Let's assume two things right off the bat -- there will be a 2020-21 NBA season, and the Warriors will use the taxpayer mid-level exception (estimated around $6 million) in free agency.
Now that we have that out of the way, we can ask the question: Is Denver Nuggets forward Paul Millsap a realistic option with that MLE spot?
The 35-year-old forward is about to finish the three-year, $90 million contract he signed in 2017. He surely can secure a bigger payday, right?
If we were living in normal times, the answer resoundingly would be, "Absolutely." But COVID-19 has changed the world as we know it, and there's a chance the financial consequences of the pandemic significantly impact Millsap's earning potential.
It's also possible the Warriors either are not interested in signing the four-time All-Star no matter what, or they simply will prioritize another position. But for the sake of this exercise, let's make a third assumption -- Millsap signs with Golden State this October.
Wow, would that be a win for the Dubs.
Millsap -- who is averaging 12.0 points and 5.9 rebounds over 24.4 minutes per game this season -- would provide incredible flexibility in the frontcourt, and give Kerr a plethora of lineup options.
The No. 47 overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft is shooting a career-best 44 percent from 3-point territory this season, and a career-high 83.3 percent from the free-throw line.
He still is a very good defender, although Eric Paschall might disagree:
I can watch clips of Eric Paschall dunking off two feet all day long. It’s just silly pic.twitter.com/oN7AWbB1qa— Drew Shiller (@DrewShiller) March 4, 2020
Hey speaking of the No. 41 overall pick in the 2019 draft -- you might be of the mindset that the Warriors don't need Millsap because they already have Paschall (and Draymond Green for that matter). But don't forget that the 2017 Defensive Player of the Year might end up logging more minutes at center, which opens up plenty of opportunity at power forward.
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Besides, Paschall could slide over to small forward at times (although he definitely prefers playing the "four"). Additionally, Golden State can carve out more minutes for the Villanova product by pacing Millsap, who almost assuredly would come off the bench.
Yours truly is a big believer in Paschall. Does adding Millsap most likely impact his role next season? Yes. But Paschall still should be an important contributor on a nightly basis. He's certainly capable, although nothing will be handed to him.
"Most players really see a huge jump early in their careers once they've kind of settled in and have a solid year under their belt. I'm looking for a big leap forward for some of our younger players to the point where they can get into our rotation," Kerr said in early June. "Who that is, that's up to them.
"They have to earn that next year in camp and exhibition season. But that's what we're really looking for."
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Lastly, Steph Curry needs somebody to hit the links with:
Paul Millsap loves golf. Yeah, he will fit in perfectly with Steph and the Warriors ... https://t.co/dM5b6Eayt0 pic.twitter.com/JaNUeaX8vX— Drew Shiller (@DrewShiller) July 23, 2020
The following is an excerpt from a January article at BlackEnterprise.com:
Millsap will also launch a golf academy under the umbrella of CORE4, a prep academy school and state-of-the-art basketball training facility that he co-founded with his three brothers in Atlanta.
“Golf is definitely a sport that is on the rise and I want to be part of adding diversity to that sport,” Millsap told BE. “A lot of people of color don’t know too much about it or are scared to get involved with it.”
If this whole Millsap-Warriors thing actually comes to fruition, he and Steph will have plenty of time to get to know each other on the fairways and greens around the Bay Area.