After yesterday’s Dwight Howard trade, it is rebuilding time for Atlanta. New general manager Travis Schlenk has made it known that he is seeking flexibility going forward, and re-signing Millsap would be the opposite of such.
With Kent Bazemore and Miles Plumlee on the books with inflated contracts, the Hawks have little flexibility as it currently stands. However, the Hawks do save some money this season by getting rid of Howard, and will receive eight figures of salary cap relief the following two seasons when Marco Bellinelli’s deal expires.
The Hawks could go in two directions here. They could try to trade Plumlee and Bellinelli in separate deals, as their cap figure is not as large. This would allow them to spend money on a free agent who could help the team. However, it could be hard to find a taker for Plumlee.
A more realistic scenario could be allowing Bazemore and Plumlee to remain on the books to get the Hawks to the salary floor, and allow the team to focus on developing young players such as Dennis Schroder, Tim Hardaway Jr., and Taurean Prince. The Hawks will almost certainly be a lottery team. This would allow the Hawks to spend the next few seasons building the team through the draft, similar to the construction of the team Travis Schlenk came from, the Golden State Warriors.
In this case, it would be in the Hawks’ best interest to try to get some type of assets back for Millsap. The only way they could do so at this point is by pulling off a sign-and-trade for Millsap. Atlanta resurrected Millsap’s career, so between that relationship and the opportunity for him to get that fifth year elsewhere, he could be on board for such a deal with the understanding that the Hawks need to go younger. More importantly, the Hawks can add assets if they take on salary from teams who want to add Millsap.
Sign and trades have become a rarity in the NBA, but a few teams have offered the Hawks feelers, so it looks encouraging. Brian Windhorst has reported that the Nuggets, Kings, and Suns have interest, all teams with assets that would be attractive to the Hawks.
So without further ado, here are some sign and trade possibilities for the Hawks:
Hawks trade Paul Millsap to the Utah Jazz for Derrick Favors and OKC’s 2018 1st round pick
Utah gets their guy back. Quin Snyder was on the coaching staff in Atlanta during Millsap’s time with the team. He will most definitely fit what they do there and could cement them as an even scarier defensive force. Favors may not have lived up to his status of a third overall pick, but the Georgia Tech alum has been solid for the Jazz during his time there. This would be better than getting nothing for Millsap, as he is set to make a hair under $12 million this season. As far as Utah goes, they ensure they get Millsap back long-term and clear space to add him. He provides fresher legs for a team that is likely to undergo a rebuild. The Hawks add another mediocre first round pick, but get a Favors rental. If he fits what Coach Bud is doing in Atlanta, they will have his Bird Rights going forward.
Hawks trade Paul Millsap to the Denver Nuggets for Kenneth Faried, Jameer Nelson, Wilson Chandler and Malik Beasley
The Nuggets were reportedly willing to give up two firsts and Kenneth Faried for a Paul Millsap rental last season, which makes little sense when considering how young their team is. Regardless, it is clear they really want Millsap. If they plan on making a huge jump in the West, they need to pair talent with Nikola Jokic. If they do a sign-and-trade with Atlanta, they could get rid of contracts to try to add Millsap and another gamechanger. The Hawks should definitely try to pry at least a first rounder to take on these deals, but worst case scenario they take on Malik Beasley, who is still very young and was a first round pick last season. If the Hawks pull this off, they could likely find new homes for Faried and Chandler individually and pick up some more assets.
Hawks trade Paul Millsap to the Pheonix Suns for Tyson Chandler and Tyler Ulis
So now with Dwight Howard gone from Atlanta – keep your eye on Tyson Chandler if the Suns do anything for Paul Milsap with the Hawks.
— John Gambadoro (@Gambo987) June 21, 2017
If the Hawks pull off a deal with Phoenix, they will undoubtedly have to take Tyson Chandler’s contract. Chandler’s contract is bad enough to the point where the Hawks should be able to get young assets back as well. There are reports that the Suns are trying to make a move for Deandre Jordan. While this makes little sense given the team’s youth, perhaps the Suns are trying to press the fast forward button on their rebuild. Ulis is a great young talent, and they already have Eric Bledsoe. They also have their eye on Lonzo Ball. The Hawks also may look to just get picks here, but they are likely too valuable.
Hawks trade Paul Millsap to the Houston Rockets for Ryan Anderson and Sam Dekker
The Rockets may be hesitant to give up future picks. After all, the Lakers have theirs for this season. However, they will likely do whatever it takes to get Millsap, a guy they are reportedly making a push for this offseason. In exchange, the Hawks could take on Ryan Anderson’s deal. He would fit in the system offensively and the team could still add assets due to his contract. Clint Capela is a bit much to ask for in a package, but Sam Dekker or a future first rounder could make the deal happen.
Hawks trade Paul Millsap to the Kings for Garrett Temple, Aaron Afflalo, and Skal Labissierre
The Kings will likely be hesitant to give up their picks given the current state of the team. But parting with Skal would not be a bad move to add Millsap to the mix. Skal was a top recruit coming out of high school. He disappointed at Kentucky, but looked great as a rookie, and is still so young. The Hawks have expressed interest in drafting a young big man, and Skal fits the bill.