Paul Millsap says his heart is in Atlanta, wants to stay with Hawks
Did anyone expect Paul Millsap to say anything else? I don’t doubt that he means it.
Over the weekend, trade rumors surfaced that the Hawks were starting to listen to trade offers for All-Stars Paul Millsap and Kyle Korver, plus Thabo Sefolosha. The rumor goes that the Hawks were burned by Al Horford leaving for nothing last summer, and they don’t want to be similarly burned by their current stars. There is logic there — if you believe Millsap is going to leave. Millsap is too smart to commit to anything right now, but he said exactly what was expected — he doesn’t want to go anywhere.
Millsap on trade talk: "Everybody knows where my heart is and where I want to be."— Chris Vivlamore (@CVivlamoreAJC) January 3, 2017
Me: And that's here?
Millsap: "That would be here, yes."
Of course, it’s going to come down to money. Millsap will be a 10-year NBA veteran demanding a max contract next summer (likely starting at $36 million a season). The concern isn’t is he worth it right now — he’s a certain max player, a guy who can score around the basket, knock down threes, and is a smart defender — but what about the end of the contract? Millsap will be 32 when he signs that deal, do the Hawks want to lock him in for four or five years at the max?
That’s just one of the questions the Hawks as an organization needs to answer. Another is: How badly do we want to make the playoffs this season? Because if they move Millsap, they will be trading their best player and not getting equal value back (at least in the short term). They will miss the postseason.
Atlanta should see what the market is for these players — which is why they are listening now. But moving Millsap is another thing entirely. Not sure the Hawks are there yet, or that they will ever get there.