be interested.
The Atlanta Hawks
should not be forgotten when it comes to Millsap’s free agency decision. Although he will have a choice, no one has ruled them out with resigning Paul. As for the man himself, he hasn’t let shy of his intentions to stick with the Hawks.
“I think that everybody knows where my heart is and where I want to be. “
Resigning Paul would be a great move for the Hawks, holding on to what isn’t a terrible program as of now. A consistent franchise in the playoffs, no one doubts the potential of this franchise. In addition, holding on to Millsap will help them in their efforts to sign additional talent to Atlanta.
Averaging 18 points and 7.7 rebounds a game, Paul Millsap would be a great addition to any team. Expect more than one team to pursue Atlanta’s star should he choose to enter free agency.
All stats and information provided by ESPN and NBA.com. Featured image provided by Full Court Press Radio.