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Offers won’t stop rolling in for Millsap simply because Atlanta is publicly rebuffing overtures. That’s a power play—just another way the Hawks are telling interested teams, “Hey! Up the ante!”
Some suitor is going to push the envelope on a previous or new package. The prospect of giving Millsap max or near-max money in free agency will still factor in, but buyers get more desperate around the deadline.
Three courtiers to watch: the Denver Nuggets, Portland Trail Blazers and Toronto Raptors.
Millsap, at 31, isn’t on the Nuggets’ timeline, but they’re interested anyway, per Wojnarowski and Shams Charania. They have logjams at basically every position and need to consolidate talent into a legit star. Denver should get Atlanta’s attention by pairing any one of its many prospects not named Nikola Jokic with a Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari or Kenneth Faried.
According to Basketball Insiders’ Steve Kyler, the Blazers were also “sniffing around” the Millsap front—which is no surprise. They need defensive versatility from a player who, like Millsap, doesn’t always have the ball in his hands on offense. Dangling some combination of Al-Farouq Aminu, Meyers Leonard, Maurice Harkless and Allen Crabbe, plus Cleveland’s 2017 first-rounder, could get the Hawks’ ear.
Not only were the Raptors among the latest list of Millsap enthusiasts, per Wojnarowski, but Brian Windhorst revealed on a recent episode of ESPN’s TrueHoop podcast that they had a deal in place to acquire the combo forward over the summer.
General manager Masai Ujiri won’t give up as much in a midseason package. And the idea of paying an over-30 Kyle Lowry and Millsap a combined $70 million annually after this year won’t sit well. But with the Golden State Warriors and Cavaliers running rampant, the Raptors’ window to contend is now.
Millsap helps them make the most of it—provided he doesn’t cost more than Terrence Ross, a pick and filler.